Swimply Founder and CEO Bunim Laskin joins Yahoo Finance Live to discuss the growth of the app, which lets users rent out their pools.
RACHELLE AKUFFO: High temperatures are expected to last through the weekend. In many parts of the US, people will be looking for ways to stay cool. So why not rent a stranger's pool? Well, joining us now is Bunim Laskin, founder and CEO of Swimply, what's commonly known as the Airbnb of swimming pool rentals. So great to have you on the show. I'm a big fan. I've used the service. I use it for my daughter's birthday party last year when I was like, it's hot, a lot of the pools were closed due to COVID, what do I do? How did this idea really develop, and especially thrive, during the pandemic?
BUNIM LASKIN: Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for having me. So I thought of the idea in 2018 when our mom had her 12th child. So I was 21 at the time. Nine younger brothers and two younger sisters. And we never really had the means to travel or go to camp. And my mom just gave birth to my 12th sibling. And so our neighbor owned the pool. And like a lot of neighbors, she felt like if we use it once, we would live in her backyard. And she wasn't wrong. And so we offered to help her with her expenses. And before long, a lot of people in the community were doing the same until she was earning a profit.
I figured I can help bring the service to other people. I went on Google Earth, knocked on a bunch of doors, got people to be on my hotline, and people just started calling me. And eventually, it just scaled up to Swimply. And now, we help people all over the country just find amazing private pools to book by the hour. And we help owners earn an effortless income without thinking too much about it.
DAVE BRIGGS: And Bunim, I thought I'd be one of those owners. So I put an ad out there, got a couple of bites right away. And I apologize to you and your users because my wife said, not so fast. But here's why. She was concerned about liability. How does that work? If something happens in your pool, are you as an owner liable?
BUNIM LASKIN: Yeah, not a not common kind of conversation to have with the spouse about this. But we've been very proactive about it from day one. And we tried not to reinvent the wheel either. We offer insurance off the bat. So it's primary insurance. And so it goes to us. And we kind of take care of anything from an injury to them breaking a lounge chair.
And generally, and so we take care of everything, as well as we have users sign waivers before every booking, and when they create an account. So definitely taking every step there similar to similar sharing platforms have done before us. So following in the footsteps and taking every caution that we can.
JARED BLIKRE: And Bunim, I got to address the elephant in the room, which is little kids in the pool. They do things in there. What about cleanliness?
BUNIM LASKIN: Absolutely. So 85% of our listings offer restrooms in that sense. And what's really cool about these pools is unlike public pools, which are notoriously under taken care of and kind of neglected, these pools are the pools that the owners themselves feel very passionate about and are going to use later that day, if not earlier that morning.
And so they're pretty intensely maintained by the owners as well. And we do have a double sided review system that ensures that the pools are constantly being held to a top standard. And any pool that does get less than a star review is removed for around a month before they can get back on.
So we do have pretty strict standards in place to make sure that every experience is profoundly better than anything, any other aquatic experience that you can have.
RACHELLE AKUFFO: So for people who are thinking of doing this as a side hustle, I mean, how much money are we talking in terms of what people can make? And other special perks, or extra things, that some of these rentees are sort of throwing in to make it more attractive for people who want to rent their pools?
BUNIM LASKIN: Yeah, so I mean, it's been quite fascinating. Initially, the vision for this was to help owners pay for their pool. It could cost a lot of money. They barely use it. And so let me help them have it pay for itself and then give the community additional access to something they've only dreamt of. But now we have owners earning well over six figures. And it really comes down to how much work they're willing to do. And it's been quite amazing to see how much owners will do above and beyond to create that amazing experience.
And so we have owners that are very relaxed about it, barely have to even think about what they're doing. They just of accept bookings that they get requests for. And they're earning probably like $2,000 to $3,000 a month. But then we have owners that have make a full time job out of this, they decorate the pools, they upsell stuff like champagne, to towels, to barbecue access.
And just we have one owner that I booked in LA that offered a sunset experience where she put out a picnic for you. And she upsells these experiences. And those owners can earn well over six figures, which has been, I think the most fascinating thing to watch from our end.
DAVE BRIGGS: I will be playing this interview for my wife when this is over. Last question I'd be remiss if I didn't ask you. 160 million people this weekend, it'll feel like 100 plus degrees over the weekend. How is this heat wave driving demand on the business?
BUNIM LASKIN: So it's been hard to track because we were growing pretty aggressively before this, and for quite a while. And so we've seen some cities where the news broke out and it immediately raised our growth by 25% in those cities. And it's been kind of objectively the number that we've been seeing in tri-state area, in Nashville, in Austin, some of our bigger markets where we can really measure that. And so it's been kind of hard to decipher it amidst all the growth. But it's definitely-- we've definitely been able to notice it in a couple of markets where the news was launched that same day.
JARED BLIKRE: Bunim, I wish you the best luck. Bunim Laskin, thank you for coming by.