PEO is the acronym for “professional employer organization.”
These outsourcing firms provide business services for functions like payroll, HR tasks, administrative roles, and other crucial activities to running a company.
PEO service providers are incredibly appealing for business owners because they reduce the workload of mundane but critical tasks.
Outsourcing these roles are cost-effective as well. Instead of having a full-time HR staff on your payroll, it’s much cheaper to contract that work. Plus, PEO service providers have the ability to negotiate rates related to employee health insurance or workers’ compensation expenses.
Whether you’re interested in hiring a PEO service for the first time, or looking to switch providers, this guide has you covered.
The 7 Best PEO Service Providers
There are countless PEO services available on the market today. From local providers to national names, and everything in between. Some PEO services are industry-specific, while others are intended for businesses of a certain size.
Finding the best PEO provider for your business can be challenging if you don’t have any guidance.
I narrowed down and reviewed the seven best PEO service providers below. I’ll cover the features, benefits, costs, and any drawbacks of each one as we continue.
Justworks is a full-service PEO provider offering payroll, human resources, compliance, and employee benefits under a single umbrella package.
The company launched in 2012 but has quickly grown in both size and popularity over the last few years. They went from 40 employees in 2015 to 300 in 2018. Today, Justworks has more than 600 employees and relationships with major companies like United Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, and ClassPass.
In addition to employee benefits like health, vision, and dental insurance, Justworks also provides a wide range of compliance services. They handle W-2 and 1099 filings, unemployment insurance, and workers’ compensation.
Justworks has an automated payroll system for direct deposit, paying vendors and contractors, and integration with your business accounting software like Quickbooks and Xero.
Another benefit of Justworks is that they can accommodate the needs for businesses of all sizes. So if you start working with them now, they can scale with you as your company grows.
Here’s an overview of their plans and pricing based company size:
Basic — Payroll, HR Tools, Benefits, and Compliance
- Less than 25 employees — $49 per month per employee
- 25-99 — $44 per month per employee
- 100-174 — $39 per month per employee
- 175+ — Custom pricing
Plus — Access to Medical, Dental, and Vision
- Less than 25 employees — $99 per month per employee
- 25-99 — $89 per month per employee
- 100-174 — $79 per month per employee
- 175+ — Custom pricing
You can save 15% on all plans when you sign up for an annual contract.
I like Justworks because they give you so many options. You’re not forced to take the health insurance package, but it’s available if you want it. If you’re just starting out and new to working with PEO service providers, you could always start with the Basic plan and upgrade to Plus when you’re ready.
Justworks offers 24/7 customer support. The company is modern and still growing at a rapid rate, so I expect them to continue providing excellent service in the future.
The only real downside of Justworks is their lack of experience. There are other PEO service providers who have been in business for decades.
Speaking of experience, Insperity has been around for 30+ years. They provide full HR solutions for small businesses as well as enterprises with up to 5,000 employees.
In 1997, the company went public on the NYSE. They have a long list of awards, accreditations, achievements, and glowing reviews from their customers.
Insperity’s full-service HR solution includes:
- Employee benefits
- HR administration
- Risk management
- Talent management
- Tech services
For those of you who don’t need a full-service solution, you can also use Insperity for individual services.
While Insperity does accommodate the needs of businesses with 150-5,000 employees, I’d recommend their services to small and medium-sized business owners with less than 150 employees.
With Insperity, you’ll have access to the iOS and Android mobile apps to monitor and manage your business on the go. It’s a great option for those of you who enjoy leveraging the latest technology to streamline your processes.
For those of you who prefer working with large organizations, Insperity is definitely a top choice to consider. They did $3.8 billion in revenue back in 2018.
Although the company is big, they still provide excellent customer service and know how to work with small business owners.
Another top feature of Insperity is its flexibility. Unlike other PEO providers on the market, Insperity won’t lock you into a long term contract. You can cancel at any time, as long as you give them 30 day’s notice.
Insperity does not list prices for their services online. You’ll need to speak with their customer service sales team to get a custom quote.
