Business services are industry sectors that provide non-financial support to businesses and organizations. These companies are often necessary for a business to operate, and they often have expertise or equipment that can be used to help the company achieve its goals. Business services industries include companies like animal control, maintenance, shipping and waste management. In some countries, the business services sector contributes more than 50% of their country’s GDP.
These companies provide many different types of support to businesses, and they offer the ability for a company to outsource work that falls outside their expertise. Companies can use these industry services to reduce costs, improve productivity and focus on the strategic parts of their company.
The industry consists of sectors such as IT, financial services, procurement, shipping and marketing, and they offer job opportunities in areas like human resources, accounting, management and consulting. The qualifications for a career in business services vary by industry, with some positions requiring only a high school diploma or GED certificate and others demanding a bachelor’s degree or higher. Some positions require travel or remote work, while others may require a specific skill set such as customer service or IT support.
Business-to-business (B2B) accounting is one of the most common business services. This is when an accounting firm provides bookkeeping, tax preparation and other financial services to businesses. Businesses often outsource these duties because they can be expensive and time-consuming to do in-house.
Other examples of business services are cleaning, animal control, maintenance and technology support. A cleaning company can save a business money by providing regular janitorial services that keep the offices and production facilities clean and organized. Animal control companies can help prevent health and safety violations by keeping rodents and other pests away from the property, and maintenance professionals can repair problems quickly to keep employees working efficiently. Technology support professionals can troubleshoot any issues that occur with computers, networks or other technology in the workplace.
While some of these industries might sell products, they are considered business services because they are in the business of offering their skills and knowledge to other businesses. This contrasts with product-based industries, which are in the business of selling tangible goods to end customers.
In addition to supporting a company’s infrastructure and productivity, business services also increase the overall profitability of a company. Companies can leverage their business services providers for help with marketing, sales, IT support and more. This frees up internal personnel to concentrate on more strategic efforts.
In the United States, there are nearly 420,000 companies in the business services sector that employ more than 3 million people. The industries that make up this sector provide important functions for a company and the economy as a whole, including legal, transportation, advertising, marketing and staffing services. This section of the Economy at a Glance table presents data about employment, wages and salaries, productivity and hourly earnings for jobs in professional and business services.