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The Best PEO Service Providers of 2023

By
Kaylyn McKenna
,
Business News Daily Contributing Writer
| Updated
Feb 01, 2023

Here are the best professional employer organizations (PEOs), which allow small businesses to lease employees and outsource administrative jobs.

Best Industry-Specific Support
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Flexible per-employee pricing
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Industry-specific expert support
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Extensive benefits options
Best for Startups
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Flexible plan options
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Access to expert support
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24/7 Customer Support
Best for Risk Management
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Strong benefits offerings
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Robust expert support
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User-friendly employee self-service
Best Customer Service
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Transparent pricing model
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Easy-to-use platform
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24/7 customer support
Best for Expert Advice
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Full-service customer support
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Nationwide PEO coverage
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Accreditation: ESAC, IRS and BBB
Here are the best professional employer organizations (PEOs), which allow small businesses to lease employees and outsource administrative jobs.
  • Professional employer organizations, or PEOs, provide small businesses with HR management, benefits administration and payroll processing support.
  • Many of the best PEOs are accredited by an outside agency, such as the ESAC, IRS or BBB.
  • Look for companies that provide personalized support, like designated customer service agents and HR consultants.
  • This article is for small businesses interested in growing the administrative side of their company through a PEO.

A professional employer organization (PEO) is a human resources solution for small and midsize businesses that don’t have internal HR staff. A PEO takes the place of an internal HR department by handling your payroll, employee benefits and other HR-related needs. When selecting a PEO for your business, you have several factors and many services to consider. To make the process easier, we’ve chosen the PEOs we think are best for various use cases and business types.

The 7 Best PEO Services for Small Business of 2023

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Company Editor’s Score Best Use Case Certifications Pricing Employee Minimum Customer Service
Paychex 94/100 Best for Startups IRS, ESAC Custom pricing 5 Phone, email, live chat
Justworks 96/100 Best Customer Service IRS, ESAC $49-$99 per employee per month 2 Phone, email, live chat, dedicated account manager
TriNet 94/100 Best for Industry-Specific Support IRS, ESAC Custom pricing 5 Phone, email, live chat, dedicated specialists
Insperity 91/100 Best for Risk Management IRS, ESAC Custom pricing 5 Phone, email, live chat, dedicated specialists
ADP 91/100 Best Personalized Support IRS, ESAC Custom pricing 5 Phone, email, live chat, dedicated specialists
Rippling 95/100 Best for Growing Businesses N/A Custom pricing 5 Phone, email, live chat
Papaya Global 92/100 Best for International Employer N/A A la carte pricing. Payroll support starts at $20 per employee per month 1 Phone, email, live chat

Our Reviews

TriNet PEO: PEO with the Best Industry-Specific Support

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TriNet customers have access to industry experts for HR and compliance support.
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TriNet offers impressive benefits from top health plans and providers.
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Businesses in certain high-risk industries may not be eligible for PEO service through TriNet.
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TriNet offers industry-specific service plans, so your business can receive specialized attention based on the business environment you’re competing in. TriNet’s PEO offering provides HR services, risk management, document management, payroll processing and benefits administration. TriNet’s industry-specific experts also act as a compliance resource for businesses that need to abide by industry regulations and safety requirements.

Editor’s Score: 94/100

One valuable aspect of TriNet is its helpful resource offering, Connect 360. With this service, businesses can have their HR questions answered by specialized HR support professionals. TriNet with industry-specific expertise. Clients can contact an HR rep at Connect 360 by phone, email and live chat. Having the ability to connect with tailored support can be very helpful for businesses that want to maintain compliance based on their specific industry and location.

TriNet offers custom dashboards with prebuilt key performance indicators (KPIs) and visualizations to help you gain insight into the HR trends that matter to your business and your industry. The technology is intuitive, user-friendly and platform-responsive, so it’s easy to access across various devices. TriNet is certified by the IRS and accredited by the ESAC, an independent nonprofit and the official accreditation and financial assurance organization for the PEO industry.

