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Industry Discussion

What are Services?

A service is an "intangible" item which results in an economic good, or increase in value, or other benefit, for a person or a business that requires that benefit. Services are "activities" provided to a customer / buyer by a person or business that usually has specialist skills or equipment / facilities to cater for that particular need.

For the services provider, there is a need to invest time, effort and money, to gain the necessary skills or equipment / facilities to be able to market and deliver the services so that there is a benefit to both the providing and the receiving parties.

How Big is the Marketplace?

In Australia, millions of people and thousands of industries are either consumers or providers of services on a daily basis, with multiple billions of dollars exchanged on an annual basis. If you consider that there is usually a relatively small margin between the income and outgoings of a services business, it stands to reason that (relatively speaking) almost every services business is responsible for generating as much value for its providers as it itself generates as income.

The services industry is difficult to define, only because it is almost limitless in its capacity, but can include the wholesale trade, retail trade, accommodation and food services, information media and telecommunications, financial and insurance services, rental, hiring and real estate services, professional, scientific and technical services, administrative and support services, public administration and safety, education and training, health care and social assistance, arts and recreation services, and a variety of other services.

The following table is an ABS extract relating to the June 2009 financial year, providing a window into just a few sectors of the services industry, which clearly illustrates the opportunities for freelancers, consultants, contractors and micro business/ small business owners.

ServicesBusinessesEmployedGenerated IncomeExpensesIndustry Value
Aged Care1,501187,932$11.5b$11.3b$7.1b
Social Assistance3,287121,774$7.0b$6.6b$4.0b
Residential Care74631,548$1.8b$1.7b$1.0b
Child Care4,33086,897$4.1b$4.1b$2.8b

Up-Skilling Your Services

In the white collar professional arena, a tertiary education is highly beneficial and sometimes mandatory to provide some of the more specialised services as a consultant or contractor.

However, there are many freelancers, and owners of micro and small businesses, servicing customers in (for example – to pick just a few) beauty, community pharmacy, floristry, funeral services, hairdressing, holiday parks and resorts, hospitality, retail, sport, fitness and recreation, tourism, etc. where industry specific theoretical and hands-on training are essential, including the need to keep those skills up to date with current practices.

There are many skills training organisations servicing various industry groups that can assist with ongoing education, as well as providing either points of reference or the means whereby industry standards can be set and used for both qualification and business marketing purposes.

Additionally, there are independent statutory bodies that set strategic direction as well as provide support and guidelines for these training organisations and the various services industries. (for example, Skills Australia and Industry Skills Councils ).

Your Service as a Business

Don’t forget that in servicing your customers, ultimately you are running a business. Review other articles on the HirePulse Blog that discuss reasons for registering your services business in our online business directory for free, how to market to your target audience, setting your prices, and various other business tips.

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