PEO Comparison – 10 Best PEO Companies

Throughout the country, small- and medium-sized businesses are taking advantage of the many benefits that can come from a strategic partnership with a Professional Employer Organization, or PEO.

PEOs give business owners more of their time back by taking on the responsibility of handling many ‘core HR’ functions. Some of these functions include payroll processing, healthcare benefits administration, and workers compensation claim management.

With as helpful as PEOs can be, it’s not always obvious which one is the best fit for any specific company. What makes things even more difficult in finding the right PEO is the fact that there are nearly 1,000 PEOs currently serving companies in the US. So, where do you begin making sense of all your options? Start with this information about the top PEO companies for 2019.

What Exactly Is a PEO?

Generally speaking, a Professional Employer Organization (PEO) is a third-party company that contracts with businesses to provide them with managed Human Resources services. As mentioned earlier, these services can be payroll-related or they could pertain to hiring and professional development. Whatever organizational task might fall into the category of “Human Resources”, most PEO’s can provide.

Another way PEOs add value is that they’re often able to reduce insurance costs. This is because the PEO can often use their existing insurance policies to cover the employees of the client company, granting the client company savings thanks to an economy-of-scale. This is something known as ‘insurance pooling’, and it’s a common practice especially among the larger PEO’s doing business in the United States.

PEO Services At-a-Glance

We’ve mentioned payroll processing, healthcare benefits administration, and workers compensation claim management, but these few services represent only the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the full scope of the services provided by many national PEOs.

Other outsourced HR services provided by many PEOs include:

  • Tax filing assistance
  • Human Resources consulting
  • Recruitment and employee onboarding
  • Training (online and in-person)
  • Employee productivity tracking
  • Legal compliance with state-specific labor laws
  • Risk management

Remember that not all of these services may be required for any one company searching for a PEO. That’s why it’s important to find the PEO with the ideal service offering at a reasonable price. Given the sheer number of PEOs to choose from, this is easier said than done.

Evaluating PEOs for the Benefits They Provide

Now that you know what you can expect from PEOs insofar as their services are concerned, it’s time to evaluate the top PEOs to locate the ideal one for your business. To do this, it helps to develop a list of questions to ask yourself during your evaluation.

Consider adopting questions from this list:

“Will this PEO reduce my employee insurance costs?” – Right now, you should have a good idea what you’re paying every month for insurance benefits for your employees. A qualified PEO should be able to give you—in dollars and cents—a cost estimate for similar insurance coverage. If there isn’t money to be saved in switching to the PEO, it might not be the best fit for you.

“Will this PEO reduce the amount of HR-related paperwork I have to do?” – Human Resources paperwork is the bane of many small business owners, and for good reason: it’s a time sink. It’s often legally required, but managing it all takes a lot more time than many business owners can afford. If hiring a PEO will reduce the amount of paperwork that needs to be filed or processed in any given month or quarter, there’s a higher chance that PEO could be a good fit.

“Will my company become [or stay] legally compliant in my state?” – Legal compliance is a major reason why many business owners seek out the assistance of Professional Employer Organizations. The reason for this is because every state has its own long list of labor laws, and unless you’re a attorney who specializes in this subsection of the law, navigating legal compliance can be prohibitively difficult.

“Will this PEO help my company to run smoother?” – During the initial evaluation of the many PEOs available you, it may not seem clear whether or not a specific PEO will actually make your business operate in a more efficient way. This is why it helps to ask for white papers or case studies from the PEO—documents that show exactly how they’ve helped other companies improve their efficiencies in the past. Virtually every national-level PEO should be able to provide such documentation.

After you’ve arrived at answers for each of these four questions, you should find yourself getting closer to making a final decision on the right Professional Employer Organization for your business.

FAQ about PEOs

We realize that you’re bound to have questions about PEOs as you search for the right one for you. To help, here are four of the most frequently asked questions related to searching for a highly qualified Professional Employer Organization:

Q: How much does it cost to hire a PEO?

A: Generally speaking, PEOs assess their fees on a per-employee basis. These fees can range between $1,000-$2,500 per employee, per year. For organizations with higher employee counts, these fees can be lower.

Q: How do I pay the PEO for their services?


A: To streamline the PEO payment process, fees are often deducted from the monthly payroll when it’s processed. This saves time, and you’re almost always able to view a report of your PEO expenses using the interaction portal that is set up for you by the PEO.

Q: If I am the founder of my company, should I be paying for PEO services?


A: It depends. Some business owners who are also founders may not save much time or money switching to a PEO based solely on the size of their company. But, this is rare, and more often than not, it ends up making sense to hire a PEO even if the employee count is just one (you).

Q: Which PEO is the best one in my state? 

A: As we mentioned earlier, there are nearly 1,000 PEOs to choose from. To help make sense of all of your options, we’ve distilled them down to only the top few for each state. View our state-specific PEO ranking page by clicking here.

Bringing It All Together

When you’re diligent about your research and you conduct a thorough evaluation of PEOs using the information detailed here, we’re confident you’ll find the right fit for you. However, if you still need help in locating the perfect PEO for you, we’re here to assist. Contact us and we’ll be happy to provide you with a free report of the best PEOs to suit your business.