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Best PEO for Customer Service: ADP TotalSource Review

ADP Total Source
Credit: ADP

After conducting extensive research on professional employer organizations, we recommend ADP TotalSource as the PEO with the best customer service in 2018. To understand how we selected our best picks, you can find our methodology, plus a comprehensive list of PEO services, on our best picks page.

TotalSource is the professional employer solution offered by ADP, a company that specializes in HR outsourcing and human capital management. TotalSource represents more than 500,000 employees nationwide, making it one of the largest PEO services we reviewed. Despite its size, it had the best customer service of any company we reviewed by far.

We set up a hypothetical small business and interacted with TotalSource sales representatives over live chat, email and the phone. This gave us a glimpse into the company's overall service. The kind folks at ADP went above and beyond our expectations in all areas of the process. On live chat, we got quick answers to simple questions and were filtered through to an expert via email. Over email, the sales representative we spoke with answered all our questions and also provided extra details about the service that we might find helpful. This level of attention extended to the sales call, where the representative not only offered to send us a service brochure, but also provided us with general advice on finding the right PEO for our business.

ADP's reputation and customer service are impressive. Its features and actual PEO services are also top-notch. It's a flexible service that can work with businesses of any size, and it provides one of the most robust PEO services of any company we reviewed.

Editor's note: Looking for the right PEO service for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to be connected with vendors that can help.

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ADP TotalSource can tailor its solutions to meet your needs as a small business. There is no minimum number of employees required for the PEO service, and ADP will work with your business to find the right package of services for you – whether that involves payroll, risk management, HR outsourcing, benefits or all of the above. TotalSource charges on a per-employee basis for its PEO service. If you choose its administrative services organization (ASO) or HR outsourcing option, your pricing structure may be different. The benefit, however, is that this service is tailored to grow with your business – if you start using ASO services, you can eventually upgrade to the full-fledged PEO offering.

ADP doesn't require businesses to sign a long-term contract. You can sign up for the service and cancel at any time by providing 30 days' notice. This flexible opt-out structure, which is also offered by most of the other PEOs we reviewed, allows small businesses to stay agile as they grow.

ADP provides clients with web-based payroll software and a mobile app for time and attendance management. Many companies we reviewed offer web-based payroll software, but ADP is among the few best picks that offers a mobile app as well. This allows workers to clock in, submit time-off requests and manage hours while on the go.

ADP TotalSource is accredited by both the IRS and the Employer Services Assurance Corporation, meaning it's at the top of the PEO industry in terms of financial stability and services offered. Not every company we reviewed is accredited by one of these organizations, let alone both, though most of our best picks are accredited by both. This level of accreditation verifies that ADP provides high-quality services.

ADP TotalSource has one of the fullest service selections of any company we reviewed. This company can provide the tools you need to succeed as a small business, whether in payroll processing, benefits administration or risk management. TotalSource offers a team of experts in each area of service as well as 24/7 support via phone, email and live chat. In addition to this coordinated effort and support channels, ADP TotalSource offers the following services:

  • ACA documentation
  • OSHA compliance
  • Handbook and policy development
  • Termination and dispute assistance
  • Federal and state tax and labor law compliance
  • Safety training
  • Risk management materials
  • W-2 administration
  • Payroll processing
  • Custom benefits solutions for your business
  • 401(k) and retirement programs
  • Employee wellness programs

One particular area where ADP shines is customer service. Posing as a small business owner, we interacted with its sales team over email, live chat and phone. On all three avenues, ADP's sales team was helpful in informing us not only about its services but about the PEO search process.

ADP was one of the only companies to send us a service brochure outlining exactly what it offers. It also gave us advice over the phone about what to look for in other PEO services, how company benefit plans are usually structured, and other information about partnering with PEO services.

At no point did a company representative push us for a sale. ADP TotalSource's support team treated us as if we were a valuable customer, even though we hadn't even signed up yet. For these reasons, it's our best pick for PEO customer service.

Support: ADP offers multiple support avenues, including email, live chat, phone and FAQs pages for quick reference. These options are all in addition to having the direct numbers of your HR consulting team, which can provide input on everything from payroll issues to developing a company handbook.

Employee training: ADP TotalSource offers both virtual and onsite training for your workforce. You can tailor training sessions on a variety of topics, such as risk prevention, to your business. You can also opt to require employee training through virtual and online training seminars. The training services are another aspect where ADP's size benefits small businesses.

ADP's size is both a benefit and a drawback, depending on your needs as a small business owner. Because it's such a large company, there is potential for your business to feel lost in the shuffle. However, our interactions with ADP representatives did not reflect this presumption at all. They were all helpful and caring about our experience as a small business owner. The size factor isn't something to worry about so much as it's a potential consideration to keep in mind as you search for the right PEO.

There is also a required minimum salary to use ADP's PEO services. If your business doesn't meet this minimum, however, you still have the option to enroll in ADP TotalSource's ASO. This model offers similar services to the PEO model, but with a different type of agreement. Depending on how small your business is, you may be better off starting with the ASO and then upgrading as you grow.

Ready to choose a PEO solution? Here's a breakdown of our full coverage:

Editor's note: Looking for the right PEO service for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to be connected with vendors that can help.

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Matt D'Angelo

Matt D'Angelo is a Staff Writer based in New York City. After graduating from James Madison University with a degree in Journalism, Matt gained experience as a copy editor and writer for newspapers and various online publications. Matt joined the team in 2017 and covers technology for Business.com and Business News Daily. Follow him on Twitter or email him.