Companies in the sector provide support services to businesses, such as office administration, hiring and placing of personnel, security services, travel arrangement, cleaning, and waste disposal. Major companies include Automatic Data Processing, Carlson Wagonlit, ManpowerGroup, and Waste Management (all based in the US), along with Adecco (Switzerland); G4S (UK); Randstad (the Netherlands), and TUI (Germany).
Europe and the US are the primary markets for business services. The industry is growing fastest where businesses are expanding, including markets in Latin America (particularly Colombia and Mexico), the Asia/Pacific region (India, Indonesia, and Malaysia), sub-Saharan Africa (Kenya), and Eastern Europe (Poland).
The US business services sector consists of about 390,000 establishments (single-location companies and units of multi-location companies) with combined annual sales of about $815 billion.
Demand ultimately depends on the level of business spending, which is determined by the health of the overall economy. The profitability of individual companies depends on efficient operations and effective marketing. Large companies often enjoy economies of scale and can compete for large, national accounts. Small companies can compete by offering highly specialized services, or through superior customer service. The US business services sector is highly fragmented: the 50 largest companies account for less than 25% of sector revenue.
Providers of business support services may face competition from customers or potential customers, as these services in many cases can be undertaken in-house....