Professional employer organizations (PEOs) help small businesses by serving as third-party support for HR functions. The best PEO services help employers that cannot hire a full HR staff. Our TriNet review and Justworks review cover two of the leading PEOs on the market, and each company has unique benefits. We compared the findings from our reviews to evaluate these PEO services side by side and help you choose the one that’s best for you.
Custom pricing, per employee per month
Pricing starting at $49 per employee per month for more than 50 employees or $59 per employee per month for fewer than 50 employees
HR administration, employee benefits, payroll and taxes, risk and compliance, recruitment, training and development
Onboarding, payroll and tax management, employee benefits administration, risk management and legal compliance
Phone, email, live chat, industry specialists and HR experts
24/7 support via phone, email, chat, Slack and text
Cloud-based platform, intuitive design
Cloud-based platform, intuitive design, modern technology
2 weeks, on average
2 to 3 weeks
TriNet is a leading PEO provider for small and midsize businesses. TriNet has been in business since 1988 and is a certified PEO. One unique thing about TriNet is that it offers industry-specific tools and support, which are particularly helpful for small businesses in heavily regulated industries. Employers that are concerned about keeping up with rapidly changing regulations will appreciate having an experienced industry professional on their team. TriNet’s major offerings include HR administration, employee benefits, payroll and taxes, risk and compliance, recruitment, and training and development.
We appreciate TriNet’s industry-specific support and believe small businesses that are concerned about risk management and compliance will find TriNet’s services the most beneficial. The company offers one base price for its primary features, which are bundled, and employers may add features for an extra cost. The total prices are based on a per-employee-per-month (PEPM) model, which is helpful for businesses that want to know exactly how their costs will increase over time.
Justworks provides 24/7 customer service, so smaller businesses with remote or hybrid teams in different time zones will appreciate easy access to support during all business hours. In addition, Justworks customers get access to dedicated account managers, who typically respond to requests within two hours, which may be helpful for new business owners who need more frequent support.
Of the PEOs we reviewed, Justworks’ tech platform is among the most advanced. Employers will appreciate the intuitive user interface; even users with little HR experience will find the platform easy to navigate.
TriNet’s pricing is based on the total number of employees and does not increase just because your payroll does. The pricing is customized according to the services you choose, but each plan includes access to payroll, risk mitigation, employee benefits, HR and the technology platform. These services are bundled, so you cannot choose to omit some. However, you may add more services that fit your company’s or industry’s needs. Growing companies will appreciate the PEPM pricing model because it will make it easier to predict future costs.
Justworks offers two pricing plans: Justworks Basic and Justworks Plus. The pricing for each plan is based on the total number of W-2 employees at your company. The Justworks Basic plan starts at $59 PEPM for up to 49 employees and is reduced to $49 PEPM for 50 or more employees. The Justworks Plus plan is $99 PEPM for up to 49 employees or $89 PEPM for 50 or more employees.
The Basic plan includes the following services:
The Plus plan includes all of the services in the Basic plan, as well as the following:
Justworks Hours is an add-on product; it is not included in the Justworks Basic or Justworks Plus package. The service costs $8 per user per month.
We appreciate that Justworks offers two pricing plans to choose from. The Basic plan includes a comprehensive set of features, and the Plus plan is perfect for employers that are also looking for benefits, including medical, dental, vision and retirement options. Justworks’ pricing is fairly transparent, although there are add-ons, such as Justworks Hours, that can increase the cost.
TriNet’s performance management application enables employers to manage goals, capture feedback and view performance trends over time. Source: TriNet
TriNet offers performance management, which can help employers identify trends and make more informed workforce decisions. In addition, TriNet provides payroll tax processing; Justworks does not. We appreciate these two additional offerings because they can eliminate the time spent on these tasks.
When you’re selecting a PEO, be sure to ask which features are included in the base price or package and which features are add-ons or part of a buy-up plan. It’s important to know which features you need so you can make the best choice for your business.
TriNet provides customers with a designated HR consulting team. Customers in highly regulated industries will appreciate having access to industry-specific professionals. In addition, TriNet users can access support via web chat, email or phone. TriNet offers 24/7 access to live chat support. Phone support is available Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to midnight ET. For basic questions, customers can access helpful FAQ pages and online resources on the TriNet website.