Read TriNet PEO Review

Paychex PEO: Best PEO for Startups

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Paychex PEO customers have access to payroll and HR experts for hands-on assistance.
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Paychex offers customizable plans with flexible terms.
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Companies must have a minimum of five employees to enroll in Paychex PEO services.
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Paychex is an ideal PEO for startups with at least five worksite employees. This service is available in all 50 states and offers custom plans with flexible pricing, making it a good choice for small and growing businesses alike. The platform is completely scalable and can grow with your business. You can add and remove services as needed, which is great for small startups that may have unpredictable staff growth. Paychex clients receive help with HR administration, payroll, employee benefits, health insurance and risk management. You can utilize Paychex’s Voice Assist tool to streamline your HR processes even further. This allows you and your employees to perform HR functions via voice recognition. This isn’t an option we saw offered by many other competitors.

Editor’s Score: 94/100

Businesses that partner with Paychex receive dedicated customer support. You’ll be assigned a payroll account manager and HR professional. A dedicated payroll and HR expert who can answer your questions is ideal for startups navigating employment issues like recruiting, hiring and scaling.

Paychex requires a one-year contract. It is accredited by the Employer Services Assurance Corporation (ESAC), IRS and Better Business Bureau (BBB), so you can rest assured that you are partnering with a trustworthy company. These accreditations are given to PEOs that have undergone strict scrutiny of their finances and demonstrated compliance with federal, state and local employment tax laws and best practices. For these reasons, Paychex earns our pick as the best PEO for startups.

Read Paychex PEO Review

Insperity PEO Services: Best PEO for Risk Management

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Insperity offers advanced compliance and risk mitigation tools, including support from compliance and safety experts.
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Employees can access a large library of training and development resources from Insperity.
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There is a 5-employee minimum to enroll with Insperity PEO.
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Insperity provides flexible coverage and comprehensive service options to small businesses that have at least five employees. Businesses that partner with Insperity have access to more than 5,000 training resources, payroll processing, benefits administration, HR solutions and risk management. It has extensive services for workers’ compensation, employee onboarding, government compliance and workforce optimization. Additionally, it can help you analyze and overhaul various business processes to make your company more efficient and reduce compliance risks.

Editor’s Score: 91/100

Insperity provides one of the widest service selections of any PEO we reviewed without sacrificing customer support. It offers a dedicated support team for your company, including an HR manager, client liaison, HR specialist, payroll specialist, performance specialist, benefits specialist, recruiting specialist and safety consultant.

Since Insperity is an ESAC-, IRS- and BBB-accredited PEO, you can rest assured that you are partnering with a reputable platform. Many of the PEOs we reviewed have these accreditations, but this shouldn’t devalue their importance. These accreditations are reviewed regularly to ensure the company still provides exemplary service. Insperity is one of the few companies we reviewed that has earned accreditation from all three major PEO-accrediting agencies, which evaluate PEOs on a rigorous set of guidelines.

Read Insperity PEO Services Review

Justworks: PEO with the Best Customer Service

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Justworks offers 24/7 support through phone, email and live chat.
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Customers with over 15 employees have access to a dedicated account manager for prompt, personalized care.
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Justworks is designed to serve companies with 100 employees, so they may not be the best option for large companies looking for a PEO.
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Justworks is a comprehensive PEO that gives small and midsize businesses access to corporate-level benefits, automated payroll services, compliance resources and HR tools in one easy-to-use platform. Its customers have access to affordable rates on medical, dental and vision insurance, as well as employee retirement plans. Customers can reach Justworks’ expert customer service members 24/7 by phone, email, chat, Slack or SMS. You will have access to HR experts who can offer guidance and advice on employer responsibilities. It is our choice for the PEO provider with the best customer service.

Editor’s Score: 96/100

Justworks recently updated its live chat tool so you can enter your topic or question in the live chat and receive an immediate response with relevant content. This is ideal for users who want a platform capable of providing quick answers, so they won’t need to search on a website or wait to speak to a representative.

