I need a single word to define an employee, contractor or any business entity (e.g. sole-proprietorship, corporation) that provides services in exchange for pay.

I saw https://english.stackexchange.com/a/14187/152901 but the terminology is too vague for my liking.

https://english.stackexchange.com/a/248668/152901 suggests "Vendor" which comes close to what I'm looking for, but I don't believe the definition covers employees.

UPDATE: I am looking for a word which is the union of a "Vendor" (which refers to a company) and "Worker" (which refers to an individual). Ideally the word should be stated from the perspective of the individual/company (what would they call themselves?) and should imply some sort of business relationship.

  • 1
    It's hyphenated, but how about: "service-provider"?
    – Nonnal
    Dec 27, 2015 at 6:50
  • @Nonnal I thought of the same, but I'm looking for a non-hyphenated single word :)
    – Gili
    Dec 27, 2015 at 6:59
  • 2
    Then just "Provider"
    – Jim
    Dec 27, 2015 at 7:14
  • 1
    Who says Vendor refers to only companies? It can mean both companies and individuals. The ice-cream truck owner who has set shop adjacent to the market road would be an individual vendor. Baskin&Robbins would be a multi-national vendor. I'd go with vendor. More like public class Vendor! ;)
    – BiscuitBoy
    Dec 27, 2015 at 12:43
  • 1
    Wouldn’t that then be taxpayer?
    – Jim
    Dec 27, 2015 at 14:21

2 Answers 2


Since employees and independent contractors are handled differently in taxation in the U. S., one receiving a W2 and the other self-employeed, one usually having taxes withheld by their employer and the other having to pay self-employment tax (Social Security) in addition to income tax, etc., there is no single word I know of that would accurately combine the two, let alone include other vendors like small businesses and corporations as well. @Jim suggested the reasonable superset term, "Taxpayers," which implies the one thing the components have in common with regards to a tax simulation program. My wife, a retired accountant with more than 35 years of experience in corporate, partnership and individual tax preparation, could not think of a better word that would include all the entities that will need to use your program.

Edit 1-3-16: @Gili, After thinking more about this for a few days, I came up with one other possibility that might work for you: "Client."

  • "Taxpayer" is not so bad (I'm still mulling it over) but I don't think it makes sense to refer to a Corporation as an "Employee" because it's not an employee of the customer company it is providing services to.
    – Gili
    Dec 28, 2015 at 4:42
  • Point taken, and agreed. "Employee" would not describe a corporation. I'll edit it out of my answer. Best of luck finding just the right word! Dec 28, 2015 at 14:24
  • I am actually looking for the opposite of "Client". Both "Vendor" and "Worker" have a "Client" but I am looking for a word to replace the former, not the latter.
    – Gili
    May 8, 2016 at 21:48

Such entities usually fall under the general category of consultant.

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