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Oasis Outsourcing Review: Best PEO for Very Small Businesses

Our 2017 research and analysis of professional employer organizations (PEOs) leads us to again recommend Oasis Outsourcing as the best PEO for very small businesses.

We chose Oasis from the dozens of PEOs we considered. To understand how we selected our best picks, you can find our methodology and a comprehensive list of PEOs on our best picks page.

Oasis Outsourcing has no minimum employee requirements, offers an extensive selection of PEO services and provides hands-on customer support that very small businesses will appreciate. Here is a breakdown of why it's our best pick for microbusinesses.

Oasis Outsourcing offers a complete collection of PEO services that allow very small businesses to provide employees with the same benefits and services larger organizations offer.

What makes Oasis particularly attractive is that it doesn't have a minimum employee requirement. Some of the other PEO providers we considered only offer services to businesses with a minimum of five to 10 employees.

Though Oasis offers a wide range of features, you don't have to use them all. Instead, you can create a customized package that best fits your needs. Some other PEO providers we examined don't offer this option. We think very small businesses will find this option appealing, as it ensures they aren't paying for services they won't use.

Here are some of the specific services and benefits Oasis offers:

  • Human resources services: Job descriptions, employee handbooks, compensation planning, new-hire reporting, employment verification, unemployment claims administration, and online and on-site training.
  • Employee benefits: Health, dental and vision insurance; life and disability insurance; employee assistance programs; 401(k) retirement plans; health savings accounts; and flexible spending accounts.
  • Payroll administration: Direct deposit, payroll accrual and tracking, time and attendance, payroll record keeping, web-based payroll system, and payroll tax administration.

Editor's Note: Looking for information on PEOs? Use the questionnaire below, and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need:

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In addition to Oasis' core offerings, clients have access to the company's staffing services at discounted rates. The staffing service provides assistance with recruitment and selection, applicant screening, candidate sourcing, testing and assessments, background checks, and drug testing.

Oasis also offers discount programs for both businesses and their employees. The Oasis Client Discount Program features negotiated pricing with vendors many businesses and employees already use, including financial services, retailers, and health and wellness companies.

Pricing for Oasis' services is based on a percentage of your gross payroll. To really understand what Oasis' costs would be, you need to get a formal proposal that outlines pricing for your specific needs.

We were very happy with the service we received from Oasis. To test the customer support, we called the company, posing as a small business owner interested in PEO services.

When we reached out to Oasis, we were pleased with the customer service. The representatives who spoke with us were knowledgeable and able to answer most of our questions, though they did refer us to a local specialist who could answer questions about specific laws in our hypothetical business' state and how Oasis could help us remain compliant. Both the initial correspondence with the representative and the call with the specialist were positive experiences, and we were able to get all of our questions answered without feeling pressured to make a purchase.

Oasis customers are provided with a client solutions manager in their region who visits their business in person. This allows each business to put a name to a face when reaching out for help. It also ensures that, rather than having to call a 1-800 number and speak to a different person each time, you have one person you can contact with any questions or concerns.

In addition to your main contact person, you have access to operations and human resources services teams. The operations team is a specialized group trained on the individual needs of each business. The team can handle issues related to payroll processing, benefits administration, risk services and new-hire setup. The operations team also provides support to individual employees.

The human resources team helps to deliver a number of HR-related needs, such as developing employee handbooks and conducting training. It also handles regulatory support by providing employee posters and processing leave requests.

After learning about the support Oasis provides, we had the impression that the company takes a very hands-on approach to customer service, which we think very small businesses will find appealing.

Oasis' website is filled with valuable tools and information. It includes articles on health care reform and management advice, as well as links to a number of small business resources. It also features videos on all of its services.

One important reason why we chose Oasis Outsourcing as our best pick was its accreditation by the Employer Services Assurance Corporation (ESAC). Accreditation demonstrates a PEO's financial stability, ethical business conduct, and adherence to operational standards and regulatory requirements.

Oasis was originally accredited in 2010 and is currently in good standing, according to the ESAC website. Many of the other PEOs we considered are not ESAC accredited.

There are a couple of potential downsides to Oasis Outsourcing. One is in regard to the medical insurance. Depending on the state you live in, a minimum number of employees (usually 10) may be required to get on Oasis' health care plan.

Another possible negative is the cost structure. Rather than having fees based on a percentage of payroll, some PEO providers determine pricing on the number of employees a business has. For a very small business, there might not be a big difference in pricing for either structure. However, if you prefer a per-employee cost structure, we would encourage you to consider Insperity, our choice for the best PEO for small businesses, or Paychex, our choice for the best PEO for startups.

Want to know more about choosing a PEO? Here's a breakdown of our full coverage:

Editor's Note: Looking for information on PEOs? Use the questionnaire below, and our vendor partners will contact you to provide you with the information you need:

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Additional reporting by Chad Brooks.

Jill Bowers

Jill Bowers is a technical writer by day and a fantasy author by night. She has more than 10 years of writing experience for both B2C and B2B content, focusing on topics like travel writing, consumer finance, business marketing, social media marketing and other business categories. She spends an inordinate amount of time singing love songs to her dog, composes handbell music and writes YA fantasy novels.