Professional employer organizations (PEOs) provide small businesses with payroll processing, benefits administration, HR training and support, and workplace insurance coverage. Through the co-employment model, these companies can help small businesses grow by taking administrative tasks off small business owners’ plates. The PEO world can be complex, so we analyzed the major players and picked out those that showcased the most comprehensive services for small businesses. You can find our best picks below and a vendor list of other reputable companies in 2019. If you want to read reviews of companies that we didn't choose as our best picks, you can visit our sister site Business.com to read more about the PEO model and the companies that may be a good fit for your business.
Want to take a step back and learn more about the PEO model? Check out our guide to choosing PEOs and learn more about what to ask companies during your search. Then come back here to see our best picks.
Very Small Businesses
Editor's note: Interested in a PEO service? Fill out the questionnaire below to have our vendor partners provide you with information for free.
Accreditation: ESAC and IRS
ADP TotalSource has partnered with thousands of businesses and currently has half a million employees under its umbrella. It's a large company with a full PEO offering. Regardless of your business's size, you'll have no problem finding top-of-the-line services in risk management, benefits administration, payroll processing and HR outsourcing. TotalSource is accredited by the IRS and Employer Services Assurance Corporation, putting it among the top players in the PEO industry. Our interactions with ADP's sales team members in our research was superb – they helped us learn more about PEOs and even provided us with a list of key questions to ask other companies in our search.
Accreditation: ESAC and IRS
Insperity provides small businesses with personalized coverage and comprehensive service options. Businesses that partner with Insperity have access to over 3,000 training resources as well as payroll processing, benefits administration, HR solutions and risk management. Insperity provides one of the most robust service selections of any company we reviewed without sacrificing personalized coverage.
We interacted with Insperity over email and the phone, posing as a small business owner searching for a PEO service. Insperity sales representatives were incredibly nice, providing us with the proper information and learning more about our business in a genuine way.
TriNet is an ideal service for very small businesses because of its flexibility – businesses don't have to have a minimum number of employees to qualify and can cancel anytime by providing a 30-day notice, as there is no long-term contract. This flexibility, combined with TriNet's many high-quality services, allows very small businesses to grow with TriNet's services.
TriNet has partnered with over 15,000 companies, but its support remains highly personalized. It's one of the few companies that provides industry-specific customer service teams. Most PEOs we analyzed provide a team of experts to answer your questions and facilitate your services: TriNet not only offers these experts, but segments them into different industries. This means you'll be getting advice from an expert who is not only knowledgeable in the general service area (such as HR, benefits or compliance), but who also has expertise in your specific industry.
Accreditation: ESAC and IRS
Oasis Outsourcing has a large PEO offering, with services in risk management, payroll processing, benefits administration and HR solutions. It's an option startups should seriously consider because of the contract and pricing structure. While businesses are on the hook for a yearlong contract at a minimum, they have the option to cancel their service within the first 90 days and receive a full refund. This refund policy sets Oasis apart from competitors. While other companies we looked at offer cancellation options, few also offer a refund. Oasis also gives you the opportunity to tailor its service directly to your business.
Accreditation: ESAC and IRS
Paychex provides scalable PEO services to businesses of all sizes. It can support larger companies without sacrificing the personalized aspects of the service. Businesses that partner with Paychex have access to advanced training resources as well as payroll processing, benefits administration, risk management consulting and other HR solutions.
What to Expect in 2019
Professional employer organizations are growing at a rapid rate. With hundreds of thousands of businesses being represented by PEOs and millions of employees on similar payroll plans, it’s no wonder these organizations are able to negotiate favorable benefits offerings for their partners. As more businesses discover the convenience of working with a PEO, the industry will continue to grow. The industry has already grown by almost 10 percent from 2008 to 2017. The industry will continue to expand, and even more small businesses will benefit from working with these types of organizations.
To determine the PEO services we think are best for small businesses in 2019, we spent dozens of hours researching the top companies. Here is an explanation of our selection process.
Locating the Best Services
Our process involves putting ourselves in the mindset of a small business owner and gathering data that would be readily available to each such individual. We perform all our research by visiting company websites, making calls to customer service and reading online reviews from customers.
To determine our best PEOs for 2019, we started with 60 companies. We found these companies by analyzing industry trends, reading other review websites, considering top industry players, communicating with companies that asked for consideration and searching the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations website. The companies in the vendors list below are the most reputable companies of the 60 we considered.
Choosing the Best Services
We whittled this initial list of 67 down to around 32 companies. We reviewed service offerings, used company websites, determined whether a company was a national PEO and considered third-party accreditation.
