I'm writing up a business model and have arrived at the point to place the business in the value chain. I know that the business would go in the spot where the 'retailer' usually is however, a retailer is usually meant for companies which provide goods rather than services. Therefore, I am wondering if there is any word (or phrase) which can be used to describe my company which provides a service. It would be nice if the word is commonly used in business jargon as well.

6 Answers 6


For most purposes, the generic term "service provider" (or even just "provider") would be sufficient, although depending on your industry there may be a more specific term (such as ASP: Application Service Provider). If you are looking to dress it up a bit - and depending on the audience for your document, you could consider a variation on "partner".


I'd use 'supplier':

Definition: A supplier is an entity that supplies goods and services to another organization. This entity is part of the supply chain of a business, which may provide the bulk of the value contained within its products. Some suppliers may even engage in drop shipping, where they ship goods directly to the customers of the buyer. (-- from accountingtools.com)

(and I wouldn't worry too much about the 'to another organization' part; it will be understood even if your customers are individuals)


You can just use a "service company". There are many categories into which you can divide companies, but "service(-oriented/based) company" and "manufacturing (product-oriented/based) company", "sales(-oriented/based) company" are 3 major categories.

There is no company which doesn't fit into one of the 3 categories, I believe.

The below link explains what "public service company" means. You can just omit public because your company might not always work for the public interest.

Public Service Company:

A public service company (or public utility company) is a corporation or other non-governmental business entity (i.e. limited partnership) which delivers public services - certain services considered essential to the public interest. The ranks of such companies include public utility companies like natural gas, pipeline, electricity, and water supply companies, sewer companies, telephone companies and telegraph companies. They also include public services such as transportation of passengers or property as a common carrier, such as airlines, railroads, trucking, bus, and taxicab companies.


  • One (or more) of those three categories.
    – MAA
    Commented Jul 2, 2017 at 17:08

In some situations, you could also consider:


a person who is hired to perform work or to provide goods at a certain price or within a certain time

Merriam Webster Dictionary Definition.

E.g. "We hired contractors to install the new equipment by the end of the day"

This is certainly used in an industrial setting in the UK. A contractor (or contracting firm) would be an external body that undertake piece work or long-term contract work for a business.

Note: Through re-reading the passage, it mentions providing goods, this is something a contractor can do but it is a term more often used for a service. The answer is far from perfect, but still serves as an example of a 'service provider'.

  • Please explain in your own words why you feel this answers the question, perhaps what situations you feel it might work for.
    – tchrist
    Commented Oct 3, 2015 at 15:01

Contractor. I am a licensed realtor and legally considered a "Contractor" because I offer a service to consumers for an agreed upon fee. It is a generalized term for someone that is legally recognized for offering a service, skill or trade in exchange for compensation and hired by an entity (i.e. person(s) or business) to deliver service(s) based on terms negotiated and agreed upon by both parties prior to service or compensation. "Contractors" are "contracted" because profit based services are negotiable and the terms negotiated are finalized into a "contract" that summarizes the terms and acceptance of all parties. The reason is because a service offered always varies in circumstances with each consumer and the delivery and outcome of service varying on the professional.


I am surprised to not see vendor as an existing answer, especially since I see it regularly used in business contexts in this sense.


vendor, also vender

2. One that provides products or services to a business for a fee.



FORMAL a company or person that sells a particular product or service

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