Disclosure: This content is reader-supported, which means if you click on some of our links that we may earn a commission.
Adding new members to your team can feel like both a blessing and a curse.
On one side of the coin, your business is growing and making enough money to justify hiring more people. And on the other side, more employees means more complex HR systems, additional administrative tasks, and higher risks.
Thankfully, professional employer organizations (PEO) exist to take the burden off your plate and take care of your new employees with better benefits and healthcare packages.
However, choosing the best PEO company can feel like quite the hassle, especially if you’re unsure what to look for or what you need. On top of that, they all seem to be exactly the same. So, how do you tell them apart and make the right choice?
To help you out, we dove into numerous options, narrowed it down to our top five recommendations, and reviewed them.
The 5 Best PEO Organizations to Consider:
- Amplify PEO – Best personalized PEO solutions
- ADP TotalSource – Best for dedicated specialist support
- Justworks – Best low-cost per-employee PEO solution
- Paychex – Most PEO company for SMBs and startups
- Insperity – Best PEO company for large businesses
When Does It Make Sense to Invest In PEO Services?
If you’re struggling to run payroll or other HR tasks, want access to better health insurance plans, or need help with compliance, investing in PEO services is a good idea.
However, it’s crucial to keep in mind that you’re investing in a co-employment agreement. Your PEO company becomes the employer for your business, and they become responsible for filing payroll taxes using their own EIN (instead of yours).
In this type of agreement, you lose a bit of control by inviting a third-party into your business.
It’s also typically a long-term deal. You may not have to sign a lengthy contract (depending on the company you choose), but it doesn’t make sense to invest in PEO if you only need help in the short-term.
Alternatively, you can outsource some or all of your HR-related tasks without a co-employment agreement if that sounds more up your alley.
At the end of the day, you have to decide which route is best for your business.
With that said, if you’re a micro-business, a solopreneur, or a freelancer, you probably don’t need full-blown PEO services since you don’t have to worry about a lot of the HR tasks they typically take care of for you.
#1 – Amplify PEO — The Best Personalized PEO Solutions
If you’re looking for a personalized PEO solution with real humans (not a call center) behind your HR department, Amplify PEO is our #1 recommendation.
Their full-service HR management services empower you to focus on other aspects of running and managing your business by taking your entire HR department off your hands. Furthermore, Amplify PEO’s customers save an average of $1,185/employee per year using their services.
So, not only do you get top-notch services and compliance, but you can also save money in the process.
Plus, your employees get access to better healthcare systems you otherwise wouldn’t have.
On top of healthcare and benefits administration, they also offer countless HR services and management packages, including:
- Payroll administration and paycheck distribution
- W-2 and other tax paperwork preparations
- Paid time-off tracking and management
- Flexible spending accounts
- Handbooks, policies, and procedures
- New-hire onboarding
- Discipline and termination procedures
Working with Amplify PEO lets you spend more time working with your employees while providing them better HR services, so they feel right at home.
On top of that, you can rest easy knowing you share work-related risks and responsibilities with a trusted and highly-experienced PEO provider. Plus, each plan is custom fit to match your specific business needs.
As such, pricing isn’t available online. But getting a free quote is as simple as filling out an online form.
So, request a quote to get started and learn more about Amplify PEO today!
#2 – ADP TotalSource — Best for Dedicated Specialist Support
If you’re looking for a highly customizable and flexible PEO solution, ADP is an excellent choice. It’s also one of the most well-known HR management companies globally, servicing more than 140+ countries worldwide.
With ADP TotalSource, you also get access to Fortune-500 grade benefits and insurance plans you otherwise wouldn’t be eligible for.
So, you and your employees can rest easy knowing you’re covered with the best healthcare packages available, regardless of the size of your business.
Whether you’re a small, midsize, or rapid-growth business, ADP offers tailored services to match your needs. Plus, the solution is highly customizable from recruitment and new-hire onboarding to legal compliance, workplace injuries, and employee self-service dashboards.
