I need the correct English word for someone who provides a service.

The word "service provider" seems obvious but it is not correct. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, a service provider should be defined as an ISP. According to Wikipedia, a service provider is not a person but a company.

There should be a word for a person who provides a service (such as cleaning your house, fixing your car, teaching you a new language, taking care of your pets, etc.) which is the context where I need this word. A sample sentence:

If two persons (working for the same company) provide a service for me at home, then there are two ______.

  • Very similar, if not a duplicate: Word for one-person business
    – Andrew Leach
    May 16, 2015 at 15:07
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    Thank you but that is not what I mean. A person who provides a service can be part of a large company and not run a one-person business at all. I need a general term for someone who provides a service.
    – Daan
    May 16, 2015 at 15:19
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    Generally, you'd use a word specific to the service: masseuse, sculptor, coach, groundskeeper, etc. Otherwise, the generic term would be whatever business relationship you have: contractors, vendors, aides, etc.
    – choster
    May 19, 2015 at 23:27
  • Based on your criteria, about the only term that fits is "worker".
    – Hot Licks
    May 20, 2015 at 2:45
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    The fact that "Service Provider" has become shorthand for "Internet Service Provider" (ISP) in the internet context shouldn't take away from the general meaning of the words, despite what many (maybe most) of the internet-centric dictionaries say. If your audience can't determine from your own context that you are not describing something else, you need to provide better context, that's all. Mar 17, 2016 at 23:26

13 Answers 13


The correct word for someone who provides a service is servitor, although this is a bit archaic in usage and usually they would be referred to according to exactly what service they were providing.


It's still called a company, even if it's only one person.

If you want a more specific word, try "sole proprietorship".

  • If two persons (working for the same company) provide a service for me at home, then there are two ????? . I do not think two sole proprietorships, because there is no one man company involved.
    – Daan
    May 16, 2015 at 21:14

If you employ a person and pay them a regular wage or salary, they are an employee.

If you negotiate a contract with an individual to provide a service, with that person billing you for services rendered, that person is a contractor.

If you hire a company to provide you services, the people working for that company are employees (or sometimes contractors) of that company and contractors from your viewpoint.

The general term for any of the above is "worker".


In general, a person who provides a professional service is called a consultant.

  • Disagree with "in general". A consultant provides a very specific kind of professional service. If that service is house-cleaning, car maintenance or teaching, to use the OP's examples, they would not normally be described as a consultant.
    – calum_b
    May 16, 2015 at 16:48
  • I would not consider house-cleaning or car maintenance as professional services: Professional services are occupations in the tertiary sector of the economy requiring special training in the arts or sciences. Some professional services require holding professional licenses such as architects, auditors, engineers, doctors and lawyers.
    – DJ Far
    May 18, 2015 at 16:28
  • I think a lot of self-employed carpenters would take offense at being called "consultants".
    – Hot Licks
    May 20, 2015 at 2:42
  • I don't know why one would call a carpenter a consultant. Carpentry is not a professional service. It is in the field of construction. The distinction can be made between what are referred to as blue collar (carpentry) and white collar (legal, medical) professions. An independent worker in the latter may be called a consultant, but likely not so with the former.
    – DJ Far
    May 21, 2015 at 16:53
  • That's the highfalutin word for a handyman. Just the same as with engineering consultants who practice the custodial arts: janitors.
    – Mazura
    Mar 18, 2016 at 1:42

The word that you are looking for is supplier which is defined as:

someone whose business is to supply a particular service or commodity

So in this case it would be service. In fact you could also use simply provider, which in fact is a synonym of supplier.


I guess a generic "service person" should be ok - though often at times you will find term being used for armed forces personnel.


I would use businessperson (or businessman/businesswoman) for this.

businessperson (noun)
A man or woman who works in commerce, especially at an executive level


The last part of the definition makes this word questionable for the context, but this is a very general word. It could describe anything from a babysitter to a CEO.

  • The kind of services I mean, are services that are not performed by people at an executive level.
    – Daan
    May 16, 2015 at 21:02
  • Businessperson doesn't have to describe an executive. If you're a janitor, you're conducting the business of cleaning. It's a little bit of a stretch, but in my opinion it works.
    – Adam
    May 16, 2015 at 21:04
  • I still have an issue because of the definition in the oxford dictionary. I really mean people who are especially not (!) at an executive level and do not have a high position at all. I can not simply ignore "especially at an executive level". I consider this as a hint for not using this term.
    – Daan
    May 16, 2015 at 21:18

The additional word required for your Google search is industry or sector (service industry, tertiary sector –Wiki) but I think you're after the word ancillary. If I may rephrase your comment:

The people who provide services within, and that are part of, a larger company are called ancillary staff/personnel.

providing necessary support to the primary activities or operation of an organization, institution, industry, or system. –Google


You might consider, caregiver

A person who gives help and protection to someone (such as a child, an old person, or someone who is sick)


Are You Paying Your Caregiver Minimum Wage?

Yes, you love your nanny, your housekeeper, your pet sitter and the other caregivers in your life. But do you pay them a fair wage?


Professional Caregivers

We only hire professional caregivers who have chosen caregiving as their life’s work. As simple as this may seem, it makes a huge difference. How confident would you be if the mechanic fixing your car had never fixed a car before? How would you feel if you knew that your hair dresser just got out of cosmetology school last week? We understand that providing you a skilled and experienced caregiver is essential to fulfilling the WRAPAROUND promise.

All For Your Home Care

Also, caretaker

One that gives physical or emotional care and support : served as caretaker to the younger children



A 'Producer'? someone who provides a good/s or service/s.
A good can be : A phone, or anything that's touchable you own.
A service can be : Like a cleaner or babysitter but government provides services like public schools and the police.

  • 1
    Hello, Cameron. Have you a dictionary definition matching this claimed sense of 'producer'? (If this is from a dictionary, it needs attributing.) Sep 10, 2017 at 7:17

How about: workman?


[with adj.] a person with a specified skill in a job or craft

If you use an adjective with workman, it works out just fine. e.g., "... like all good workmen."


The can be called vendors – vendors provides goods or services

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    Hello, Dayo. This is apparently true, but you need to add dictionary support. Then perhaps the down-voter will retract their vote. Mar 17, 2016 at 21:48
  • 1
    As defined here, here, and here, a vendor can be either a person or a company.  Also, this term is generally used to refer to a seller of products (goods), and only rarely a provider of services. Mar 17, 2016 at 23:23

Try "sole trader". Bit too formal for some examples like teaching a language or looking after pets but I think that's where their specific terms come into play (tutor, babysitter).

You can just modify "service provider" with "sole" at the front and it specifies the nature of the single person.

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