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Private Pool Rentals: Hosts Turn Splash into Cash As Swimply App Expands To Sacramento

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) – You've heard of vacation rentals but what about paying to take a dip in a stranger's pool? An app that was started two years ago is expanding into the Sacramento area giving you a chance to use someone else's pool – as if it was your own.

In each home Jennifer Huie has bought, there is always one thing on her list.

"The criteria was to have a pool," she said.

Now, Huie is turning her cool backyard pool splash into cold hard cash.

"I don't need to use the pool 24 hours a day," she said. "It's extra money. A couple of days after they book it, I get a direct deposit. I don't even have to be here."

It's called Swimply, and it's similar to a vacation rental. Instead of renting your house, customers pay to use your private pool.

They book through an app of certified pools, pay and get a code to access the property. Swimmers at Huie's travel from as far as San Francisco to take a dip.

"I especially cater to people who have dogs, because I'm a dog person," Huie said "I wanted a safe place for dogs to be able to play. It's fenced, you don't have to worry about E. coli like in the rivers."

Around 100 hosts are located throughout the Sacramento region. Rates range anywhere from around $15 to more than $100 per hour depending on the amenities.

Sacramento resident and Swimply's Vice President Sonny Mayugba saw a huge boost in bookings in 2020 due to coronavirus shutdowns and said the app is only growing, more than tripling reservations this year.

"Our slogan is 'Escape locally,' and that turned out to be pretty spot-on for this year because business travel was canceled, vacation travel was canceled," he said. "What happened was a lot of people were looking for fun things to do in their neighborhoods."

Last year, Swimlpy saw a 4,000% growth with hosts across the United States, Canada and Australia using the app.

"I don't think this is just a COVID phenomenon," Mayugba said. "I think there just hasn't been this idea where you can access these spaces in this manner."

Top hosts make enough to pay off their pools at more than $40,000.

"Extra cash helps to be able to pay the bills," Huie said.

Swimply plans to expand its platform by the end of the year to include other activities like basketball and tennis court rentals.

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