Public service operations are geared towards the needs of the community. They have to meet a demand for goods or services at reasonable prices, which can either only be produced at high prices and whose production therefore does not have a private interest, or whose production is not left to private interest.
Accordingly, three possible objectives of public service operations can be distinguished:
- Bedarfsdeckung als Zielsetzung beinhaltet die Bereitstellung von Leistungen, unabhängig davon, ob deren Kosten nicht oder nur zu einem Teil von den Abnehmern bezahlt werden können (soziale Einrichtungen, Museen, Theater, Schwimmbäder). Diese Betriebe werden zu ihrer financing öffentlich bezuschusst.
- Public-sector operations strive to cover costs, for which the legislature has made it more difficult for them to generate profits due to the public interest. These are often companies that are recognized as non-profit.
- Companies whose services are also in the public interest, but which cannot offer at cost-covering prices (transport companies), strive to minimize costs and losses.
Public economic operations are predominantly run by public communities (federal, state or local government).
A division can also be made according to the size of the company. The criteria for the classification are both the turnover and the number of employees. The spectrum ranges from one-person operations to units with thousands of employees. Roughly simplified, the following size classes can be distinguished:
- Small businesses with up to 50 employees
- Medium-sized companies with more than 50 and up to 250 employees
- Large companies with more than 250 employees