San Diego

San Diego Residents Rent Out Backyard Pools to Strangers as Side Hustle

San Diegans are taking advantage of a pool-sharing platform called Swimply. There are 125 hosts in the county, and some are making more than $3,000 from rentals each month.

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Remember when it was unheard of to get in a stranger’s for a ride? Or have someone else to do your grocery shopping for you? How about bring you full meals from local restaurants?

Apps like Uber, Instacart and DoorDash paved the way for unique ways for people to make an income, including by renting their backyard pools through a platform called Swimply.

According to an FAQ page sent to NBC 7 from a Swimply spokesperson, the company started in 2019 as a way for both pool owners to profit off of their sometimes-unused spaces, and for neighbors to frolic in the water for a few hours.

San Diegans are taking advantage of the platform. Swimply says there are 125 hosts in San Diego County. One of those hosts is Becca Torres and her husband, Joe. They live in Point Loma and have a spacious backyard that includes, you guessed it, a swimming pool.

For them, they started researching Swimply out of curiosity, and didn’t quite buy into it at first.

“We’re like nobody’s paying to hang out in our yard, that’s weird,” Becca let out with a laugh, as Joe nodded in agreement.

One of the main questions for people who are hearing about backyard pool rentals for the first time is about privacy. There are no requirements for hosts to leave their homes during the rental, which can take some getting used to.

Floats are seen in a backyard pool for rent in the Point Loma neighborhood of San Diego, July 28, 2022.
Dana Williams
Floats are seen in a backyard pool for rent in the Point Loma neighborhood of San Diego, July 28, 2022.

“The first couple that came over, it was a small group and you could tell it was like weird for them, and weird for us,” laughed Becca. “We were like, ‘don’t worry, this is just as awkward for us as this is for you.”

The Torres’ backyard has a pool, waterfall, grotto, waterslide, lounge chairs, a hot tub, a TV, speakers, underwater light features, a shower, barbecue and… the list goes on. Most of those items have been added to their yard over the years, simply because they enjoy using it. However, on the days they aren’t jumping in, they love the thought that someone else gets to.

That’s where renters like the Forbes family come in. They have a young daughter and prefer the safety and seclusion of having a pool to themselves for a few hours, rather than going to the ocean or a community pool.

“The waves are a little bit much for Bodie,” said Jeff Forbes, a repeat swimmer at the Torres’.

For renters, according to Swimply, the average cost to rent a pool in San Diego County is $55. The median price is a little lower, at $50 per hour. The pool that Becca and John rent out, is more expensive at $105 per hour.

For hosts, according to Swimply, the average monthly income in San Diego County this year is about $2,000. There are 25 out of 125 total hosts currently making that or more. As for the top dog, the highest earner in the county has made roughly $23,000 this year.

“We googled, ‘do people rent people’s pools?,” admitted Becca, when she reflected on how they got started on Swimply last summer. “We didn’t know what kind of income it would be, so we were like, ‘let’s try it!”

As far as what the Torres’ are earning through Swimply, they shared that the summer is definitely more popular for renters. They were able to make around $3,000 in one month, which is their most profitable month to date. Joe also does all of the pool maintenance, which they feel cuts down on potential costs.

When it comes to insurance, hosts are provided a $1,000,000 host liability insurance policy and are eligible for up to $10,000 in property damage protection, according to Swimply.

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