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Private pool rental industry growing in West Michigan

There's a handful of people in the Grand Rapids area renting out their backyard pools on Swimply, an online platform for private pool reservations.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — West Michigan homeowners have a new opportunity to make money right from their own backyard. There's a handful of people in the Grand Rapids area renting out their private pools on Swimply, an online platform for private pool reservations.

The Isenhoff family is one of the local hosts on the site. Sue Isenhoff says she first heard about the idea on NBC's Shark Tank, and she started renting out their pool this summer. They've had four reservations so far.

"It's been real fun," she says. "We've had families with kids and a group of adults come and relax. It's been fun seeing people have fun and enjoy the water."

Her husband Brian believes the privacy of a backyard pool will draw more attention once more people hear about it. 

"We have had comments from kids saying, 'This is the best thing I've done this summer,'" he says. "That is just pretty neat to see."

Swimply started in 2018, and Vice President of Growth Sonny Mayugba says the platform took off last year during the COVID-19 pandemic. He says hosts are connecting with the community through these reservations.

"Guests and hosts are becoming friends, and I'll say frequent customers," he says. 

Swimply can be found in all 50 U.S. states, as well as in Canada and Australia. Mayugba says there's some hosts making $50,000 to $100,000 per season while renting their private pools, turning a profit while paying for the expensive upkeep of the pool.

"They're turning out what is a cost center, maintaining a pool, and turning it into a revenue center," he says. 

In Comstock Park, Melissa Bockheim just put up her pool for rent after she and her husband fixed it all up. 

"We want to share this with as many people as possible," she says. "Especially when you put so much work into it, it really makes it worth it for other people to enjoy it."

It's not all about the money though. She wants people to enjoy the pool as much as she does, and she looks forward to her first guests. 

"We really want people to have a good time," she says.

Sue and Brian hope to see more guests this season enjoy their pool. 

"Don't be afraid to try something new and get out and enjoy the summer," Brian says. 

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