21 Best PEO Companies for 2019
Managing your employees and even your payroll after a certain point can be a full-time job, and we know that you as a manager or business owner have more important tasks to do and decisions to make. Therefore, we think you need a PEO if you aren’t already set on working with one: They have the expertise with these matters it would take lifetimes for you to acquire. You also might be able to get excellent benefits for your employees, explained in more detail later in the article.
Later on, we’ll be listing the companies (and feel free to scroll down if you’d like to look at those first), but first we would like to tell you about what a PEO is and what you should look for from one.
What Is a PEO?
A PEO, or professional employment organization, is a company that in most cases enters a co-employer relationship with your company regarding your employees. The PEO will handle payroll, tax filings, providing and managing benefits, onboarding and offboarding of employees, and compliance support to make sure your company isn’t blindsided by legal issues.
The PEO service provider will also be extremely experienced in handling all these functions, allowing for a greater degree of efficiency than you can provide. PEOs will also collect all client employees into a pool for bargaining purposes, allowing for far cheaper and more effective benefit packages as well.
Benefits of Using a PEO
Using a PEO can a cost to your business, so you
need to know if it will be worthwhile. We understand this, and we also want to
assure you that the benefits absolutely outweigh the costs. While each PEO
might also have additional services, there are a few things they all have in
common, listed here:
Insurance Savings: A PEO has more bargaining power with insurance companies than your company ever would on its own. This means your employees will have access to cheaper and better benefits, and your company won’t need to pay as much to provide them.
Paperwork Reduction: A PEO will handle a lot of the paperwork so you and your team don’t have to. Whether it’s taxes, compliance, or something else, the PEO is there to make your life easier.
Benefit Package Offerings: In addition to health benefits, most PEOs will make retirement plans, discounts for certain services, and other benefits available as well.
Compliance Support: A PEO will work to make sure your company is compliance with any relevant HR and safety regulations. This is especially important for businesses working in heavily regulated industries.
Payroll Processing: The most universal of PEO functions, the company will handle your payroll processes for you, including taking out and handling related taxes.
Recruiting: Most PEOs, as part of their HR functions, can help you company recruit new talent. This includes the onboarding process.
Legal Support: Related to compliance, PEOs generally have support available to help guide your company through potential legal dilemmas, especially pertaining to HR.
Training: PEO companies often have training programs available. Many are focused around workplace safety, but there are also other training programs and courses depending on the service provider.
Different Types of PEO Companies to Best Suit Your Organization
Not every PEO company will be the same, and there are PEOs that cater to different-sized businesses. Here are some quick notes on what to look for based on the size of your business:
Less Than 20 Employees
Even the smallest companies still need HR support, and at this stage you might just want to set up basic and affordable benefits, or just get payroll and compliance issues resolved. You’ll want to keep an eye out for minimum payroll or employee number requirements, and you will also want to make sure you aren’t spending too much on services or getting locked into a long-term contract. Remember that the best PEO for your company at this stage may not be the best down the line, and renegotiation is a must.
Between 20-99 Employees
There are PEO service providers that specialize in serving growing companies, and scalability is important. At this stage it will be difficult to keep track of and manage all employees yourself, even with help, so you also will want to seek out a PEO that can help you craft process manuals, guidelines, and safety procedures. Additionally, government requirements and tax laws will start affecting your business differently in this bracket, so look for a service provider you feel confident in regarding these issues.
Between 100-2000 Employees
At this stage your role in the business should strictly be on long-term planning and important strategic decision-making. And you need a PEO that can handle everything without too much additional input in addition to providing large-scale structural support. Your company will pay for more services, but the size of your company will allow for lower costs per employee. You will also still want in-house HR, but they should be focusing more on long-term staff planning than the day-to-day tasks a PEO handles.
Beyond 2000 employees, you might want to set up your own internal infrastructure or hire someone specifically to find the best PEO for your business.
How much does it cost to use a PEO?
It will depend greatly on the size of your company and the benefits you choose to receive, but as a rule you can expect to pay $1000-$2000 per year per employee. This cost can get lower if you hire more employees.
How does the PEO work in terms of employment?