From this list, 13 stood out as potential best picks: ADP TotalSource, Best Employment Solutions Team, Engage PEO, Insperity, Justworks, Oasis Outsourcing, Paychex, TriNet, Genesis HR, Questco, XcelHR, HROi and G&A Partners. (See the full list of PEO services and their websites below.)
Researching Each Service
We took a deep dive into these 13 companies by taking an in-depth look at their available services, contract structure, pricing agreements, online and mobile access, personalized customer experience and any standout features. We also posed as small business owners, interacting with companies via email, live chat, and phone to determine what the sales experience was like and grade their overall customer service.
Analyzing Each Service
Of these 13 companies, we determined five that would be our best picks for customer service, small businesses, midsize businesses, startups and very small businesses. ADP TotalSource, Insperity, Oasis Outsourcing, Paychex 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.
Full List of PEO Services
Here's a full list of PEOs and a summary of what each company claims to offer. This alphabetical list also includes our best picks.
Abel – Founded in 1992, Abel is a family-owned and -operated PEO that provides small and midsize firms with human resources management services. Services include HR compliance and administration, workers' compensation, training, employee benefits management, and payroll. abelhr.com
AccessPoint – AccessPoint provides a wide range of human resources services to hundreds of companies across all industries. It enables businesses to outsource the management of human resources, employee benefits, payroll and workers' compensation. accesspointhr.com
*ADP TotalSource – ADP TotalSource, our best pick for customer service, is a global provider of business outsourcing services, including payroll, human resources, time and attendance, and benefits administration. TotalSource handles tax filing, payroll, employee benefits, compliance and workers' compensation. In addition, it provides HR advice and expertise. Its customers include small and midsize businesses. Read our full review here. adp.com
Ahead Human Resources – Ahead Human Resources specializes in working with small and midsize companies. The company handles many HR-related tasks, including 125 plans; federal, state and local tax filings; health, dental, vision and life insurance; 401(k) administration; and new-hire reporting. aheadhr.com
Alcott HR – Alcott HR provides comprehensive HR outsourcing programs to small and midsize businesses. Services include regulatory compliance and risk management, payroll and payroll taxes administration, human resources administration, employee benefits program design and administration, and training and development. alcotthr.com
Acadia HR – Acadia HR works with small and midsize companies throughout the United States. It offers payroll, PEO and human resources outsourcing services. The company's PEO package includes payroll, payroll tax compliance, HR management services, workers' compensation, state unemployment and employee benefits. acadiahr.com
ARCH Resources Group – ARCH Resources Group is a PEO that manages payroll, employee benefits, human resources and workers' compensation. In addition, the company offers financial and retirement services, recruiting services, background check verification, and employee self-service options. archresourcesgroup.com
ARC Consultants – ARC is a PEO consulting firm, not an individual PEO. This company can help you find the right PEO service at the best cost for your business. arcpeo.com
Best Employment Solutions Team (BEST) – BEST is a Michigan-based PEO that provides businesses nationwide with HR management, payroll services, labor law advice, compliance monitoring for federal and state labor laws, and benefits packages. The company serves many business sizes, from sole proprietors (even as a partner) to a large organization's HR department. bestpeo.com
CoAdvantage – CoAdvantage is a PEO that offers small and midsize businesses a comprehensive package of outsourced HR services. The company integrates payroll and tax processing, employee benefits plan administration, risk management, government compliance, and other HR services into a single vendor solution. CoAdvantage serves clients in all 50 states. coadvantage.com
Emplicity – Emplicity offers full-service PEO support or individual PEO and administrative services, such as customized employee benefits, workers' compensation, payroll administration, employee leasing and HR consulting. emplicity.com
Employee Management Services – Employee Management Services was founded in 1994 and provides professional HR solutions to more than 160 companies and their 5,500 employees. It focuses on companies in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana, but it's licensed to provide services in other states. Its PEO services include employee selection and retention, manager training and development, human resources and benefits administration, payroll, workplace safety programs, and employee benefits analysis. emshro.com
Employer Solutions Group – Employer Solutions Group provides payroll, benefits, workers' compensation, risk management, HR consulting, and all of the related administrative services to small and midsize businesses. esghr.com
Engage PEO – Engage PEO offers a comprehensive HR solution that includes workers' compensation, training, claims administration, government reporting, payroll administration and benefits administration. All of Engage's HR service professionals are also attorneys, so you can be sure you're compliant with labor laws. engagepeo.com
Extensis Group – Extensis Group offers HR management, payroll and tax services, healthcare benefits, risk management and compliance, training and development programs, recruiting services, and other services for small and midsize businesses. extensisgroup.com
