How do you find the top professional employer organization (PEO) services to help you manage your human resources (HR) needs? Here’s our guide to the best PEO providers.
We’ll start with an overview of what PEO service companies do and what to look for when choosing PEO providers. Then we’ll take a look at 8 of the best PEO companies, what they offer businesses and what makes them distinctive from their competitors. Use this information to help you navigate your PEO options.
What Do PEO Services Do?
PEO companies are outsourcing providers who help businesses with essential HR tasks such as payroll management, benefits administration and tax filing. This reduces the administrative burden on the clients PEO providers serve, while making it easier to comply with regulatory requirements.
PEO companies especially serve small and midsize businesses that may have difficulty affording the cost of managing HR services on their own, although some PEO providers serve large firms as well.
When assisting with payroll tax filing, PEO companies use their own employer tax identification number to file paperwork. However, employees remain under the management of the client contracting the PEO service, and the client retains authority for hiring, firing and promotions. Because of this arrangement, PEO arrangements are referred to as “co-employment” agreements.
How to Choose a PEO: What to Consider
A PEO co-employment arrangement is an extremely intimate partnership, putting your provider in charge of essential HR functions which affect your operational efficiency, employee relations and cash flow. This makes choosing the right provider a critical decision.
When you compare PEO companies, consider a number of key factors:
- What types of HR services do prospective PEO providers offer and how does this match up against your company’s needs?
- What types of benefits do they allow clients to offer employees and which benefits providers do they work with?
- How user-friendly is the technology?
- How is the customer service?
- Are they experienced in working with firms of your company’s size and in your industry?
- Do they have compliance expertise relevant to your industry?
- Are they accredited by professional organizations such as the National Association of Professional Employer Organizations (NAPEO), an advocacy group representing the PEO industry?
- What do online reviews say about them?
- Can they provide client references?
- Do they use a third-party auditor to review their financial statements and operations?
- What are the fees?
- What terms do their contract terms stipulate?
PEO arrangements are governed by contracts known as client service agreements (CSAs) and service level agreements (SLAs). These specify exactly what types of services your PEO provider delivers and how much service you can expect. Review your CSA and SLA agreements carefully in consultation with your HR and legal teams before entering into any PEO contracts.
8 Top PEO Companies
To save you time finding the best PEO services, we’ve put together a list of some of today’s top providers:
Founded in 1997 and based in Bradenton, Fla., CoAdvantage, has more than 3 decades of experience operating in the PEO space. They work with small business partners to provide HR outsourcing services, including payroll, benefits, risk and compliance management and HR technology. They provide services in multiple industries across all 50 states, working with about 4,500 clients representing more than 90,000 worksite employees.
One of the company’s strengths is user-friendly technology, exemplified by its CoAdQuantum online portal. This tool provides secure online access to a variety of products and services for HR managers and employees to streamline payroll, benefits and HR service procedures. The portal supports tasks such as recruiting, managing hiring and onboarding data, managing compensation, tracking payroll and managing talent.
CoAdvantage also boasts strong benefits options, enabling small businesses to offer health insurance packages comparable to Fortune 500 companies. Along with the company’s long-term experience and efficient technology, this helps make CoAdvantage one of the best PEO companies for small business clients.
Founded in Rochester, N.Y., in 1971, Paychex has carved out a niche among the top PEOs for larger companies. It also ranks competitively for the title of best PEO for very small business needs. Paychex serves more than 700,000 clients in the U.S. and Northern Europe, paying 1 in 12 U.S. private-sector employees and making them a leading provider for small to midsize businesses.
The company is accredited by the Employer Services Assurance Corporation (ESAC), a nonprofit which handles accreditation and financial assurance for the PEO industry, and was one of the first PEO providers to receive certification from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS). Paychex solutions encompass payroll, benefits, HR services, time and attendance and business insurance. Benefits solutions include flexible 401(k) design options.
Paychex’s technological sophistication allows the company to offer a range of packages geared toward companies of every size from self-employed business owners to businesses with more than 1,000 employees. The company provides a platform integrating payroll, benefits and HR into one interface. Paychex boasts strong customer service with 24/7 support. The combination of experience, accreditation, technology and customer service help place Paychex in the leading ranks of PEO providers.
3. Oasis Outsourcing
Founded in 1996 as a subsidiary of security services provider Wackenhut (now G4S Wackenhut), Oasis was acquired by Paychex in 2018 but retains a distinct branding identity from its parent, with services tailored toward specific industries.
Oasis offers services designed to support HR needs throughout the employee lifecycle, including recruiting and onboarding, payroll, benefits administration and performance management. The company also offers risk management and compliance services.