In most cases, your company enters a co-employment relationship with the PEO. Your employees are with the PEO’s EIN, but your company still has complete managerial control and is responsible for wages and salaries (although the PEO will manage it for you).
How does the PEO Charge?
A PEO will either charge a flat fee for each employee managed or a percentage of your total payroll. We usually prefer companies that charge a straight fee for the sake of transparency. Other service costs and admin fees might be applies as well.
Can I get a PEO anywhere?
PEOs operate in all 50 states. Not every PEO operates in every state, but you can be confident you will be able to find services.
How long does it take to set up?
The timeframe can vary, but most PEOs take anywhere from three to six weeks to get fully set up.
Are there any requirements for using a PEO?
Sometimes there is a minimum payroll requirement, and other PEOs will require that you have at least five or ten employees. In rare circumstances, other PEOs might have other requirements. As a rule, however, you will always be able to find a PEO that does not have such requirements.
How much does it cost to set up a PEO?
This amount will vary based on the parameters of your business, but in most cases, you can expect to pay anywhere between $1000 and $15000 for initial setup.
Can I get health insurance and other benefits for myself and family as the owner?
The answer will depend on the PEO service provider your company partners with.
Will I still be in control of my employees?
In nearly every circumstance, yes, you will have complete control over the hiring, firing, pay rate, and management of your employees. It will be just like before, except the PEO handles payroll, benefits, and some HR functions.
Should I pay myself using the PEO?
This might depend on how your company is set up, but in most cases, we would recommend doing this.
What is the best PEO in my State?
You can find out more about your specific state here.
Is a PEO good for my company?
Yes. Due to the discounts, benefits, and organization benefits a PEO can provide, we know that for most companies they are more than worth the cost.
Who is responsible for payroll and related taxes?
A PEO will usually sign a contract with you about this topic, and a PEO is nearly always responsible for making sure compliance is being maintained.
Who is responsible for compliance-related issues and obligations?
A combination of both your company and the PEO service provider.
Factors of Evaluation
There’s a lot to consider when determining the best PEO companies. To aid with transparency and give you a better understanding of the industry, we would like to share with you the factors we used to evaluate a PEO, listed below:
- Payroll processing capability and competency
- Tax processing
- Health insurance options, affordability, and related support
- HR regulation compliance assistance and management
- HR management and consulting support
- Recruitment, onboarding, and offboarding support
- Safety compliance and risk-management support, including training options
- Legal compliance support regarding federal, state, and industry regulations
- Attendance and productivity tracking tools
- Customer service
- Additional features and specializations, such as otherwise uncommon support for certain industries
Some factors are weighted more heavily than others, and we also understand that you may consider some of the above more important or not important at all. There may also be special offerings from some PEOs that won’t be relevant to most businesses but essential to yours, so keep your business’ needs in mind when making your final choice.
The 21 Best PEO Companies
After much searching, we have determined that these are the top 21 PEO companies you should consider. Not every service provider will be a great choice for your company, so we ask that you make your own judgements based on what you need.
Acadia HR – Working across the country, especially with smaller and medium-sized businesses, Acadia HR provides HR outsourcing services, payroll management support, and other PEO services. With over 30 years of experience, the company focuses on saving you time, retaining your best employees, and providing comprehensive solutions.
ADP TotalSource – Oneof the largest providers of PEO services in the country, ADP TotalSource is the largest provider of payroll services and a great choice for larger businesses that need heavy structural support. If you need it, they have it, and scaling up your services will be easy with them. They operate globally and international businesses may also benefit heavily from their services.
Ahead Human Resources – Great for smaller and medium-sized businesses looking for a more human touch, excellent customer service, and a personal-oriented philosophy, Ahead Human Resources offers all of the standard services and is also excellent at providing staffing services if your business needs help attracting top talent.
Alphastaff – Extremely customizable and dedicated to getting you the tailored package of services your company needs and deserves, Alphastaff is a great for companies that either know what they want or might want some flexibility as they adjust not only to using a PEO but settle in more into their identity as a company. From startups to international companies, they likely have a package for you.
BBSI – With thousands of clients in a dozen states, BBSI is a PEO service provider that’s growing rapidly yet still retains a strong structural core, having been in business for nearly 70 years. If available, they might be the best choice if you’re looking for managerial advice for your business or want a stronger relationship with your provider than you would get with most companies.