Justworks’ intuitive cloud-based platform stood out among the PEO providers we reviewed. This platform can easily scale across a wide range of devices. It is also easy to learn as you incorporate Justworks into your administrative workflow, which means minimal disruption to your operations during the transition. The company is upfront about its pricing and costs, so you can easily compare it to other PEO options as you search for the right fit for your business. Overall, Justworks provides an exceptional customer experience to businesses.

Read Justworks Review

ADP TotalSource: Best PEO for Expert Advice

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Customers have access to a team of HR experts in different areas of HR for comprehensive support.
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ADP offers robust benefits offerings from top benefits providers.
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The company does not list pricing on their website, so you will need to contact sales for a custom quote.
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ADP provides customers with a team of HR experts who can offer personalized support in the areas of benefits administration, recruiting, payroll, compliance, and workplace safety. These experts can help you handle questions as they arise. The standout feature of this company is the extensive personalized HR support offerings from a team of experts. In addition to dedicated expert support, they can also help you develop necessary HR practices and written employment policies so your company can manage HR more effectively, efficiently, and compliantly. For this reason, ADP TotalSource is our top choice for PEOs offering personalized support.

Editor’s Score: 91/100

ADP provides customers with a team of HR experts who can offer personalized support in the areas of benefits administration, recruiting, payroll, compliance, and workplace safety. This is different from standard customer support. These experts are assigned to help you with specific areas of HR for your company. They work with you on an ongoing basis and provide guidance for your company’s unique circumstances, rather than generic advice. Regular customer support is still there to help with billing, tech support and other non-HR-related questions.

You’ll need at least five employees to qualify for its services, but as long as that’s the case, ADP TotalSource can help your small business with risk management, benefits administration, payroll and HR outsourcing. Its features and PEO services are top-notch. ADP TotalSource is a flexible service that can work with businesses of any size, and it provides one of the most extensive PEO services of any company we reviewed. The platform is accredited by the ESAC, IRS, and BBB, putting it among the top players in the PEO industry.

Read ADP Totalsource Review

Rippling PEO: Best PEO for Growing Businesses

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Rippling is a scalable platform that can meet the needs of small businesses with employees in various cities and states.
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If your business outgrows the PEO model, you can switch PEO services off and just use Rippling's tech platform.
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Rippling does not have ESAC or IRS accreditation.
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In the age of remote work, small businesses need a PEO that can meet a growing list of demands. For decentralized companies with employees in multiple states, this can be a challenge. Many PEOs only provide administrative support to companies with all their employees in one location, and others are only licensed in certain states, whereas Rippling can help businesses across multiple states with features like remote laptop management and local tax registration. With a simple platform, Rippling’s software is also easy to learn and use. In addition to its excellent scalability, Rippling provides exemplary PEO services, earning our pick as the best scalable PEO for small businesses.

Editor’s Score: 95/100

While many PEOs have intuitive tech platforms, Rippling excels at helping companies that operate in multiple locations. As small businesses continue to expand across a wide range of cities, states, and even countries, it’s important to partner with a PEO that can directly support your needs on a national or global level. For example, keeping track of company-owned devices across various locations can be tricky, but with Rippling’s new computer inventory management offering, the service can manage your devices as needed (e.g., assigning, setting up, wiping and storing devices).

This company also provides benefits administration, 401(k) retirement plans, commuter tax benefits, pay-as-you-go workers’ compensation programs, and extensive risk management services such as mandatory posters and other workplace safety features. It can research and match state minimum wage levels, which may vary by location – which makes it especially valuable for multistate businesses. If you intend on expanding overseas, Rippling can continue to support you through its global payroll solution. This service allows businesses to adhere to various pay laws and accurately pay employees in their local currency.

Lastly, Rippling’s no-code integration capabilities are especially convenient for scaling businesses. As you implement more third-party applications, you’ll be able to integrate them with Rippling and create custom triggers between platforms. Rippling even offers custom reporting that can seamlessly pull data from other third-party applications and combine it with Rippling data. This is great for businesses that need to monitor specific datasets while their organization grows.