A potential drawback of using Insperity for PEO services is that their health plan options are limited. Unlike other providers, Insperity only offers health plans from a single health insurance provider. So if your company wants to give your employees multiple options for healthcare, you should look elsewhere on our list. But this usually isn’t a problem for small business owners.
ADP is an industry leader in technology. Since 2011 they have been providing software for human resources to businesses of all shapes and sizes.
But in addition to their robust technology, ADP TotalSource is a full-service PEO solution.
ADP is another top option for small to medium-sized business owners. Whether you have 1-49 employees, 50-999 employees, or 1,000+ members on your team, ADP has a plan for you.
ADP TotalSource is used for human resources, talent management, payroll, employee benefits, and risk assessment.
As a small business owner, you can use ADP to provide enterprise-grade medical, dental, and vision care to your employees. Furthermore, ADP also offers 401(k) plans.
The technology used by ADP is the biggest standout of this PEO provider. Everything from HR to payroll, benefits, and recruiting can be accessed and managed through a mobile app or easy to use web dashboard.
But arguably the best feature of ADP is the customer service.
Naturally, your employees will have questions. Whether it be about their pay, benefits, or something else that would fall into the HR category. Rather than bothering you with those questions, your staff can simply contact an ADP representative directly.
ADP’s knowledgeable and friendly staff will guide your employees in the right direction to answer any questions or help them pick a plan that fits their needs.
I like ADP because they also have industry-specific solutions for businesses in the following categories:
- Restaurant and hospitality
- Government and education
- Professional and technical services
- Financial services
ADP provides PEO services and technology in over 140 countries worldwide.
The only potential downside of using ADP TotalSource is the company’s size. Since ADP is so large, it’s possible that your small business could feel like it’s getting lost in the shuffle.
One of the biggest standouts of Paychex is the way that they provide PEO services. Your business will get a dedicated HR professional. In some cases, this dedicated HR manager can even be on-site at your office.
By working directly with your employees, Paychex takes HR outsourcing to the next level.
Since Paychex works so closely with your company, it makes it easier for them to assess workplace risks and address key areas of liability.
These are some of the top features and benefits of using Paychex as your PEO provider:
- Insurance plans
- Employee benefit accounts (HSA, FSA, HRA)
- 401(k) plans
- Payroll administration
- Unemployment insurance
Like other PEO providers, Paychex also offers individual services if you don’t need a full-service plan. You can search for solutions by task, business size, or role. Paychex even offers outsourced office management services.
From paperless hiring and onboarding to issuing payroll, Paychex does it all.
The only negative thing I can find about Paychex is that the interface is a bit outdated and not as user-friendly compared to options like ADP TotalSource.
The price for Paychex PEO services is based on the number of employees you have. Contact their sales team for a free consultation and quote.
Oasis Outsourcing was originally founded in 1996. The company was recently acquired by Paychex in 2018, although Oasis still operates under its own name.
PEO services provided by Oasis Outsourcing include:
- Human resources
- Employee benefits
- Risk management
- Technology solutions
Oasis can help your small business get great deals on healthcare by bundling your plan with other clients. They’ll help you set up employee retirement plans as well.
Like other providers on our list, Oasis has some industry-specific solutions.
- Private equity
- Property management
- Financial services
I’d recommend Oasis to startup companies because they are versatile, but smaller than some of the other choices out there. Oasis can give startups the special attention that they need, even with just a handful of employees.
While some PEO providers allow for month-to-month commitments, Oasis will force you into a one-year contract. So for those of you who don’t want to get locked in, this won’t be the best option for you.
With that said, Oasis does offer a 90-day money-back guarantee window. So you’ll have some time to change your mind if you’re not satisfied in the first few months.
Contact Oasis Outsourcing to get a custom quote for your company’s needs.
TriNet is one of the oldest and most experienced PEO service providers in the industry. After launching in 1988, the company has been serving businesses for more than 30 years.
As of today, they are currently working with over 16,000 clients and roughly 332,000 employees.
The PEO services provided by TriNet are similar to some of the others in the industry. They offer niche-specific solutions for:
- HR consulting
- Benefit options
- Risk mitigation
TriNet stands out as one of the best PEO providers because of their service and attention to detail. Their team will be on standby for your employees.
