Why go to a public swimming pool when you can rent someone’s backyard pool by the hour?
Whether they’re motivated by a fear of contracting COVID-19 or they simply want to have a more intimate party than a public pool would allow, people have swarmed to Swimply, an app that lets them rent a host’s backyard swimming pool by the hour.
Swimply provides liability insurance for up to $1 million and $10,000 property damage insurance, however, Rob Golfi, owner and team leader of RE/MAX Escarpment’s Golfi Team, says that might not be enough.
“A regular insurance company wouldn’t insure for liability if they ever found out,” he said. “Even with Swimply’s insurance, you are still putting yourself at an enormous risk. You will need to update your homeowner’s insurance policy because in the case of a lawsuit, a lawyer will go after any name attached to the property”.
However, Sonny Mayugba, VP of growth at Swimply, doesn’t buy that argument.
“You could say the same thing for things like airlines, taxi cabs and hotels,” Mayugba told CREW. “You’re talking about citizens meeting in a space where there’s little personal responsibility and some house responsibility. It’s always good to take precautions and make sure you’ve got safety nets. We discovered our guests like to go have an experience just like they would in a hotel and then leave after having a really good time, but that’s not enough for us. We take every precaution to ensure safety.”
Asked how many homeowners have had to use the liability and property damage insurance provided to them by Swimply, Mayugba said, “It’s rare to non-existent. We’re the largest private swimming platform in the world, and beyond that we’re providing A-rated insurance on our experiences, which is something nobody else does. At the end of the day, like the other examples I gave, people use this service to have a good time and then respectfully take off.”
The fact that Swimply, which technically launched in 2018 but was fully operational a year later, has grown as quickly as it has could be indicative that its formula does in fact work—it’s hard to imagine Swimply would still be around if homeowners were frequently getting sued by guests. In any case, a few simple steps go a long way towards avoiding major problems, say Mayugba.
“To me, it’s about the fundamentals: It’s your pool and your rules, so make sure your Swimply profile is complete and accurate—the title of your pool, your photo, your amenities, and chat with the guests on our chat feature to compare everything you have with their expectations,” he said. “Make sure access to the pool is clear and that your pool is clean, make your backyard is clean and that there are a lot of photos, and you can even have the pool safety certified—you can get a safety certification check from any pool check service.”
The company had a coming-out party in 2020 during, or because of, the pandemic, added Mayugba.
“2020 wasn’t a rough year for us with COVID, it was actually a breakout year. 2019 saw little growth but 2020, with the advent of the stay-at-home order mixed with the CDC saying backyard swimming pools were safe, saw Swimply explode. Revenue grew 4000% in 2020 over 2019.”
The California-based company is operational in all 50 U.S. states, Australia and Canada, which has one of the company’s top-10 markets.
“Toronto is interesting because we had a small flywheel spinning there, and this year CTV did a story on Swimply and ever since then, Toronto has become a real hotbed,” said Mayugba. “It used to be ranked in our top-50 markets and now it’s in our top-10.”