CoAdvantage – Operating in all 50 states and under Morgan Stanley Capital Partner’s Umbrella, CoAdvantage is one of the fastest growing PEO companies in the business. They are driven by a constantly improving service, an embrace of technology to make things easier for clients, and some of the best team-building services on the market.
Engage PEO – Engage PEO has an all-around great PEO offering, but if you’re looking for great training programs you should put this one on your shortlist and learn more. While not the best for very small businesses due to their ten-employee minimum, they are one of the most reputable businesses in the industry and will keep your company sailing clear of compliance issues or other risks.
Impact Workforce Solutions – In the top five percent of PEO service providers on the market, Impact Workforce Solutions makes its mark in the industry by expertly serving smaller companies and helping your company reduce inefficiency, turnover, and increase participation in benefit plans. They will take the time to get to understand your business to provide the best advice for it.
Insperity – The main things Insperity has to offer are experience and excellent training resources. If these are what you’re looking for, then you’ll be hard pressed to find a better match. In additional to all the expected services, they also have excellent time-tracking programs and a flexible service model.
Justworks – Heavily focused on its online platform, Justworks is the best PEO option for businesses that primarily want to handle things online and are also looking for a cheaper PEO service provider. While it takes care of everything your business might need, it is a simpler solution. An excellent choice for even the smallest of businesses.
National PEO – With a wide variety of options and services for its clients, National PEO can be a great choice for companies that might need extra help with onboarding. Based in Arizona, they are well-liked by customers and will be happy to perform things such as background screenings and ensuring labor law compliance.
Oasis Outsourcing – Oasis Outsourcing has some of the best payroll processing in the business, and with them you’ll never have to worry about a hiccup in the system. Yet besides this, we think they are a great choice for new businesses due to the flexibility in their plans, as well as businesses that demand excellent customer support.
Paychex – One of the best PEO service providers when it comes to just payroll processing, Paychex is great for companies of all sizes, whether you just want payroll support or a full suite of PEO services. Recently they have added time-tracking measures and because of their size you won’t find your company lacking for any form of HR support.
Questco – Great for smaller or medium-sized businesses, or any business owner that wants flexibility in a plan, Questco is able to get you what you want and do so at an affordable rate. While they do not operate in every state, they do have easy to use software and plans that allow you to pick and choose your services, saving you money in the long run.
Resourcing Edge – A smaller PEO service provider that won’t be for every company, we found Resource Edge to be worth your attention due to their flexible and adaptive approach to providing service. Expect changes from them throughout the lifespan of your relationship, but they will all be good ones. They also have excellent training options and can tailor a plan to fit your industry.
Resource Management Inc. – Based in several offices across the country, Resource Management, Inc. is a PEO that serves 48 states and is excellent for helping you sort out your personnel needs as opposed to just payroll solutions. While it may still be too small for some companies, we think some small and medium businesses will be able to use their wide range of service effectively.
Staff One –Working in several different industries, Staff One serves 44 states and is rapidly growing in its ability to provide affordable and effective support to businesses across the country. They also have special options for international companies and dentists. Expect transparency, good service, and honest assessments of your business’ situation.
Synergy – Synergy is a PEO service provider founded in 1989 that is happy to provide your business with the full scope of HR support, payroll, and training services. They prefer a hands-on approach and will seek to make improvements even before you think of what you might need. They have a large training catalog and take risk-management seriously.
Total Team Solutions – Total Team Solutions offers pay-as-you-go workers compensation, other unique offerings, and excellent customer service. They aren’t the most popular company listed here, but they have partnered with some excellent companies in order to allow you to compete in your chosen industry.
TriNet – A company with a strong online platform that we think would mostly be best for larger businesses, Trinet is perfect for businesses with plenty of remote employees to accommodate. Also boasting very competitive benefits packages, insurance needs won’t be an issue with TriNet. Finally, if you’re looking for industry-specific support, check to see if they would be a good fit.
Vensure – Happy to work with an organization of any size, Vensure works with thousands of clients (and a great many more employees), providing industry-specific solutions to companies. They have a plan ready for everything, so we recommend you at least take a look at what they can offer you. They offer all of the usual PEO services.