Swimming is a fantastic form of exercise for those who love the water, but public pools can easily become overcrowded - and there's nothing worse than hitting a fellow swimmer over the head during a length of front-crawl. Fortunately, pool renting is the latest trend for keen swimmers looking for a little extra privacy during their swim session.
This innovative pool idea is pretty self-explanatory, but there are several different ways to do it. Apps such as Swimply allow hosts to rent out their pool by the hour, allowing people in the local area to book an available slot for their desired time. Others, such as Ploot, use only a website. Both of them also advertise available tennis courts to rent, too. Their business model works by taking a small percentage from both the host and the renter when they make a payment.
Whether it's to exercise alone in your own company or to chill with friends by the poolside on a summer's day, pool rentals make swimming more accessible for everyone. Certain groups who find public swimming pool too busy or overwhelming also find pool renting more suitable for their needs, such as baby swimming groups, those who are body conscious, or those in need of assisted support.
Renting your pool can also help cover the cost of its upkeep. Brooke White, founder of pool rental site My Pool Swim, says this is likely to be an important factor for lots of pool owners. 'We initially rented our pool to help cover the running costs,' he explains. 'This is likely to be an overriding consideration for all pool owners this year, with many public and leisure center pools closing.'
How to make your pool rental ready
While there are lots of benefits to be gained from renting your pool, there are a few things you ought to know before becoming a host. Follow these four quick tips to get your pool rental ready and before you know it, you'll be the hottest swimming spot of the town.
1. Consider what facilities you have to offer
Before you consider renting out your pool, think about what facilities you have, and which of those you're willing to share. Do you have a large outdoor pool with private access and a pool house, or is your pool much small and indoor only, and only accessible through your own home?
These are all important points to consider before you open your doors to swimmers. Brook of My Pool Swim has been renting out his self-built pool in Hampshire, England for the past 25 years. After years in the business, he has some important insights to share.
'A variety of factors come into play when considering renting out a pool: who to rent to, when to open, what changing facilities are available, the size of group you can accommodate, the kinds of groups you can accommodate (such as swim schools), the size and depth of the pool, access, and so on.'
You might have a pool with special features - maybe it's a heated above-ground pool, or perhaps you have a wave machine perfect for water therapy exercise. Make sure you consider these before renting out your pool, and tailor your advertising as necessary. Don't forget opening hours too - these should reasonably fit around your own schedule.
2. Research insurance
Pool parties aren't on everyone's radar, but insurance will ensure your property is kept safe from any unruly and irresponsible guests. On the other hand, you'll also need to have liability insurance to cover your guests safety in cases of personal injury.
Don't rely on your regular home insurance as it's unlikely to cover such scenarios. Some hosting sites might offer insurance advice for you. For example, Swimply have paired up with the Evanston Insurance Company to provide their own Swimply Protection Guarantee to provide liability insurance for hosts.
'We always advise our clients to check with their homeowner's or renter's insurance policy company,' explains Ross Novotny, co-founder of pool rental company Now Pools based in Phoenix AZ, whose on-demand service delivers an above ground pool to your backyard. In most cases, his clients are covered to rent a pool, but he still urges them to check beforehand.
Insurance laws will differ depending on regulations in your area, so much sure you're renting in line with the law. 'You should also bear in mind any local planning considerations, neighbors, parking, and pool rules to ensure your pool is safe to rent,' explains Brook.
3. Make sure your pool is clean and presentable
This should be a given, but once you've decided on how and when to rent your pool you'll need to give it a deep clean. It's a good idea to shock your pool before opening it up to the public, and you might want to make your pool's filtration cycle more regular to avoid contamination. If you don't know how to clean a pool, hire a professional pool cleaner.
'When it comes to any pool, frequent, minimal service is key,' says Ross. 'Rather than trying to make the pool perfect once every two weeks, doing a little bit of cleaning each time you are in the pool is a good way to keep it swimmable all summer.' He also recommends using a pool robot vacuum like this one from Amazon, between professional services to get the debris that isn't filtered. 'Many pool robot vacuums are also able to scrub the walls of your pool to keep any unwanted algae from building up,' he says.
Presentation matters, too. Although you don't need to have the fanciest pool landscape ideas to make your pool appealing, be sure to clean tiles or scrub your decking so that your poolside looks as a good as new. Pool lighting might be needed if you're planning to rent out your pool after dark. You might want to consider some sun loungers, games or floats for outside pools too - just make sure there are safety precautions and specific rules in place.
'You'll need to spare a thought for finer details on chemicals, upkeep and maintenance,' says Brook. A cleaning schedule will have to be put in place and it might be worth employing a professional cleaner, especially if your own schedule is typically busy.
4. Explore ways to host and advertise
Once you've decided on all the important matters above, you can begin to look into your marketing strategy. A hosting platform such as Swimply makes this really easy, and they even offer advice on how to take some good marketing shots of your pool too. It's worth looking into any hyperlocal websites where you could also advertise, or even setting up your own website.
Then the fun part begins - you can start to welcome pool lovers into your own private oasis. Make sure to set reasonable boundaries with your guests, but make the most of the experience - it's sure to be a rewarding one.
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Lilith Hudson is the News Editor at Livingetc, and an expert at decoding trends and reporting on them as they happen. Writing news, features, and explainers for our digital platform, she's the go-to person for all the latest micro-trends, interior hacks, and color inspiration you need in your home. Lilith discovered a love for lifestyle journalism during her BA in English and Philosophy at the University of Nottingham where she spent more time writing for her student magazine than she did studying. After graduating, she decided to take things a step further and now holds an MA in Magazine Journalism from City, University of London, with previous experience at the Saturday Times Magazine, Evening Standard, DJ Mag, and The Simple Things Magazine. At weekends you'll find her renovating a tiny one-up, one-down annex next to her Dad's holiday cottage in the Derbyshire dales where she applies all the latest design ideas she's picked up through the week.
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