Commerce Commission – What is a competitor?

Competitors are other businesses who can offer the same or similar goods and services to your customers.

Your competitors are not just those you are currently competing with. They also include any potential competitors who may choose to compete in your market in the future. This could involve a competitor from a different geographic location expanding into your area or a competitor deciding to expand its offering to target a different part of the market.

Shared premises

Businesses sharing premises, such as health practitioners, should consider whether they are in business together or operating separate businesses. Unless a business is structured as a single legal entity or a partnership of individuals, the individuals within the premises who provide the same services will usually be considered to be in competition with each other. Partnerships are treated as single legal entities, as long as none of the partners is a company.

Your employment arrangements can also affect whether or not you are in competition with those you work with. Generally, you don’t compete with your fellow employees. However, if you work on contract or on a fee-for-service basis, you would be considered to be in competition with others who provide the same services as you, even if you work in the same premises.

If you receive funding (for example, a health practitioner receiving funding), in some cases your funding agency may also be considered your customer. In those cases, your competitors are those whose services could be substituted for yours by the funding agency.

If you are in doubt about whether you are in competition with other businesses, and you are considering making an agreement with any of them that could affect your fees or prices, you should seek legal advice.


You can still be considered to be in competition with a business you have entered into a sub-contracting relationship with. In these cases, while you can discuss the price relating to the sub-contract with each other, it must be the lead contractor who independently decides what price to offer the customer. For more information, read our price fixing and cartels fact sheet.


You are still seen to be in competition with a large business who also supplies you with products at a wholesale level, but who also sell products into the same market as you. In these cases, you can discuss and negotiate the supply price for any products you purchase from the supplier. But you cannot discuss prices or how you will decide on your prices (including levels, discounts, rebates or margins) for the goods and services you sell in competition with that supplier.