Business Services

Business Services

Professional Support for Professional Enterprises

Industry Overview

The rise of the B2B-service sector is a main driver for the development of a service economy in Germany. The sector is composed of all companies that provide services to professional customers. These include, among others legal, tax, ICT and management consultants, consulting engineers, research and development businesses, marketing agencies, personnel recruiters, business process outsourcing companies and facility management providers.

Following a global trend, the dynamic development of the B2B-services sector in Germany is mainly due to an increasing number of manufacturing companies outsourcing their knowledge-intensive and managerial business functions. Especially the small and medium sized enterprises that form the backbone of the German economy benefit from economies of scale and the high innovative potential of external providers.

As Germany is well known for its highly qualified service personnel, it ranks first among the exporting nations in skill-intensive B2B-services worldwide.

Our Industry in Numbers

  • Business and financial services account with EUR 359 billion, together with other service related industries, for approximately 69% (EUR 1,638 billion) of the German gross value added in  2012.
  • More than 30 million people are employed in the services sector in Germany.
  • The majority of the providers in the sector are small and medium-sized enterprises known for their flexibility.
  • Germany ranks first among the exporting nations in skill-intensive B2B-services.

Market Potential

During the last quarter of the 20th century, service related businesses grew annually by almost double the rate of the German economy as a whole. The market for business services is growing constantly. The optimistic expectations of businesses in the sector are coupled with a growing demand in the recovering manufacturing industries.

CONSULTING - Consulting services compose the largest sub-segment in this sector. The turnover in the consulting industry in Germany was above EUR 22 billion in 2012 – the highest volume ever reached. Forecasts see an annual market growth of about 7%. In total, approximately 117,000 people work in management consulting area in Germany, thereof approximately 95,000 management consultants in around 15,000 consulting companies. Beside the globally acting big players, in Germany small and medium-sized consulting firms benefit from an increase in demand for specialized expertise. Additionally, Germany is home to a dense network of lawyers and tax consultants.

BUSINESS PROCESS OUTSOURCING - The German BPO market will grow by 10.6% in 2014 and 10.9 % in 2015 (source: PAC). This development will be led especially by finance & accounting processes; HR and verticals.
By 2016, the BPO market in Germany is expected to have reached an estimated volume of EUR 3.5 billion. And there is still a huge potential outsourcing volume created from within the German business environment. The demand mainly relies on small and medium sized companies often too small to process business functions themselves.

FACILITY MANAGEMENT - Facility Management Services in Germany have a stable growth potential. The German FM market has an actual volume of about EUR 55 billion, making Germany one of the largest FM markets in Europe. International companies discovered the market – today 4 out of the TOP 10 service providers in Germany have a non-German origin.

ADVERTISING - Modern forms of communication are expanding their market share in the advertising industry. According to the Association of the German Advertising Industry (ZAW), the total volume of the German advertising market in 2013 was EUR 29.59 billion. Net advertising media revenues amount EUR 18.16 billion. TV and daily newspapers have the highest volume, online and  cinemas the highest growth potential.

Market Access

Aside from general requirements that apply to taking up business in Germany, many business concepts in the sector are governed by specific legal conditions. These include the following:

PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS - Many business related services depend on a high level of professional qualification. For example, to ensure the expertise of businesses in the legal and tax consulting professions, they require proof of sufficient knowledge of German law or taxation procedures. More information on the recognition of foreign qualifications is available in our section "Service Occupations."

OPTIONAL QUALIFICATIONS - Even though some professional qualifications are not legally required to practice an occupation, they may be very important for customers evaluating the quality of a supplier. To gather information on specific voluntary qualifications and quality certificates that are recognized by the industry, you may browse the website of the relevant professional and industry associations found in the "supporting institutions" section of this industry profile.

BUSINESS SUPERVISION - In order to operate businesses that engage in certain types of especially dangerous or sensitive activities, entrepreneurs may need to apply for a special permit. The local Chambers of Industry and Commerce support their members with obtaining the relevant prerequisites. More information is available in our section "Service Occupations."

POSTING OF WORKERS - Industrial cleaning or private security businesses planning on posting workers to Germany have to assure that the underlying employment contracts comply with certain minimum working conditions, such as minimum wages, for instance. Information about the statutory working conditions for posted workers can be found on the website of the German Customs Administration.

ESTABLISHMENTS - Providing business related services often requires proximity to the customer and thus the establishment of local subsidiaries. Enterprises who intend to set up a German business branch will find comprehensive support at Germany Trade and Invest, the foreign trade and inward investment agency of the Federal Republic of Germany.

POINTS OF SINGLE CONTACT - Service providers from EU Member States may address their local Points of Single Contact for support with the administrative procedures that need to be observed before entering the German market. More information is available in our section ''EU Service Market''.

Finding Providers

Foreign enterprises seeking professional support for their business activities in Germany have access to a broad range of local specialists. The following sources on the internet may be helpful to find suitable providers for the required B2B-services:

TAX & LEGAL CONSULTING - Providers of tax and legal consulting service may be found through the search engine of the respective professional organizations, such as the German Bar Association, the German Association of Tax Advisers (DStV), the Federal Chamber of Civil Law Notaries, and the German Chamber of Certified Public Accountants. Although some of them are available in German only, they usually include data on the providers' foreign language skills and field of expertise.

MANAGEMENT AND PERSONAL CONSULTING - The website of the German Association of Business Consultants (BDU) contains a comprehensive database with management or human resources consultants in Germany (German only).

ICT CONSULTING - The German Federal Association for Information Technology, Telecommunications and New Media (BITKOM) provides a supplier directory named ''IT in Germany." It contains more than 7,000 entries of businesses that are active in the German IT, telecommunications and new media sectors.

FACILITY MANAGEMENT - Facility managers may be found in the member database of the German Facility Management Association (GEFMA). Furthermore, the Immobilien-verband Deutschland (IVD) provides a search engine for businesses specialized in real estate brokerage and management (German only).

ADVERTISING - The online search engine of the German Association of Communications Agencies supports businesses in finding suitable providers of advertising services (German only).

For business support with distribution and supply chain management please check out our articles on the logistics and wholesale and retail trade sectors in the section "Business Sectors - Service Industries" of our portal. For architectural and construction engineering services please refer to our article on the construction industry in the section "Business Sectors."

Entrepreneurs looking for a specific business contact may publish their inquiry free of charge in the "Export Community" on our website.

Supporting Institutions

A broad variety of institutions support enterprises that provide business related services in Germany, such as the mandatory professional organizations and the voluntary industry associations.

The professional organizations are public corporations that implement the occupational self-government and supervision and represent their members' interests. For companies that are established in Germany, the membership in professional chambers is mandatory. The Chambers of Industry and Commerce represent the interests of businesses in the sector. Traditional liberal consulting professions, such as tax and legal consultants, are represented by sector specific chambers, authorized to oversee professional qualification requirements.

The voluntary professional and industry associations represent the specific interests of their members and offer them individual assistance. Although membership is not mandatory, it is often a helpful way of obtaining support. Please browse the related links to find the associations active in your business' sector.


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