A professional employer organization (PEO) can support small businesses by providing third-party HR support in the form of benefits, payroll, compliance and onboarding. A PEO service can help eliminate heavy administrative work for small business owners while ensuring key HR functions are managed efficiently and accurately. PEOs also offer reporting and analytics to help small businesses stay in compliance with local and federal laws and regulations.
Our TriNet review and ADP review cover two of the leading PEOs on the market. Each offers its own set of benefits, so we compared our findings to evaluate these PEO services side by side and help you choose which one is best for you.
According to the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO), there are 487 PEOs in the United States, and their clients represent 15.3 percent of all employers with 10 to 99 employees.
Custom pricing per employee
Custom pricing based on selected services and add-ons
HR administration, employee benefits, payroll and taxes, risk and compliance, recruiting, training, and development
Benefits, onboarding, payroll processing, compliance, reporting and analytics
Phone, email, live chat, industry specialists and HR experts
Phone, email and HR experts
Yes, but limited
Yes, more than 300
TriNet is a leading PEO for small to midsize businesses. It is one of the only PEOs to offer industry-specific tools and support. Small business owners in industries with extensive regulations, such as finance or healthcare, will benefit from having a knowledgeable industry professional to support their team. TriNet professionals can guide employers through regulation changes and industry-specific challenges. TriNet offers HR administration, employee benefits, payroll and taxes, risk and regulatory compliance, recruiting, and training and development services.
TriNet’s easy-to-access mobile app ensures that both employers and employees can access important information on the go. TriNet makes it easy for employees to update or adjust benefit selections as needed. Source: TriNet
We believe TriNet is a great choice for small businesses that need more targeted industry support. Its services will be particularly beneficial to those in highly regulated industries. TriNet’s solutions are sold together at one per-employee price rather than as separate add-ons. Companies in search of transparent pricing will find this cost structure helpful. TriNet’s simple self-service platform can reduce administrative tasks for companies who are looking to save time and resources. Smaller businesses that need access to better benefits options will appreciate TriNet’s premium-level options from both local and regional carriers.
ADP offers a team of dedicated subject matter experts that provide hands-on support. These experts have strong backgrounds in payroll, compliance and other key HR functions. Their expertise ensures small business owners have more time to run and grow their business. ADP provides many standard PEO services but is primarily known for its benefits offerings, which include comprehensive options for small business owners. The ADP platform makes it easy for employees to seamlessly register for benefits using self-service. ADP services also include onboarding, payroll processing, compliance, and reporting and analytics. You can take a self-guided tour of the ADP platform online.
ADP’s benefits platform is intuitive and simple. The interface makes it easy for employees to review their current selections, make necessary changes, or reach out to advisors when additional support is needed. Source: ADP
Since ADP offers various price points based on customer needs, it’s a good option for growing small to midsize businesses that know where they need more HR support. Those same growing businesses will benefit from ADP’s access to high-level comprehensive benefits options. Employers who need personalized, hands-on support in key HR areas should consider ADP because of the access it offers to experienced HR professionals in each area.
TriNet’s pricing is based on the number of employees. The biggest benefit of TriNet’s pricing is its flexibility and transparency. As your company grows, there will be little room for surprises. This is a great benefit for companies that need to monitor finances during a growth phase. Customized PEO packages are also available.
ADP has a five-employee minimum. Unlike TriNet, the pricing is less transparent. Interested employers should contact ADP to learn more about its pricing plans and packages. If you choose to include any add-on services, the price will go up. You’ll want to know what the base price is, as well as the cost of any add-on services so you can determine what is best for your company and current budget.
Ask your ADP contact for a pricing breakdown so you have a clear understanding of your base price plus the cost of any additional add-ons. This will help you determine the ROI on any add-ons in case you wish to make changes in the future.
When it comes to pricing, we appreciate TriNet’s transparency and flexibility. It’s important for small businesses to select a solution they can grow into while maintaining financial and operational stability. TriNet allows for this because all its features are bundled into one solution. However, if you don’t need all the features offered in the TriNet bundle, you may be able to save money with ADP by only selecting the features you really need.