Read Rippling PEO Review

Papaya Global: Best PEO for International Employers

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Papaya Global can provide onboarding, payroll and benefits support in 160+ countries.
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Business owners can access a wealth of payroll and HR data insights and visualizations.
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Papaya Global is more expensive than the domestic PEOs we reviewed.
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Papaya Global is an international PEO that offers full-fledged PEO services to small and midsize businesses. Its payroll and HR outsourcing features are already exemplary, but it goes above and beyond by providing these services internationally. Because of Papaya Global’s flexible service across multiple countries, it earns our pick as the best PEO for international businesses.

Editor’s Score: 92/100

If you have employees in various countries, they can all collect paychecks in their respective currencies through Papaya. Since the company is partnered with Mesh Payments, you can offer your global employees a seamless expense management process as well, including employee expense policies and limits, automatic receipt collections, and real-time payment reports. This company also provides talent acquisition and employee onboarding services, so you can easily find workers from all over the world to join your growing team.

Very few of the companies we reviewed offer international services. While many small businesses operate only at the local level, businesses with employees in multiple countries also need PEO support, especially in HR management and payroll processing. To fill this need, Papaya can support businesses in over 140 countries. Its services include fast onboarding options, cross-border payroll processing, and real-time reporting and analytics. Papaya’s payroll process is further streamlined through its integration with J.P. Morgan’s payment processing products. International payments can be delivered to any region your global workforce is in. Papaya takes the features of the best PEOs and provides them to companies abroad, making it a great option for any company looking to do business in other countries.

Read Papaya Global Review

What Is a Professional Employer Organization?

A professional employer organization, or PEO, is an HR service that operates through a co-employment model, which means your employees are on the PEO’s books but still fall under your management. PEOs manage functions like payroll, HR administration, employee benefits, risk management and regulatory compliance, workers’ compensation, and employee training and development for their client businesses. When you choose a PEO, make sure it can perform all of the HR functions you need and can scale with your business as it grows.

It is important to find a trustworthy and certified PEO, since the service will be deeply integrated with your company. PEOs can earn certain certifications and accreditations to demonstrate that they abide by best practices, meet strict financial guidelines, and comply with all employment laws and regulations. The ESAC, IRS and BBB all have accreditation programs for qualifying PEOs.

PEO Costs

PEOs use two main pricing structures for small businesses: per-employee fees and percentages of total monthly payroll. These costs range from $40 to $160 per person, or from 3% to 12% of your monthly payroll, depending on the company and plan you choose.

You also need to consider the contract lengths. Some PEOs offer short-term contracts, while others lock you into multiyear deals. Here are some other important factors that affect the cost of your PEO service.

Plan Structure

Find the plan with the services that fit your business’s needs. For instance, some plans include employee onboarding, workers’ compensation support, payroll processing, and risk and compliance management. PEOs can offer one-size-fits-all solutions or tailored solutions based either on your industry or your company’s size.

Additional Fees

Throughout the research and sign-up process, be on the lookout for any additional fees you’ll have to pay. Many PEOs don’t mention additional fees until it’s time to sign the paperwork. Before you sign up, request a detailed breakdown of all pricing and fees in writing, and review line by line where your money will go. If a PEO service is not willing to provide this information, consider it a red flag.

TipTip: PEOs provide not only payroll processing and HR support but also benefits administration. Keep in mind that a PEO service’s fees do not include the actual cost of the benefits you provide your employees. The cost of benefits administration is usually added to your monthly or yearly fee.

Employee Minimums

Some PEOs require you to have a certain number of employees in order to use their services. This minimum is usually five employees. For many businesses, this is a nonissue, but if you run a very small or new company, your options for PEO support will be limited. Other PEOs may require a minimum monthly salary if your business reaches a certain employee threshold.

PEO Features

As your business expands and you need to hire more workers, it’s critical to develop recruiting and onboarding programs, and to offer benefits such as healthcare or retirement plans. PEOs relieve the stress and legal paperwork burden of hiring and onboarding these new employees and can help employers offer benefits and manage payroll and other critical functions. They can also help your business comply with federal and state regulations throughout your HR processes.