It’s an all-in-one PEO solution, but it’s “never one-size-fits-all.” Why? Because you get a dedicated strategic HR expert and other specialists as part of the package, including a(n):
- Payroll advisor
- Benefits specialist
- Investigation team
- Workers’ comp specialist
- Technology specialist
- Safety consultants
Plus, your employees can enjoy direct access to premium advisors and support for any questions or issues that may arise.
So, while the features you get remain the same from business to business, personalized support and access to dedicated specialists in various areas make this PEO solution extraordinarily flexible and customizable to match your needs.
Furthermore, you can enjoy outsourcing administrative and repetitive tasks, like new-hire onboarding and training, document management, legal claims, payroll, time tracking, and more,
As with most PEO services, ADP TotalSource pricing isn’t available online because it depends on your business’s size.
Get in touch with their sales team to learn more!
#3 – Justworks — Best Low-Cost Per-Employee PEO Solution
If you want an affordable, all-online PEO solution, Justworks is your best bet. It’s one of the newer providers on this list (founded in 2013). But they have excellent benefits partnerships and a team of expert staff members behind the scenes.
On top of that, they’re available 24/7 via Slack, SMS, phone, email, and live chat. Plus, they promise there are no robots or phone trees—just real humans ready to help at any time.
Just because they cost less than traditional PEO services, they’re still IRS and ESAC accredited. This means you can rest easy because they’re on top of any legal changes that occur while continuously keeping your business compliant.
Furthermore, you get access to a ton of vital HR services, including:
- Access to large-company benefits (even if you’re not a large company)
- W-2 and 1099 filings plus full-blown legal compliance support
- Automated direct deposit payroll administration
- Automatic vendor and contractor payments
- PTO management
- New-employee onboarding
- 24/7 expert customer support
- HR consulting for those tricky situations
Your employees also get access to modern health and wellness packages to encourage strong mental and physical health. Plus, you can get help with 401(k)s, HSAs, and commuter benefits to keep your team engaged, healthy, and happy.
Unlike most of the other providers on this list, Justworks has straightforward pricing based on the number of employees within your company.
And the more employees you have, the less you pay per employee. Their most expensive paid plans (for less than 25 employees) include:
- Basic — $49/employee per month
- Basic + Medical, Dental, and Vision — $99/employee per month
With that said, you can save 15% if you opt for an annual plan.
Contact the Justworks team to find the right plan for your business and get started today!
#4 – Paychex — Best PEO Solutions for Small Businesses
Paychex is one of the most popular HR management companies with more than 45+ years of experience and more than 650,000+ customers of all shapes and sizes.
While Paychex offers various HR management services and technology, they also provide a full-service PEO option for small businesses. With it, you get the best of both worlds with top-of-the-line software and one-on-one HR services done for you.
If you’re uncertain of how to handle a situation, need an extra set of hands, or want a completely hands-off approach to HR management, Paychex covers it all.
From addressing key liabilities and managing workplace risks to benefits administration, payroll processing, and administrative tasks, you get everything you need. Furthermore, they offer two full-service offerings, including Paychex PEO and PEO+.
PEO+ includes more advanced features like an HR business partner who can provide employment practice liability insurance (most PEO companies can’t do this).
With PEO+, Paychex also assumes sole responsibility for reporting, withholding, and payment of your payroll tax obligations. Plus, they can help determine if you qualify for a wide range of other tax credits.
It’s also more scalable for fast-growth businesses. However, both solutions are excellent options. It just depends on what you need.
On top of that, Paychex offers varying solutions for businesses of different sizes, including:
- 0 employees (just you)
- 1 – 4 employees
- 5 – 9 employees
- 10 – 19 employees
- 20 – 49 employees
- 50 – 89 employees
So, it’s obvious they cater to smaller businesses with hyper-targeted solutions and services based on the size of your small, but growing, business.
Furthermore, there are no cancellation fees or penalties if you decide to leave.
Pricing isn’t readily available online, but you can schedule a free consultation to learn which plan is right for you and how to get started.
#5 – Insperity — Best PEO Company for Large Businesses
If you have more than 99+ employees, Insperity offers an excellent full-service PEO solution for large businesses like yours.
