The Middle Gap

These are the people we have to hate

There are professions people have a vicious aversion to. We respect them, sorta, but we mostly hate them. I know hate is a strong word, but hear me out. These are people like doctors, lawyers, and politicians. Most of us have a weird love/hate relationship to these people. We all know we need doctors and we respect them and their efforts, but we can’t stand going to them. Lawyers are much the same way.

Politicians are in a bit of a different spot because we don’t really have to interact with them much, but they’re always in our face.

There are plenty of other professions we try to stay away from: plumbers, electricians, and mechanics to name a few more. These are all the people we have to hate.

I’m terrified that web designers, advertisers, marketers, and web developers are falling into that same category. We probably already have. Some developers, like iOS App Developers, are doing okay in the public’s eye because they’re selling products for prices people can get behind. This is a first for the industry. For years people have lamented $200 copies of Office and $300 copies of Windows and now that market is stabilizing.

But no one calls a doctor until they’re so sick a trip to Walgreens doesn’t work anymore. No one calls a mechanic until their car doesn’t start or has some other severe issue. Even routine maintenance results in a, “Oh no, how much is this going to cost?”

No one calls a plumber until they’ve tried everything themselves and gleaned all they can from YouTube tutorials, Google searches, and advice from their neighbor.

And just finding any of these service professionals is a real chore. How do I know who’s the best? How do I know if I’m getting a fair price? How do I even find out the price? What happens if they’re giving me bad advice? Do I know anyone who can recommend someone?

No one calls a web designer until they hear complaints from customers or their level of frustration with their current process makes them want to scream. By the time people call us, they’re often starting out with a bad taste in their mouth.

Compared with other service professions like, say, a hairstylist or baker, giving a service in exchange for money is incredibly opaque. A baker at least gives you a tangible product you can judge against others in a variety of ways. A hairstylist gives you something you can see, feel, engage with, and it can grow back. It’s also not a painful amount of money. Hence why app developers are getting back on the right side of the gap.

With a plumber or a doctor or a mechanic, you might get a new part or a medicine, but it doesn’t mean much to you because you still don’t know much about it. You probably don’t care to learn, either.

WTF happened to all the people in the middle?

Somewhere along the way, service providers left a big wide-open gap of people to be assisted by virtually no one.

If you need a doctor in America your choices are:

  • Doing without
  • Getting advice from murky places like the Internet or from a pharmacist
  • Going to a doctor and hoping it all works out okay

This is terrible and it’s exactly how most other services work. Lawyers are another terrible thing to need. If you need an attorney your choices are:

  • Self representation (called “Pro Se”)
  • Attorneys working pro bono (if you meet income qualifications)
  • Paying out the nose and hoping it works out okay.

With web designers the process looks like this:

  • Getting a kid to do it, because supposedly kids grew up with the Internet and we know everything about it
  • Using a cookie-cutter, limited, and cheap site builder, like GoDaddy’s or Wix.
  • Paying someone on Craigslist a couple hundred bucks to design a site using FrontPage or whatever else they pirated
  • Paying an agency $10,000 or more to do it

Again, this is terrible. It’s made us ask, “What happened to the middle?”

There’s no reason why service providers should be treated like a commodity. There’s no reason why service providers should charge so much profit, either.

A different path to better service

Personally, I’ve hired a great many service professionals over the years. Everything from carpet installers to movers to writers to plumbers and mechanics. It’s never a good process.

I once tried getting a fence installed that started at a quote of $3,500 and I eventually got it down to $2,000 by getting competing quotes from elsewhere. It was a time consuming process that left me feeling as though I was getting ripped off.

That’s why we’ve set a clear mission for SuperPixel — fair and low prices for all our services all the time, satisfaction guaranteed, and if by some long shot chance you do find a place that’ll do something for less, we’ll beat the price.

Marketing and web design services can be affordable. We want to make sure that people have a choice between their neighbor’s 10 year old nephew and the $10,000+ agency across town and the gap is closing.

Now if only doctors and attorneys could work the same way.

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