are infrequent, technical, or unique functions performed by independent contractors or consultants whose occupation is the rendering of such services. Examples of professional services contracts include: accountants
, brokerage firms
, business consultants
, business development managers
, law firms
, performing artists
, pet groomers, public relations
, researchers, real estate brokers
and web designers
. While not limited to licentiates (individuals holding professional licenses), the services are considered "professional" and the contract may run to partnerships, firms, or corporations as well as to individuals.
The selection of an independent contractor or consultant providing professional services is usually based on skill, knowledge, reputation, ethics, and creativity. Prices for services, even within the same field, vary greatly. Some professional service providers are able to give fixed rates for projects, while others define the price only after assessing the work involved. For this reason, it is common to hire professionals based upon an hourly fee and an estimated length of project (scope).
In the past, independent contractors for professional services were located and hired by various means, including recommendation and directories (e.g. yellow pages). The popularity of the Internet has led to a new crop of professional services sites that allow independent contractors to offer their services to a larger audience, while allowing individuals or companies to find professionals quickly and easily.
The term "Professional Services" is also used frequently by corporations such as banks and retailers that offer infrequent or ongoing services for their customers.