Their services exist to help you mitigate and minimize risks while boosting productivity across your entire business.
Furthermore, you get personalized service and world-class HR technology to streamline your entire HR department. These two things combined create the scalable infrastructure you need to maximize your business’s potential.
And their stand-alone large business team is full of specialists with experiences serving companies with more than 150 employees.
So, you can rest easy knowing they understand the scope of your needs.
On top of that, you can lock in your rates for two years, so you don’t have to worry about pricing jumping up after your first year.
However, that does mean you have to sign a two-year contract, so keep that in mind.
With Insperity, you get on-demand guidance, proactive measures to mitigate risky situations before they happen, specialized team-members to help with different HR tasks, data-driven insights, an assigned account executive, and their robust technology.
All under one roof with one transparent price. Plus, your employees can access their accounts through an intuitive self-service dashboard where they can:
- Select and manage their benefits
- Utilize Alex, which helps them choose the right benefits package
- Request time off and view paystubs/W-2s
- Manage their 401(k) plan
So, it’s an excellent choice for you, but it’s also beneficial for your employees as well. Plus, they can get in touch with Insperity’s team to ask questions and get answers within 7 minutes.
Insperity’s pricing isn’t available online since each plan is custom fit to your business.
So, contact their sales team to learn more and get started today!
Methodology For Choosing The Best PEO Company
Now that you know our top recommendations let’s talk about what makes these companies great and how to decide which one is the best fit for your business.
Number of Employees
Most PEO companies charge on a per-employee basis. So, the more employees you have, the more your investment is going to be.
As such, it’s crucial to know how many employees you have, how many you expect to have in the future, and how fast you plan to grow.
On top of that, you should communicate this with the companies you’re considering to ensure they have the resources to help you as your business grows.
Furthermore, some PEO companies specialize in working with small businesses, while others prefer working with large companies and enterprises. Many even have the resources to help businesses of all sizes.
So, it’s important to choose a company you’re not going to outgrow in the near future.
Where Your Employees Live
There are a lot of national insurance companies with coverage spanning all 50 states. However, that’s not always the case—there are regional healthcare networks as well.
So, it’s critical to consider where you and your employees live. And if you’re a remote company, you probably have employees all across the country.
So you need to make sure everyone has access to healthcare services in their area.
PEO companies have varying healthcare partnerships that may not work well for you or some of your employees, depending on where they live. Plus, taxes and compliance can vary from state to state as well.
As such, some PEO companies only serve businesses in specific regions. So, watch out for that.
And always make sure to talk about this with each company you’re considering. They should be able to tell you what regions they cover or don’t cover, so you know before making your decision.
The Services You Need
PEO organizations can take over your entire HR department, work with your current HR department, or handle specific tasks like payroll, benefits administration, or recruitment.
As such, it’s essential to understand what services you need and how the company’s going to mesh with your business. It may help to start with outlining your current processes so you can identify bottlenecks and areas for improvement.
From there, you can work with your provider to build a custom plan that helps streamline everything and cover any gaps you may have.
Employee Benefits and Self-Service
Better employee benefits are one of the most common reasons why businesses opt for PEO services. Since the PEO company is your employer, you can access their healthcare and benefits plans rather than finding your own.
However, not all benefits packages are created equal. So, make sure you fully understand the benefits available to you with each company you’re considering.
On top of that, your employees should also have access to a self-service dashboard where they can view paystubs, download their W-2, request time off, and more.
At the end of the day, your employees should come first. As such, be sure to choose an option that matches their needs.
Amplify PEO is our top choice for most users. They offer personalized custom-fit packages to suit the needs of businesses of all shapes and sizes. Furthermore, their customer support is second to none with real-life humans behind the phone.
Plus, you can quickly get access to advanced healthcare plans you otherwise wouldn’t be able to use thanks to their healthcare partnerships.
However, it’s not the best solution for everyone.
So, don’t forget to use the methodology we talked about as you decide on the best PEO services for you, your team, and your business.