Whether it’s during the hiring process, onboarding, or just day-to-day questions about their benefits or employee status, TriNet is there for all of those needs.
TriNet does not try to appeal to larger organizations. In fact, services are segmented by employee size into these three categories:
- 5-19 employees
- 20-99 employees
- 100+ employees
I’d recommend TriNet to those of you who fall on the lower end of this scale. A company with 500 or 1,000+ employees should look elsewhere.
TriNet offers a wide range of employee health benefit options through insurance companies like United Healthcare, Kaiser Permanente, Aflac, Aetna, and MetLife.
TriNet also has partnerships with big brands to offer small businesses and employees marketplace discounts. Some of those brands include Verizon, AT&T, Hyatt, and Avis.
To get a custom quote for your small business, simply fill out a short form field on the TriNet website.
While some providers force you to bundle all PEO services in one package, Infiniti HR allows you to pick and choose which ones you need.
Do you only need an outsourced human resources department, but not payroll? No problem. Infiniti HR can set you up with that.
In addition to the traditional PEO services that we’ve seen so far (HR, payroll, risk management, employee benefits, etc.), Infiniti HR also specializes in recruitment. This PEO provider will help get top-level talent to your team.
Another standout for Infiniti HR is the type of businesses that they serve. They work with lots of franchise organizations like Supercuts, Best Western, and Massage Envy.
Whether you own one franchise location or multiple franchises across the country, Infiniti HR will be a top choice for you to consider.
Infiniti HR has been in business for just over ten years. They are still growing and improving their services on what seems like a daily basis.
The Infiniti HR mobile app is expected to be released by the end of 2020. This technology improvement will definitely make their services more appealing.
How to Find the Best PEO Service Providers
There is quite a bit of information that must be taken into consideration when you’re evaluating a PEO service provider. Since so many companies seem to offer similar services, choosing the best fit for your business can be a challenge.
I’ll take you through the methodology that we used to come up with this guide. You can use these features as well during your search process.
The first thing you should look at is the price of the PEO solutions. This will make it easier for you to eliminate options that might be out of your price range.
Unfortunately, not every PEO provider includes prices on their website. Since so much about this industry is customized, you’ll need to speak with a sales representative to get a quote.
But if you’re looking for a provider with transparent prices, Justworks will be a top option for you to consider.
While a PEO provider is supposed to reduce costs make your life easier as a business owner, it should also have a positive impact on your employees.
Things like retirement plans, health insurance, dental, and vision offered by a PEO will be appealing to your staff. Not only will this keep your employees happy, but it will also help you hire top-level talent.
Some PEO providers work with just one health insurance company, while others provide a wide range of options. So if diverse plans from varying providers is important to you, then make sure you find a PEO solution that can accommodate those needs.
The best PEO providers offer technology for employee self-service. Whether it’s an app or web portal, your staff can access crucial information related to their pay, employee status, or benefits.
If the self-service options are not sufficient, you want to make sure that your PEO provider will be available to answer any questions via phone, email, or live chat for your employees.
Your staff should be able to do this without having to go directly through you to speak to an outsourced HR representative.
Business Size and Industry
A startup with five employees and a franchise with 2,000 employees across 50 locations will not be in the market for the same PEO service provider. Look for you providers that work with companies similar to the size of your business.
Furthermore, some PEO providers specialize in certain industries. Ideally, you want to work with a provider who understands your industry, whenever possible.
What’s the best PEO service provider?
The answer depends on a wide range of factors. Not every business is looking for the same thing in a PEO solution. Some businesses want a full-service PEO package, while others just want an outsourced HR representative.
Here’s a recap of the best PEO providers that we reviewed in this guide:
- Justworks — Best overall PEO service provider.
- Insperity — Best PEO services for small to medium-sized businesses.
- ADP TotalSource — Best PEO technology and employee customer service.
- Paychex — Best PEO provider for on-site HR and payroll.
- Oasis Outsourcing — Best PEO services for startups.
- TriNet — Best PEO provider for very small businesses.
- Infiniti HR — Best PEO service provider for franchises.
I’m confident that you can find exactly what you’re looking for from one of the providers on this list. I made sure to include something for everyone.