Did you know?Did you know?: Many PEO companies have a five-employee minimum for services. While this may not work for very small businesses, this common requirement marks the point where small businesses typically start to need PEO support.

HR Administration

The primary function of a PEO is to take care of human resources so that business owners can focus on other duties. PEOs can provide as much or as little HR assistance as you need. They can manage HR tasks such as employee handbook and policy creation, employee onboarding and termination, unemployment assistance, and compliance reporting. Their features are typically accessible through intuitive online platforms and mobile-friendly applications. PEO platforms make it easy to access all of your HR functions in one place.

Payroll Processing

One major function of most PEOs is payroll processing. Since your employees are on the PEO’s books, the PEO tracks their time and attendance, including hours worked, paid time off, sick time and vacation days. The PEO not only tracks employee time and attendance but also helps to prepare and issue their paychecks. It can also process employee liens and garnishments if necessary.

Many PEOs also manage and report your quarterly and year-end state and federal deposits and filings. A PEO taking care of your payroll can save you a lot of time and money. A reputable PEO will always pay your employees accurately and on time, which could improve your company culture if payroll has been hard to manage in-house.

Risk and Compliance

PEOs are usually well versed in the laws and regulations that your company has to follow, so they can help you manage risk and legal compliance for your business. This service is especially beneficial if you operate in multiple states or regions with varying employment laws. PEOs can help your business comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA). In some cases, they can conduct employee accident investigations and perform onsite safety inspections and job hazard analysis.

Employee Benefits

Since PEOs have so many employees on their books, they have access to affordable, desirable employee benefits, including medical, dental, vision and life insurance. Some even offer health savings accounts, flexible spending accounts and health reimbursement arrangements. They often provide long- and short-term disability insurance, employee assistance programs, and retirement options like 401(k) plans. Many PEOs offer a wide selection of fringe benefits too, such as commuter reimbursement programs and parking discounts.

TipTip: Some PEOs also help educate your employees about their benefits, whether that’s deciding between an HSA vs. FSA, allocating retirement funds, or choosing healthcare benefits.

Workplace Training and Employee Development

Most PEOs offer standard workplace training on topics like sexual harassment and discrimination. Many of them provide additional onsite and virtual training on leadership, communication, workplace technology, recruitment, disciplinary actions and social media. Some even offer industry-specific training. This access to employee training and development materials can help your team grow and advance their skills. PEOs that offer training and development often have an online platform to track and report employee course results.

Choosing a PEO

Finding a PEO is not as difficult as you may think. The first step of any business purchase decision is to assess your business’s needs so you can find companies that can help you solve those problems. Once you compare your top choices’ pricing, features and contracts, you should be able to decide which one is best for your business.

We interviewed some small business owners and managers to better understand what the decision process is like for SMBs interested in partnering with a PEO. While your buying decisions will be unique to your company, here are a few basic steps to find the right PEO for your company.

1. Review the technology.

When Max Prokell, founder of Venta Marketing, was choosing a PEO for his marketing team of 15 employees, he looked for one with a seamless user experience and dedicated HR support.

“The first sign of a great PEO comes down to their technology and the implementation of a great user experience,” he said. “Any PEO could have the most advanced platform on the market, but if my employees hate the interface, then the technology loses its value. We selected [TriNet] because I knew that my employees would appreciate their technology and a mobile-first approach to HR services.”

2. Research user experience.

Read customer reviews to find out more about the experience of current customers. This is an important step because PEOs are much more than a software service – they are your co-employer. You can demo the software, but to get a clear picture of whether they’ll be a good partner for your business and employees, you’ll want to dive into customer reviews.

Aaron Bailey, president of DZone and former COO of business.com, placed high importance on user experience and customer support. When he had to find a PEO for his team of 80 employees, he chose Insperity.

Insperity’s “user experience was better than its competitors’, the training and development options were very good, and their mobile app was very easy to use and had frequent improvements to it,” Bailey said.

3. Consider your business’s industry.

Since every small business is unique, a PEO should be able to customize its HR features to fit your needs. Some PEOs specialize in certain industries or business sizes, which can be beneficial for companies that don’t want a standard one-size-fits-all PEO approach.