FrankCrum – FrankCrum has been providing outsourced human resources, payroll, employee benefits, risk management and workers' compensation since 1981. As a PEO, FrankCrum helps businesses offer and administer employee benefits, including health and dental coverage and 401(k) plans. The company's online HR information system allows employees and employers to access and manage information anytime from computers or mobile devices at work or home. frankcrum.com
GenesisHR Solutions – GenesisHR Solutions is a national company that provides PEO services to small and midsize businesses. Businesses have access to a standard suite of services, including benefits administration, payroll processing, risk management and HR outsourcing. genesishrsolutions.com
Globalization Partners – Globalization Partners is a good PEO choice if your company has employees in different countries around the world. This PEO service works in over 150 countries to take care of employees with benefits and other HR services. You don't have to worry about laws and regulations in each country, as Globalization Partners does this for you. It files your payroll and other taxes and ensures you stay compliant so that you can focus on running your business. globalization-partners.com
Group Management Services (GMS) – GMS is a PEO and third-party administrator that serves companies of all sizes nationwide. It handles payroll and tax responsibilities, HR administration, employee benefits administration and risk management services. groupmgmt.com
Impact Workforce Solutions – Impact is an ESAC-accredited PEO that delivers solutions to small and midsize businesses. Its accreditation puts it in the top 5 percent of PEOs on the market. The company has been serving small businesses for over 15 years. impactworkforcesolutions.com
*Insperity – Insperity, our best pick for small businesses overall, is a large PEO that serves more than 100,000 businesses with more than 2 million employees. Insperity offers a full-service HR package, as well as individual services, to companies with five to 5,000 employees. Read our full review here. insperity.com
Justworks – Justworks is a platform that automates payroll, benefits and compliance services in an all-in-one PEO solution. Since it groups its clients under the Justworks umbrella, businesses have access to better health insurance at lower rates, normally only available to larger companies. Benefits available through Justworks include medical, dental and vision insurance; 401(k) retirement plans; commuter benefits; HSAs and FSAs; disability insurance; workers' compensation insurance; life insurance; and accidental death and disability insurance. The PEO services also include complete payroll and paid time off management. The system includes an employee dashboard where workers can enroll in benefits, request time off and review their paystubs. justworks.com
LandrumHR – LandrumHR handles the human resources needs of more than 1,800 small and midsize businesses. Among the services it provides are job descriptions, employee handbooks, payroll and taxes, medical benefits, retirement plans, liability coverage, risk management, employee complaints, business development, staffing, recruiting, and consulting. landrumhr.com
Lever1 – Lever1 is a Kansas City, Missouri-based PEO providing a multitude of resources for small and midsize businesses across the country. The company's services include payroll, employee manuals, recruiting, management training, health benefits, 401(k) plans, life and disability insurance, and workers' compensation. lever1.com
Lyons HR – Based in Alabama, Lyons HR offers PEO services ranging from the typical HR duties to recruitment services. The company aims to offer flexible and customized services designed specifically around the needs of your business. The company has been in business for nearly 25 years. LyonsHR.com
Modern Business Associates – Modern Business Associates (MBA) offers customized payroll, tax, benefits, risk management and HR administrative services. Headquartered in St. Petersburg, Florida, MBA partners with organizations ranging from small businesses to large corporations and multiunit franchises. MBA has an internal staff of HR professionals who are licensed employment-law attorneys. They work with clients to keep them informed of relevant labor and employment requirements. mbahro.com
My PEO Agency – My PEO Agency is a management consulting firm that helps companies compare, select, and form successful HR outsourcing and PEO partnerships. Working with My PEO Agency can help you find the best PEO to assist your business with HR management, employee benefits, risk management and much more. mypeoagency.com
National PEO – Founded in 1999, National PEO offers a wide variety of services, including workers' compensation insurance, safety management and payroll. It also offers a multitude of HR outsourcing services, such as labor law compliance, employee handbooks, FLSA and Fair Pay Act compliance, training and development, corrective action and conflict resolution, group and individual benefits management, 401(k) plans, and strategic planning. nationalpeo.com
NetPEO – NetPEO is an HR brokerage firm, not an individual PEO. It connects businesses to companies that provide outsourced HR services. netpeo.com
Nextep – Nextep has been serving small and midsize businesses for over 20 years. It's accredited by both the IRS and ESAC, and it provides HR, benefits, payroll and risk compliance services. nextep.com
*Oasis Outsourcing – Our best pick for startups, Oasis Outsourcing serves 7,500 clients and 230,000 employees nationwide. Oasis provides HR services, employee benefits, payroll administration, employee hiring assistance and risk management. Read our full review here. oasisadvantage.com
OneSource Business Solutions – OneSource Business Solutions provides HR outsourcing to small and midsize companies. Its integrated service package includes payroll administration, workers' compensation, human resources, benefits administration and government compliance. onesourcepeo.com
