Picture this: you’ve just stepped off a steamy train onto a platform that’s even hotter than the carriage you’ve just spent 45 minutes sitting inside.
The walk home is even warmer. The sweat is real, and all that waits at home is a dingy fan and a cold shower.
You’re too far from the beach, and the local pool is swarming with screaming schoolkids.
Your neighbour has a lush pool, but you’re yet to receive an invite.
Well, from today, an invite is no longer needed because a new “pool sharing” app has launched Down Under.
Basically, Swimply, the first online marketplace for pool sharing, will allow residents in Melbourne, Brisbane and Sydney to book an hour or two at a pool near their home – a similar concept to Airbnb.
Like Airbnb, the Swimply app lets owners put their pools up for hire and gives those without the chance to go for a dip for an hourly fee.
“People invest a lot of money into a pool but tend to only use it a small percentage of the time,” 22-year-old founder Bunim Laskin told news.com.au.
“This sharing method essentially monopolises on the pool ownership experience.”
Mr Laskin, who first launched the app in the United States in 2017, said each pool would go through a thorough inspection to ensure the property was adhering to local health and safety standards before receiving the green light to be listed. The safety checks are in conjunction with pool and spa maintenance company Poolwerx.
New research by Roy Morgan shows nearly 2.7 million Australians these days live in a house with a swimming pool, equivalent to 13% of the Australian population and up from 12% the last time Roy Morgan looked at the prevalence of swimming pools around Australia in early 2015.
“Once the pool and the host is considered safe, they have full control over who can visit their property,” Mr Laskin explained.
“Hosts get to see the ages of who will be coming to their pool – is it a group of adults, how many will be under 12, is it just a couple? They are in full control and the guests are only limited to the pool area.”
The concept has been a major success in the US (Australia is Swimply’s first international market), with Mr Laskin saying some listings bring in thousands each month for pool owners. While there’s not a blanket cost per hour for each pool, Mr Laskin said the majority of rates fell between $20-$50 per hour.
“There always has to be one individual over 18 as part of the booking, and the guests are only limited to the pool area,” he explained.
“If a pool or a guest gets lower than four stars, they get removed, making this a trustworthy and safe platform for both parties.
“Currently, we have 100 cities in the US and in Toronto, with some of our hosts having earnt around $12k in seven weeks last summer.
“On average they are making 2-3k a month, while others simply take one or two reservations a week which lets the pool pay for itself.”
It is understood Mr Laskin’s business makes its money by absorbing 15 per cent of the commission paid to hosts and charging users a 10 per cent service fee.