Anh Trinh, founder and CEO of media startup GeekWithLaptop, said he selected Oasis for his team of eight employees because it is a reliable PEO that specializes in small businesses and startups. Trinh’s parting advice to his fellow small business owners is to identify the PEO features your business needs first and choose a PEO specializing in those areas.

4. Review accreditations and narrow down your options.

Check with the major accreditation agencies when you’re considering PEOs. While PEO companies do not need accreditation to provide good service, the credential is a good way to help you narrow down your options if you have several contenders. Accreditation will verify some major aspects of the PEO’s overall service offering.

A few of our best picks aren’t accredited, but still provide great service, so your decision depends on what you value as a business owner.

5. Choose your PEO.

Once you’re armed with all the information on your candidates, choose the PEO that best meets your company’s needs. After you determine the plan and features your company will best benefit from, discuss any additional costs or fees with your chosen PEO’s sales representatives before you commit.

Advantages of PEOs

Access to better benefits

One significant benefit is that you can offer affordable health insurance benefits to your employees that you might not be able to access otherwise. Most PEOs technically have thousands of employees, so they can negotiate discounted rates. Similarly, PEOs can offer your employees disability and life insurance plans, retirement plans, transportation reimbursement, and other fringe benefits they may want. Competitive benefits like these make you more desirable as an employer so you can attract and retain top talent.

Offloading Administrative Tasks

Another appealing quality of PEOs is their reputable administrative services, which are particularly helpful for small business owners who already wear many hats and don’t have time for all the necessary paperwork. Since PEOs are experienced in managing human resources and administrative tasks, you can focus on other aspects of your business and rest assured that your employees are properly managed and supported.

Compliance support

Navigating business laws, regulations and other compliance issues requires expertise that many business owners, particularly new start-up founders do not possess. A small compliance mistake can have big repercussions. Partnering with a PEO allows businesses to work with compliance experts who stay up-to-date on all of the changing employment and payroll laws and requirements to avoid any costly mishaps.

PEO FAQs

What type of business needs a PEO?

If you need help with HR functions, a PEO could be a great option for your business. Any small business in nearly any industry can partner with a PEO, and some providers even offer industry-specific solutions. However, most PEOs require you to have at least five employees. Large businesses can use PEOs as well, though they tend to have internal HR departments, which render most of a PEO’s services unnecessary.

What features do the best PEO services have in common?

The best PEO service providers manage and maintain as many or as few HR functions as you need, including HR administration, payroll processing, workers’ compensation, employee benefits management, risk and compliance management, or training and development.

PEOs are experts in legal compliance for your state and industry, so they can reduce your company’s risk of lawsuits. Many PEOs provide online portals that allow employers and employees to access their benefits and HR self-service easily, but the best companies also offer mobile apps and one-on-one customer service. The best PEOs also tend to be accredited by the ESAC, IRS, and BBB.

What are the disadvantages of using a PEO?

There are a few potential downsides to consider before you employ a PEO service. For example, since a PEO acts as a co-employer over your staff, it could be an outside influence on your company culture. Some business owners want to maintain control over their organization’s culture without the involvement of a co-employer.

Another potential negative is a perceived lack of security. When a PEO manages your payroll and taxes, it has access to sensitive company information and employees’ personal data. This makes some employers or their staff uneasy about security. The best PEOs implement strict security measures, so it is important to partner with a reputable, accredited company.

How does a PEO and an ASO differ?

The biggest difference between PEOs and administrative services organizations (ASOs) is that PEOs operate under a co-employment relationship and ASOs do not. ASOs tend to be more flexible than PEOs as well; a business can partner with an ASO to receive assistance with as few or as many HR services as they need, whereas PEOs typically provide bundled HR services.

Since ASOs do not operate under a co-employment model, they don’t provide employee benefits or workers’ compensation coverage. However, they can put you in touch with brokers for those services.

How long does the PEO implementation process take?