Optimum Employer Solutions – Optimum Employer Solutions is a human resources outsourcing company that helps small and midsize businesses manage their employer obligations. The company's HR services include interviewing, background screening, electronic onboarding, employee handbook creation, performance management, corrective actions, employee separation counseling and training. Optimum's PEO also offers payroll, employee benefits and risk management. optimumhr.net
*Paychex – Paychex, our best pick for midsize businesses, serves thousands of small businesses throughout the U.S. Services include payroll processing, retirement services, insurance, and fully outsourced benefits and HR services. Read our full review here. paychex.com
Pinnacle PEO – Pinnacle manages all aspects of payroll administration, employee benefits, workers' compensation coverage and claims administration. Through its HR services, it can even assist with recruiting, selecting and hiring employees. Pinnacle currently has clients in 32 states across a variety of industries, including health services, restaurants, financial organizations and light industrial companies. pinnaclepeo.com
Premier Employer Services – Premier Employer Services is a PEO that provides customized HR services, including health benefits, talent acquisition, HR administration, payroll, payroll tax compliance, workers' compensation and unemployment insurance. premieremployerservices.com
Prestige Employee Administrators – Prestige Employee Administrators is a human resources outsourcing firm that offers strategic HR support, payroll services, employment services and benefit programs to small and midsize businesses. All employees can get assistance via toll-free call center during business hours and on the website 24 hours a day. prestigeemployee.com
Questco – Questco provides HR solutions, payroll services, employee benefits, risk management compliance and a platform for managing all your servies. It also offers great training resources for safety and compliance issues, with both onsite and online training available. questco.net
Regis HRG – This PEO service offers solutions in several categories, including human resources, payroll, benefits administration, and training and development. Corporate citizenship, regulatory compliance, workers' compensation and employee wellness programs are also available. You can choose what services you need, and each plan is tailored to your business's needs. regishrgroup.com
Resource Management Inc. – Resource Management Inc. (RMI) is a PEO that serves more than 10,000 employees in 48 states. RMI says it is strictly regulated, insured, audited and professionally licensed. In addition to payroll and benefits, RMI is involved in hiring, firing, job descriptions, performance evaluations, promotions and transfers. rminc.com
Siracusa Staffing & Leasing – Based in Florida, Siracusa Staffing & Leasing specializes in workers compensation, payroll services and tax administration for small and medium-sized businesses. siracusastaffi1.godaddysites.com
Staff One – Staff One provides strategic HR services, risk management, compliance management, employee benefits, payroll outsourcing and tax administration for a variety of small and midsize businesses across the country. This PEO serves industries including business services, manufacturing, distribution, retail, property management and healthcare. staffone.com
Synergy – Synergy delivers a wide range of PEO and human capital management services. The company provides HR services, payroll processing, benefits administration, employee training and workplace safety programs. Synergy also offers an online HR portal. mysynergy.com
Total Team Solutions – Since 1988, Total Team Solutions has provided payroll, employee benefits and HR services to small and midsize companies. The company's PEO includes payroll administration, workers' compensation, employee benefits and risk management. ttspro.com
*TriNet – TriNet, our best pick for very small businesses, provides HR outsourcing to small and midsize businesses with its bundled HR packages, cloud applications and strategic services. The PEO's bundled packages are tailored to each industry. TriNet's services include payroll, benefits, risk management and compliance. The company has more than 14,000 clients in a variety of industries. Read our full review here. trinet.com
Unique HR – Unique HR is a Texas-based PEO offering human resources, benefits and payroll services that are tailored to the needs of each business. Its self-insured workers' compensation offers businesses stable and predictable costs with no premium down payments. The company's leaders have served on the board of directors of the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations, the Employer Services Assurance Corporation, the Certification Institute of Workers' Compensation Risk Management and the Center for Fiduciary Excellence. Unique HR currently serves clients in 16 states across the country. uniquehr.com
Vensure Employer Services – Vensure Employer Services offers solutions for outsourced payroll, human resources, benefits, risk management and workers’ compensation services. The company offers services to business of varying sizes.. vensure.com
XcelHR – XcelHR offers PEO, ASO and HR outsourcing services to small and midsize businesses. Rather than offering a one-size-fits-all package, XcelHR creates unique HR packages based on the needs of each customer. Comprehensive bundle packages or a la carte options are available. The company serves businesses with workforces ranging from 10 to more than 250 employees. xcelhr.com
If you’d like your company to be added to this list and possibly considered as a best pick for our next round of reviews, please email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ready to choose a PEO solution? Here's a breakdown of our full coverage:
Editor's note: Interested in a PEO service? Fill out the questionnaire below to have our vendor partners provide you with information for free.