Seven years ago I entered the world of Professional Employer Organizations’ almost by accident. After working with a start up, I had become familiar with the concept. After some research I decided it was something that I found extremely interesting. I grew up with both of my parents owning their businesses, so I understood Small Businesses (SMBs) were the lifeblood of our economy.

Immediately I saw the value of Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs), but knew it would be vital for me to know how PEOs worked inside and out. So I worked for one of the largest in the country for over a year, I learned a massive amount about PEO. After a year, I moved to another PEO that worked exclusively with Insurance Brokers and Agencies.

As PEO has grown in popularity, the options for finding the right one has grown as well. Here we will explore all of them. It’s important to understand what your options are when it comes to comparatively shopping PEOs. There are currently four options that exist for those looking to see which PEO is best for their needs. Here they are:

  1. Insurance Agent/Brokers have gotten involved in PEO in recent years because PEO has impacted their business greatly resulting in lost revenue for them. Insurance agents and brokers have a great knowledge of employee benefits and lines of insurance, but PEO is much more than just insurance. Because PEO isn’t this group’s main business focus, they are dependent upon the few PEO relationships they have to ensure their client is getting the best deal possible. Often Insurance Broker’s find themselves on the verge of losing a client to a PEO. They spring into action, talking to their client about the advantages of PEO and scrambling to find someone to help them keep their client.
     
  2. Professionals like CPAs and Lawyers have become involved in making recommendations to their clients and prospective clients about PEO. While most people rely on asking their trusted advisors for recommendations on whom they should use, often trusted advisors only know a handful of providers. They will refer the few they know, and you are left trying to figure out what’s best for you without any real guidance. While we aren’t advising not to listen to your trusted advisors for help, it’s important to know their actual knowledge of what they are referring.
     
  3. PEO Salespeople work directly for PEOs and are the internal sales force of the PEO. They are paid salaries and commission based on how many groups they bring on for their specific PEO. While all industries have direct salespeople, it’s important to know they are not offering unbiased guidance. Most of the PEO Consultants have very limited knowledge of employee benefits or insurance, in general, they only know their PEO’s plans. They aren’t objective and are working to sell their product only with limited to no knowledge of what’s available.
     
  4. PEO Brokers have emerged as PEOs have grown in popularity with SMBs. PEOs have grown from a niche solution to one that works a large majority of small businesses. Some PEO brokers are good at what they do, and others are not. It’s important to look at the PEO broker’s experience in PEO, often few have worked for a PEO. PEO brokers offer the greatest flexibility in helping you find the right PEO because they have numerous relationships with PEOs. They also offer the only true unbiased approach to shopping and comparing PEO providers and have knowledge in negotiating the PEO fees and administration costs.


There are numerous ways to learn and join a PEO; it’s ultimately your decision when choosing what you would like to do. It’s always best to choose the avenue that offers the greatest amount of choices, allowing you to make an educated and informed decision. If you would like to learn more about PEOs, request a copy of our Intro to PEO.