TriNet’s professional growth tools make it easy to give and receive feedback, track goals, and view performance progress via the online platform. Source: TriNet
ADP’s payroll platform provides an easy way for managers and employees to navigate important tasks, including direct deposit, W-2 documentation and tax withholdings. Source: ADP
TriNet and ADP both offer core HR functions, but we appreciate ADP’s experience in the benefits and payroll space. The company offers more detailed reporting and analytics and can provide additional resources and tools related to onboarding.
TriNet’s industry-specific HR experts and consultants are available via multiple channels. Customers can choose to receive support via webchat, email and phone, in addition to contacting the company’s designated team of consultants. Helpful FAQ pages and other online resources are also available for basic support.
TriNet’s live chat support is available 24/7, while phone support is available Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to midnight ET. The company is closed on select holidays. We found it easy to access support through all of these channels.
ADP offers basic customer support via live and automated phone options, and email. Like TriNet, ADP has a robust FAQ page that addresses more common concerns. A live customer service agent can be reached via phone Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. ET. In addition, employers have access to their own designated HR consultant.
Both companies offer excellent and robust customer service options. However, if you’re looking for around-the-clock support, we recommend TriNet. You may find the company’s live 24/7 chat is helpful when critical issues arise outside of standard services hours. TriNet also offers longer customer service hours via phone. What really stands out about TriNet is that support includes industry-specific experts.
TriNet offers integrations with popular software and systems, including Oracle NetSuite, Xero and Lattice. TriNet’s integration center makes the process very easy. These integrations enable TriNet customers to share data efficiently and provide more accurate data and tracking for critical functions.
ADP integrates with more than 300 business software applications and systems, including Slack, Wave, Workday and Sage. The software can also create a custom API or integration if the systems you use are not included in its current list of partner integrations. ADP’s add-ons enable customers to continue using their preferred tools, while still receiving seamless HR support through ADP’s own offerings and experts.
If your business uses several other tools and systems and it’s important that your PEO integrates with all of them, ADP is the best choice. With more than 300 integrations to choose from, it’s unlikely you’ll have trouble finding your software or system of choice. But if you do, ADP can provide a custom API or integration system to ensure all of your critical tools can work together efficiently and effectively.
TriNet’s services are offered as a bundle, meaning you receive all its PEO has to offer at one price based on the number of employees you have. TriNet’s solutions are based on your industry, but every plan includes access to previously mentioned features. Payroll features, risk mitigation, benefits, and the HR and technology platform will all help small business owners scale efficiently.
ADP does not have a single price point that includes a bundle of service offerings. Instead, customers are able to select add-ons as needed. ADP’s third-party integration tools, organizational development consultations, talent acquisition tools, and resume search services are just a few of ADPs optional add-ons.
ADP offers several add-on services, while TriNet’s packages represent more standard bundles. If you want the opportunity to pick and choose what HR functions you want and just how much support you need for those functions, ADP is likely the best choice. However, TriNet’s simplicity and lack of add-on options may appeal to smaller businesses that are more concerned about receiving basic support.
TriNet and ADP are both excellent PEO options, but it’s your decision as to which organization best meets your small business needs.
When to Choose TriNet:
When to Choose ADP:
Each small business has its own needs, and each PEO has its own advantages and disadvantages. Take time to consider your available resources, current needs and future goals so you can select the best PEO for your company.
Yes, TriNet has been a Certified Professional Employer Organization since 2018. To receive certification, a company is required to satisfy multiple IRS compliance standards. Employers can rest assured that TriNet is operating in compliance with operational, financial and bonding requirements.
Some of TriNet’s customers include Moleskine America, RoboKind, and Surgical Solutions. TriNet’s website offers several customer stories to help you learn more about how companies of different industries and sizes have used its services.
These are the primary industries TriNet serves:
TriNet services are not limited to these industries.
Yes, ADP was one of the first PEOs in the United States to become certified in 2017. Like TriNet, ADP has met the rigorous standards necessary to receive this recognition.
ADP enables small businesses to receive expert HR support in a variety of functions with a single vendor. For small businesses that are growing quickly, ADP offers a strong history of expertise in the HR space.
When customers hire ADP as their PEO, ADP helps negotiate and administer benefits on their behalf. The company works with several top name brands to provide customers with the benefit offerings that best suit their needs. Some of ADPs benefits vendors include Aflac, Cigna and Aetna. You can learn more about the many carriers ADP partners with on the ADP website.