Business services are intangible activities that assist businesses but do not produce a physical product. These are not the same as consumer services which produce tangible goods, and include everything from a company’s utility service that provides electricity to its offices, to the advisory services of an investment bank regarding business financing or top level strategy, according to Forbes.

The industry is comprised of 420,000 single-location or multi-site companies that generate approximately $950 billion in annual revenue, according to Dun & Bradstreet First Research. Some of the largest business service companies are found in sectors such as information technology, engineering, architecture, law, advertising, marketing, staffing and consulting.

One of the biggest advantages of a career in business services is the variety of job opportunities available. Some positions may require nothing more than a high school diploma or GED certificate, while others are highly specialized and require a bachelor’s degree or graduate degree. In addition, many business service jobs can be conducted remotely from anywhere with an Internet connection, which is especially appealing to people who don’t want to commute or need a flexible schedule.

In some cases, business services are based on a model that combines the sale of a product or service with ongoing management and support. Examples of this are computing services that provide hardware and software on a recurring fee basis, or utilities such as power, water, gas and communications that are charged to business customers based on usage. These are referred to as “products as a service,” or PaaS.

Another common type of business service is consulting, whereby an organization or individual provides advice and/or labor for a fee. An architectural firm, for example, provides consulting services to its clients by delivering finished work or a detailed plan for how to proceed with projects, according to the Small Business Association. A consultant might provide an objective opinion on the profitability of a potential investment, or offer recommendations on how to streamline a business process.

It is also common for business services to be offered with additional functions, features or quality than those provided to consumers. For example, a cloud storage service that is primarily aimed at consumers might offer a business version with added data redundancy.

When pricing a business service, it’s important to take into account inherent costs such as materials and overhead as well as labor and management. It’s also important to consider competitors when determining a price.

It is important for a business to provide reliable, high-quality business services, because a good reputation can increase customer loyalty and sales, while a poor reputation can negatively impact customer relationships. Business services professionals can help businesses achieve their goals by providing efficient, effective and innovative solutions. They can help make a business run smoothly and effectively, which will ultimately lead to success and increased profits. A good reputation also helps to protect a business from competition and market changes. A positive reputation can even be used as a tool for creating new markets or enhancing current ones.