more-arw search

Q&A Forum

Do you know any PEOs that take on just 1 employee?

Ros  Twite's Profile

We're a UK based company looking to take on our first employee in the USA, and so are looking at the best way to do this. We are thinking of using a PEO but I have heard very few take on just one employee / cost may be prohibitive for just one. Any suggestions of PEOs who will take one / alternative suggestions? Ideally we do not want to incorporate in the USA. Thanks!


Topic Expert
Edward Abbati
Title: Vice President of Finance
Company: Location Labs
LinkedIn Profile
(Vice President of Finance, Location Labs) |

My suggestion is to make the person a contractor and pay him a rate to cover any benefits you were planning under the PEO. It is expensive since you not only have to cover his benefit costs and markup associated with the PEO plus you need to pay Workers Comp and pay employer taxes. One last thing to think about is what happens if that person quits, they you have to unwind that obligations. Going contract is the simpler and most cost effective method. In one of my companies, we used contractors until we hit 5 persons and then we joined a PEO.

Scott Cadora
Title: Vice President
Company: Pinnacle Business Solutions, Inc.
LinkedIn Profile
(Vice President, Pinnacle Business Solutions, Inc.) |

TriNet will take 1 employee but you'll pay dearly for the service. The fixed costs are just too high to make it worthwhile for all but the highest paid employees. I concur with Edward that the PEO model really makes better economic sense for 5 or more employees.

Prior to that, you're probably better off to use an online payroll service such as Intuit. They can handle the payroll, taxes and filings at both the federal and state levels. They also offer workers compensation insurance and some employee benefits as additional services. It's a good solution until you build up your staff to the level where a PEO becomes cost effective.

Jennifer Hartmann
Title: Director,people
Company: MyVest
(Director,people, MyVest) |

Try Centricity in Walnut Creek, CA, BackOps in San Francisco (not sure they do PEO but worth a look), and definitely Sequoia Benefits in Foster City, CA (I'd be happy to intro you to Centricity and Sequoia). I would advise against the contractor route suggested above. I don't know how things work in the UK, but here you have to be very careful how you classify people as contractors vs. employees. It is not up to you, but to a number of agencies (tax, labor, etc.), who each have their own rules about who is an employee and who isn't. Doing it wrong can get you in trouble. And all it takes to get in trouble is one fired contractor filing for unemployment.

Gardnar O'Brien
Title: CFO
Company: Logomark, Inc.
(CFO, Logomark, Inc.) |

Jennifer makes a very good point about the independent contractor status. Here's a resource from California to determine status:

Products and Companies

Get Free Membership

By signing up, you will receive emails from Proformative regarding Proformative programs, events, community news and activity. You can withdraw your consent at any time. Contact Us.

Business Exchange

Browse the Business Exchange to find information, resources and peer reviews to help you select the right solution for your business.

Learn more

Contribute to Community

If you’re interested in learning more about contributing to your Proformative community, we have many ways for you to get involved. Please email [email protected] to learn more about becoming a speaker or contributing to the blogs/Q&A Forum.