what is a service business

What Is a Service Business?

Aspiring business owners generally have two options when it comes to starting a business. The first is to offer products while the second is to offer services. While products are tangible goods that one can produce or re-sell, service-based businesses are quite different.

In this article, we explore what is a service business, provide several examples of these business types, focus on good ideas of business services to start, and offer top insights into starting your own service-based business. Let’s take a closer look.

What is a service business?

The definition of a service business is a type of business that does not offer products to its customers. Instead, it offers expertise and professional services that customers generally cannot perform on their own for themselves.

The skilled labor provided by service businesses are often designed to handle tasks that a customer generally cannot do by themselves or is looking for time-saving alternatives to carrying out the job on their own.

These services are very broad in nature and some examples will be provided in the section below.

What are the different types of service businesses?

The service-based industry is full of numerous examples of a service business. A few of these include the following categories as well as specific business types to consider:

  • Health and wellness: Doctor’s office, dental office, hair salon, nail salon, spa, massage therapy, physical therapy
  • Personal services: Child care, academic tutoring, athletic training and fitness
  • Business services: Information technology consultant, law office, marketing agency, software engineering, real estate, financial adviser, business consulting, graphic design, auto mechanics
  • Transportation: Bus, taxi, airline, ride sharing, shipping, couriers, logistics
  • Home services: Lawn care, cleaning, plumbing, dog walking, junk removal, house painting, pool servicing, landscaping, car wash, maintenance, housekeeping

What is a good service business to start?

With so many different types of service business to choose from, you may be wondering what is a good service business to start. The answer to this question will depend on several factors. These include:

  • Your skills
  • Your experience
  • Your budget
  • Your personal and professional interests
  • Local market demographics
  • Local market demand
  • The level of competition in your local market
  • And more

Once you have carefully considered your intrinsic and extrinsic motivations as well as studied the service business industry carefully enough, you will find that some of the best service businesses are those that require little to no prior experience or knowledge. These are businesses that are easy to start and maintain going forward, can be scaled relatively quickly, and offer services for which there is a high demand.

These businesses are often cleaning, gardening/landscaping, handyman, pet care, and digital marketing businesses.

In order to determine whether a service business is the right fit for you, you should diligently study the competitive environment as well as be honest with yourself about your skills and experience, professional aspirations, and the levels of market demand for the service offering you have in mind. Once you have determined what the best type of service business is right for you, you can move onto the next question: what are the best practices for running a service business?

What are the best practices for running a service business?

Running a service-based business is both an exciting challenge and an excellent opportunity for growth. If you have decided on the type of service you would like to offer your clientele, you also need to consider industry best practices.

One of the first and most important elements of a successful service business is the customer experience that you provide. In service businesses, there is no tangible product being sold. Instead, you’re offering to do something for your customers that they do not wish to do on their own.

Based on your expertise, you should focus on growing your business by delivering an outstanding service to your customers every single time. This is an important way to grow and scale your service business. But how can you achieve this goal? 

The answer lies in giving your customers what they need and want, conveniently, easily, and at the time that suits them best.

Because of the nature of a service business, many services on offer take place at the customer’s own home. This means that you need a booking system to ensure that your team of employees are available for your customers during your available appointment slots.

You can do this by incorporating an online booking system that is part of a broader field service management software solution, which ensures your customers can book 24/7 and that your team will always be available to handle all your customers’ requests.

A further best practice in terms of how to run a service business involves ensuring that you can offer instantly calculated quotes online. Once these quotes are accepted by your customers, they need an easy online payment system that also issues invoices.

When the invoices are issued, the system or solution you choose to use will also link up to your accounting software so that you do not spend hours and waste valuable time looking at messy paperwork. Instead, everything is streamlined on a single platform that enables you to keep track of quotes, payments, jobs, as well as the progress of your tasks.

With software like ServiceOS, your service business operations now become more streamlined and efficient as your team will get notifications for when and where they need to be to carry out their jobs, while the back-office work that includes quotes, invoices, and payments is automated and easily accessible, saving you valuable time and resources through automated tasks.


When it comes to launching and starting your service-based business, you need to introduce efficiency in every aspect of your business as early as possible. The more tasks are automated, the faster you can cater to customer demand and enquiries and the more streamlined your operations will be.

With a greater focus on the core of your business and not on routine or administrative tasks, you’ll be able to focus on the key income-earning elements of your business as opposed to wasting precious time on admin and paperwork.

Through the right field service management software at your fingertips and an online booking system that makes your operations seamless, you can always count on ServiceOS to deliver an outstanding and powerful result when you need it most.

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