AURORA, Colo. - Ned Gilardino is swimming in a new revenue stream after renting his pool and making thousands of dollars during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 59-year-old retired middle school teacher installed a large pool in 2013 at his home in Aurora, Colorado, and started renting it out in late summer 2019. Gilardino and his wife spent nearly $42,000 to install the pool and paid up to $500 per month in utility costs.
"Our hope was just to offset some of the costs of the pool, and it’s turned into a whole other revenue stream," he told FOX Television Stations Saturday. "Something far beyond what we ever expected or thought it was going to be."
Gilardino saw only one customer in 2019 after posting his pool on Swimply, an app where owners can rent out their pools.
"We got one person that came," he said.
However, when the COVID-19 pandemic started in March 2020 and stay-at-home orders went into effect, Gilardino saw a flood of interest. He said his pool provided a way for small private groups to stay safe and socially distant.
"Suddenly I was getting phone calls," he continued. "By the end of June , I was pretty much booked for the whole summer."
Gilardino said he took in nearly $50,000 last year from his pool rental.
Even as states ease their restrictions and more Americans get vaccinated, Gilardino said the phone calls haven’t stopped.
"We really thought that, you know, once the pandemic ends or begins to dwindle down so will our reservations," he said. "But it doesn’t seem like that so far this year."
Gilardino said current reservations already take up nearly half of the 2021 summer. He rents his pool at $45 per hour for up to five people, with an additional $5 for each extra person. On weekends, his rate is $60 per hour. His pool is open from mid-May to the end of September. He said it’s possible he may see nearly $75,000 in rental sales this year.
Aside from everyday strangers looking to take a dip, Gilardino said he has attracted a diverse portfolio of clients from photographers shooting underwater to a production company shooting a music video. Lifeguards have also trained at his pool.
"In the midst of the pandemic, we just met so many great people," he added.
Gilardino, who retired from teaching technology in 2012 after 21 years, said he doesn’t see the need to stop renting out his pool. He said he wants to use the money to take more vacations with his wife.
This story was reported from Los Angeles.