Justworks offers a catalog of online resources to help employers and employees with various questions. Subscribers get 24/7 support via telephone, email, chat, Slack and text, and employers have access to dedicated account managers who understand the company’s unique needs and can assist with any questions. The typical response time is two hours.
Justworks’ 24/7 live chat feature makes it easy to access support when you need it. Source: Justworks
Justworks has the infrastructure to offer stronger customer support. We appreciate that Justworks offers around-the-clock help via multiple channels. This is especially beneficial for companies that operate in multiple time zones.
TriNet’s user interface is easy to navigate, regardless of your technical knowledge. The intuitive employee dashboard presents important information, such as payroll alerts and upcoming tasks. Employees will find the main menu easy to use, whether they need to view important documents or company calendars. All of the basic features are easy to find.
TriNet offers reporting and analytics tools that show you how the platform and various HR services are being used. There are pre-built reports related to payroll, taxes, compliance and benefits, among other topics. These reports, in addition to any customized reports you create, provide the data you need to make informed business decisions.
Customers can install pre-built integrations and application programming interfaces (APIs) that allow for enhanced data and reporting. Common integrations include Xero, Intuit QuickBooks, Oracle NetSuite, and Sage Intacct.
We appreciate TriNet’s employee self-service features because they help reduce administrative time and empower employees to manage their information. New hires can complete a self-onboarding process to learn more about the features. Employees can easily update important information, view their hours and payroll data, and see their professional development goals. The TriNet mobile app makes it easy for employees to access benefits information on the go.
The Justworks platform has a clean design that is easy for both employers and employees to navigate. Justworks offers many pre-built reports, so you can view data and trends related to benefits, payroll and more. These reports can be customized so that you have the data you need to make informed business decisions.
Justworks’ employee self-service platform and mobile app make it easy for employees to view and manage information on the go. The company directory and organization charts help you navigate new contacts. Employees can easily update their profiles, modify benefits selections, view pay details, and submit time-off requests, among other things. If employees have questions, they can view tutorials and instructions in the Justworks Help Center.
The Justworks platform is very modern and easy to navigate. Employers without experience in other HR systems will have an easy time locating what they need. Source: Justworks
Winner: JustworksWhile both platforms are very intuitive, we appreciate Justworks’ modern design. In addition, Justworks offers support via Slack and text.
TriNet tech and services specialists work with clients to set up new PEO services. You must have important information and employee data ready to begin the implementation process, which typically takes two weeks, although larger organizations may experience increased setup times.
The TriNet platform seamlessly integrates all HR functions into one online portal, allowing for easy access. Bundled packages include basic services such as payroll, risk mitigation, employee benefits and a technology platform, and you can add customizations to fit your company’s needs.
Employees can view their plans and make updates as needed, without intense training on the new tech. The simple user interface means less HR administrative time so you can focus on other company goals. Once your PEO is set up, you’ll have access to experts whenever you need it.
The Justworks PEO setup is fairly simple. First, you will need to decide if you want the Basic or Plus plan. The enrollment time depends on your workers’ compensation application. Justworks needs to learn more about your business operations, ownership structure and other important business functions.
Once you’ve been approved for workers’ compensation and your enrollment is complete, you can select a start date to launch with Justworks as your PEO. This date, which is when your first payroll will run, must be the first or 16th of the current or upcoming month.
You will be assigned a dedicated onboarding manager to help activate your account and set up employees. Once the setup begins, it typically takes two to three weeks.
TriNet’s setup is more streamlined than Justworks’, since all of the basic services are bundled. Smaller businesses that are just ready to get started with their PEO and that do not have many customization concerns may find this easier to manage. Processes with other PEOs can be more complicated due to multiple add-on options. TriNet can create a more customized service for those who need it. TriNet also offers industry-specific support, which we find incredibly valuable. Experienced industry professionals can help guide you in selecting the best setup for your company.
Choose TriNet if:
Choose Justworks if:
Justworks requires a minimum of two employees. One may be classified as an unpaid owner. The other must be a full-time or part-time W-2 employee who is paid minimum wage or higher.
TriNet requires you to have at least five employees to sign up.
Justworks partners with several well-known organizations — such as Aetna, UnitedHealthcare, Kaiser Permanente and MetLife — to provide medical, dental and vision insurance.