Implementing a PEO service in your business takes three to six weeks, with an average transition time of four weeks (which starts at the beginning of your payroll cycle). During the implementation process, the PEO works with your company to ensure it has all the proper employment details for each team member.

How does a PEO help with employee recruiting?

PEOs can help small businesses manage a variety of HR functions, including recruitment. Instead of wading through stacks of job applications, you can lean on your PEO throughout the process. PEOs employ knowledgeable HR professionals with the necessary experience and resources to find and recruit top talent for your company.

They also understand the current employment and labor laws that impact recruitment and hiring, so you can rest easy knowing that your business will maintain legal compliance throughout the process. Additionally, since you’ll gain access to great employee benefits with PEOs, you can promote comprehensive benefits packages to attract top talent.

What to Expect in 2023

The PEO industry is expected to grow exponentially over the next five years, which is a good indicator that PEOs are evolving their services to meet the ever-changing needs of employers and employees. In 2023, you can expect to see PEO tools that allow employees to access self-service functionalities and enhanced employee benefits to becoming more permanent offerings. Employers can also look forward to increased assistance with administering legal compliance and preventing employee burnout.

Many employees are permanently working in remote and hybrid work environments, which means they need access to their HR services outside the traditional office space. Look for PEOs to accommodate this by offering cloud-based platforms that can be accessed from any location. Employees like the freedom to access and modify their HR resources themselves, so you can expect to see a rise in self-service PEO technology that allows users to modify their benefits, track hours and request time off remotely.

Benefits like flexible scheduling, affordable health insurance, health and wellness plans, and professional development opportunities have become a top priority for many employees, so we expect more PEOs to increase offerings in these areas. Offering these employee benefits can put employers at an excellent advantage for recruiting and retaining top talent. 

The legal expectations for employers have evolved over the past year, and PEOs must remain up to date on all employment and labor laws, such as those concerning healthcare, sick leave, workers’ compensation, COVID-19 testing, and vaccinations. PEOs will need to work closely with the small businesses they serve to maintain safe and secure workplaces.

Our Methodology

To determine the PEO services we think are best for small businesses, we spent dozens of hours researching the top companies. Here is an explanation of our selection process.

locating the best services

Locating the Best Services

To determine the best PEOs for 2023, we started with 60 companies. We found these companies by considering the top industry players, searching the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations’ website and conducting an extensive internet search. Some of the PEO services on our initial list had contacted us, asking to be considered for our PEO review.

choosing the best service

Choosing the Best Services

We whittled this initial list of 60 down to roughly 30 companies. We reviewed their service offerings, pored over company websites, determined whether they were national PEOs, and verified whether they were accredited by the IRS and the Employer Services Assurance Corporation. From this list, 10 stood out as potential best picks: ADP TotalSource, Engage PEO, G&A Partners, Insperity, Justworks, Oasis, Paychex, Tandem HR, TriNet and XcelHR.

researching each service

Researching Each Service

We took a deep dive into the 10 remaining companies with an in-depth look at their available services, contract structure, pricing, online and mobile access, personalized customer experience, and any standout features. We posed as small business owners, interacting with the PEOs by email, live chat, and phone to determine what the sales experience was like and grade their overall customer service.

analyzing each service

Analyzing Each Service

Of these 10 companies, four would be our best picks for startups, small businesses, customer service and businesses in specialized industries. Oasis, Insperity, ADP TotalSource and TriNet all withstood our rounds of testing and earned best-pick status. We analyzed each for the following features and services: payroll services, benefit options, HR guidance and support, pricing structure, online and mobile employee access, customer service, accreditation, number of states served, training resources, company size and standout features.

Kaylyn McKenna
Kaylyn McKenna
Business News Daily Contributing Writer
Kaylyn McKenna is a freelance writer specializing in business, tech, and leadership. She received her MA in Industrial-Organizational Psychology from Touro University, and enjoys using her industrial psychology background to share management, HR, and organizational effectiveness tips with small business owners. She has covered topics related to business law, compliance, employee retention, company culture, and management strategies.
Image Credit: fizkes / Getty Images
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