So maybe you've learned a little bit about PEOs...
...and have decided using one might be a good choice for your company. In terms of saving money on benefits as well as implementing a versatile HR infrastructure that doesn't involve a steep investment in an HR Department or more overtime from you, it's a smart decision.
But there are hundreds of PEOs – and you don't have endless hours to research them all.
So where's the list? Unfortunately, doing a "top 10 best PEOs" could be misleading — PEOs can be as unique as their clients, some in startups and small businesses, some international organizations spanning the world. There's no one-size-fits-all.
For us, the best way to highlight PEOs is to divide them by the size of their clientele — international, national, regional and niche. All ten of these PEOs provide a good core service of HR infrastructure and solid benefits, but one may be better depending on your company's size or business style. And if one sounds like a good match? Let us know — we'll gladly negotiate better rates than what you'll get on the open market.
Best International PEO
Each country has its own brand of red tape. Providing benefits and HR services magnifies those difficulties exponentially — but international PEOs specialize in cutting the complexity and giving you one go-to partner across continents.
Year founded: 2012
Health carrier: BUPA /Blue Cross Blue Shield
Best known for solid global coverage across nearly every country in the world.
Elements Global is an excellent partner for any company in the middle of international expansion and wanting to stay ahead of the ever-changing legal landscapes of individual countries. Named the 28th fastest-growing US business in 2018 by the INC 500, Elements offers a full-sized service while offering the responsivity of a younger company. Their energetic approach guarantees you the suite of resources you need when doing business abroad: from legal teams to HR managers, benefits administrators to the benefits themselves. All tailored for whichever of their 135 covered countries you find yourself in.
Top National PEOs
In the US, national PEOs provide solid HR services and benefits across the widely varying political landscapes of US states. The ones we've selected have excellent reputations for interacting well with the most "worker-friendly" states, giving you legal compliance while also delivering efficient and affordable HR services, all from one easy-to-work-with resource. If only Congress could do that.
ADP Total Source
Year founded: 1949
Health carrier: United Health Corp/Aetna/Blue Cross Blue Shield
Best known for more than six decades of HR experience.
Mostly known now for their payroll software, ADP has also developed a robust PEO that services large, national clients. Integrating decades of payroll and HR experience into a one-stop PEO solution, ADPTS is a publicly-traded firm that provides a consistently good service and prices made possible by its size.
Year founded: 1988
Health carrier: United Health Corp/Aetna/Blue Cross Blue Shield/Kaiser Permanente
Top pick for those looking for a PEO partner that potential employees/investors will have heard about and trust.
If there's one PEO you've heard of, it'll probably be TriNet. Publicly-traded and one of the first organizations to bring the practice of using PEOs into the public spotlight, TriNet also offers a solid, well-rounded experience gives employers a single access point for all their HR needs. Their widespread usage means a familiarity with just about every industry.
Year founded: 1986
Health carrier: UHC
Top choice for those wanting a straightforward solution that gets the job done without unnecessary frills.
Previously known as Administaff, you may have heard of Insperity or seen their logo as they're a title sponsor of the PGA Champions Tour. Publicly traded since 1997, their presence across the country is cemented by over 60 locations, meaning that your regional branches will enjoy local service and representation.
Year founded: 2012
Health carrier: Aetna
Best known for its modern style and intuitive software.
As its more modern name would suggest, Justworks is a fresh newcomer to the field, but don't let their age fool you. In addition to the expected services and benefits programs, Justworks offers a versatile proprietary software solution for managing employees and HR details that is refreshing and modern. Thanks to their software, their approach to HR is a bit more hands-off than other full-service PEOs but the savings and increased control are preferable for some entrepreneurs. And they'll gladly step in and provide support if you need it.
Top Regional PEOs
If your company operates only in a small area (from multi-county to multi-state), you might not need to pay for all the brawn of a national PEO. Choosing a PEOs with a more local focuses won't just save you money but can also help you have an HR partner that's able to focus locally, just like you.
Year founded: 1992
Health carrier: UHC/Oxford
Top choice for family-owned businesses looking for a PEO that understands them.
A rare family-owned PEO, Abel gets the needs, goals and values of similar companies, but its benefits and HR services are on par with other PEO heavyweights. Customers wanting a tailored, personalized experience will enjoy Abel's "all-person, no menus" support system that helps clients resolve HR issues with minal frustration.
Year founded: 1997
Health carrier: Aetna
Best known for being among the first PEOs to specifically reach out to small businesses.
Founded by a small business owner after he grew frustrated by how difficult getting quality HR and benefits was for non-heavyweights, Extensis has grown into a national group with plenty of resources. Despite their success, they've never forgotten their roots. Clients enjoy personalized service that's invested in their unique situation while gaining access to a "Fortune 500" level of benefits and resources.
Year founded: 2006
Health carrier: Blue Cross Blue Shield
Top choice for smaller firms looking for a PEO with Fortune 500 management.
Clear has its origins in small business while drawing on a leadership team with experience in large corporations that spanned the nation. The result is a high-level offering of benefits and services balanced by a mindfulness of the unique needs of smaller firms.
Top Niche PEOs
For us, niche companies are firms with small teams with highly specialized employees. This includes architectural, consulting, financial and law firms, but more recently applies to startups. Niche companies require specialized PEOs to deliver the most value for their smaller teams, accommodate unique needs and make any growth plans pain-free and effortless. And getting top talent is easier to find when your firm is offering the benefits used by Fortune 500 companies to scoop up valuable employees.
Modern Business Associates
Year founded: 1997
Health carrier: N/A
Top choice for startups and sole props looking to expand soon.
While not offering medical benefits, MBA offers professional yet highly tailored HR solutions to their clients, with special focus on relieving business owners from the compliance activities and paperwork that drain from their business or firm's revenue-generating activities (known in PEO circles as "what you actually like doing"). Privately held and servicing over 30,000 employees, MBA caters to firms, small businesses and even franchises across numerous industries.
Southeast Personnel Leasing
Year founded: 1986
Health carrier: Humana
Best choice for already established small businesses looking primarily for better benefits.
One of the largest privately-owned businesses in Florida and an early arrival in the PEO industry, SouthEast is an established authority offering its clients substantial HR and benefit resources. Owned and run by the same officers for over 20 years, SPL understands the value of employee commitment and how to facilitate it through quality benefits and programs.
Dinsmore/Steele saves you the hassle by asking for your information just once and getting competitive quotes from over 400 of the world's best PEOs. And on top of the added convenience, PEOs give us better rates because they know there's competition for the quality clients Dinsmore/Steele brings them.