Oasis services are customized for specific industries, including:
- Financial service
- Restaurants and hospitality
- Membership clubs
- Professional services
- Light manufacturing
- Senior living
- Technology and engineering
Oasis support provides clients with 2 points of contact. Clients receive access to a payroll specialist as well as an HR specialist. In addition, clients may consult experts on safety, benefits, workers’ compensation and other areas.
Oasis is accredited by the ESAC and certified by the IRS.
Founded in 1988 in the San Francisco Bay Area and serving more than 17,500 clients, TriNet stands out for its emphasis on industry-specific PEO solutions.
The company serves a wide range of industries, including:
- Architecture and engineering
- Financial services
- Life sciences
- Marketing and advertising
- Retailers and wholesalers
- Tech companies
TriNet’s services include HR, 401(k) retirement benefits, payroll and risk mitigation. The company works with companies ranging from 5 to 1,000 employees. The company’s technology platform features self-service and mobile tools as well as phone and online support. TriNet is accredited by the ESAC and certified by the IRS.
5. ADP TotalSource
Founded in Miami in 1984, ADP TotalSource offers PEO services characterized by Fortune 500 class benefits packages, dedicated customer service and proprietary technology.
ADP benefits packages include medical, dental, vision and 401(k) plans. They’re particularly strong in assisting clients with compliance in areas such as workplace safety.
ADP works with companies ranging in size from 1 to 99 employees. Clients are assigned a strategic HR expert.
ADP serves clients in a wide range of industries, including:
- Restaurant and hospitality
- Financial services
- Professional and technical services
ADP’s TotalSource platform combines benefits, payroll and HR into a single interface. The business offer a robust online resource center for clients with tools such as payroll and retirement calculators and tax and compliance aids. ADP is certified by the IRS.
Founded in 1986 and based in Houston, Insperity provides full-service HR services for businesses in a couple tiers of size categories:
- 5 to 149 employees
- 150 to 5,000 employees
The range of services includes:
- Employee benefits
- HR administration and payroll
- Risk management and HR compliance
- Talent management
- HR support
To support its services, Insperity provides a cloud-based platform, Insperity Premier, which features integrated access to HR, payroll and business performance tools. Insperity customers receive access to a dedicated support team which includes an HR services manager, HR specialist, payroll expert, performance consultant and safety consultant. Insperity’s web portal offers a large online library of resources to assist customers with self-service.
Insperity is accredited by the ESAC and certified by the IRS.
Founded in 2012 as Clockwork, Justworks is a PEO provider notable for empowering small businesses to offer a wider range of benefits and perks. Its health-care benefits packages include a diverse range of options encompassing alternatives such as high-deductible plans compatible with health savings accounts (HSAs). Beyond health care, Justworks benefits packages feature modern health and wellness perks, including health advocacy services, on-demand primary care services and life insurance.
In addition to benefits, Justworks provides payroll, HR and compliance services. Its services are delivered through a simple interface that integrates payroll, benefits, HR and compliance into one dashboard.
Justworks is accredited by the ESCA and certified by the IRS.
8. INFINITI HR
Founded in 2008 and based in Burtonsville, Md., INFINITI HR offers customizable PEO services for companies of all sizes. Their PEO services include solutions for the franchise industry, including hospitality management services, startup entrepreneurs and emerging franchise brands.
- Payroll and tax filing
- Integrated point of sale (POS), time clock and scheduling systems
- HR management customized for specific states
- On-demand one-point-of-contact HR directors, recruiters and other contacts
- Employer mandatory and voluntary insurance
- Worker compensation and employment practices liability insurance (EPLI)
- Health care, dental care, vision, dental, disability, life insurance, 401(k) and other benefits
INFINITI HR allows clients a high degree of customization when choosing PEO services. You can go with a full-service PEO solution or select individual offerings for HR, payroll, compliance, risk management, benefits or administration.
INFINITI HR is certified by the IRS. The company is a premium supplier for the International Franchise Association (IFA), a membership organization for franchisors, and a qualified vendor for Choice Hotels International, a leading hotel franchise chain.
Choose the Best PEO Provider for Your Company
When evaluating PEO options, consider factors such as a PEO provider’s services, what industries and size companies they work with, accreditation, pricing and service agreements. Most importantly, consider whether they represent a good fit for your company. Each of the PEO providers reviewed here offers its own strengths suitable to different types of clients.
Ultimately, the best PEO provider is the one that best meets your company’s individual needs. Use our guide to help you find the company that’s right for you. If you need help covering the costs of PEO services, take a few minutes to fill out our free, no-obligation prequalifying form and see what loan options are available to you.