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I am considering using a PEO

Trinet vs ADP PEO reviewsI am a small employer with 22- full time employees. The reasons I am considering using a PEO are because of HR compliance challenges, payroll matters and the need for affordable healthcare options.  I am open to suggestions on the best PEOs to consider.  I have been told a PEO can help reduce employee related risks and responsibilities. Thanks!


Topic Expert
Regis Quirin
Title: Director of Finance
Company: Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP
LinkedIn Profile
(Director of Finance, Gibney Anthony & Flaherty LLP) |

Please review a blog I posted on this site - A PEO is not a “Set it and Forget it Process” (06.30.2012).

Sarah Jackson
Title: Associate Editor
Company: Proformative
(Associate Editor, Proformative) |

Anonymous, in addition to the excellent insights from the community on this page, those interested might also want to take a look at this free white paper titled, "PEO: Taking Outsourcing a Step Beyond Pays Off for Small and Mid-Sized Companies:"

I hope that helps.

Best... Sarah

Topic Expert
Keith Perry
Title: Director of Global Accounting
Company: Agrinos, Inc.
(Director of Global Accounting, Agrinos, Inc.) |


Regis's blog is a good start; both from what the process entails and as a checklist of services that you can look to.

There are a few threads on this topic where people talk about their specific experiences. The good news for you is that you are large enough to negotiate a decent deal.

My general experience is:
1) Trinet (and a few others) are still the full-service players in this space. They are a known quantity, so you pay a premium for that, but don't get much up on a smaller, vetted player.
2) ADP/Paychex are the new "big dogs". You should find service similar to Trinet.
3) Accelcia, and 00s of others. Small regional players. You need to vet them yourself, but you get the benefit of materially lower costs and better services.
4), and 00s of others. An under-utilized resource, and a really fantastic value if you're willing to part with your accounting worries.

Summary: without local info, I can say "Trinet, ADP et all tend to do what they say they will." The better players for price / service are (ihmo) local, so you'd need to specify that.

Johnathan Taylor
Title: V.P. CFO
Company: Landrum Companies
(V.P. CFO, Landrum Companies) |

I agree Regis's blog is a good start. I believe an important criteria in choosing a PEO is that it is ESAC accredited. These PEO's are subject to strict financial standards to keep their accredidation. They are are also subject to quarterly audits to ensure timely filing and paying of payroll taxes, payroll tax returns, and related benefit payments. The clients of ESAC PEO's each receive a bond to cover these items if the PEO ever fails to do so. In full disclosure, I am a CFO of an accredited PEO. However, I am a full believer in the ESAC accredidation process.

Anne Sutardji
Title: CFO/Controller
(CFO/Controller, ) |

We were in a PEO and the benefits were great but when we decided to split, we had a little issue applying for a worker comp policy. Since our identity was under the PEO umbrella, we had no loss/run experience on the worker comp policy therefore our rate was higher. We had to go with the higher rate for two years before the carrier would consider to adjust our rate.

Carolyn Chin
Title: Accounting Mgr
Company: Nippon Sharyo Manufacturing
(Accounting Mgr, Nippon Sharyo Manufacturing) |

Could you tell us what were the factors that led your company to leave a PEO?

Donald Kindl
Title: CFO
Company: Troika Entertainment
(CFO, Troika Entertainment) |

PEOs can be a great option but be sure you check them out thoroughly and get references. We have been with SCI for the past few years and they have been great. Avoid PaySource out of Ohio (I think they are out of business) but if you search Robert Sacco or Cary Painter on the web along with the company name you'll see why you should perform due diligence. Accreditations don't mean a thing if they company is poorly managed.

(Program Integrity Auditor) |

My experience with PEOs is from being invovled with shutting down a PEO affiliate owned by a larger organization that wasn't delivering acceptable service to customers. I understand management of this PEO started a new PEO venture. Additionally, I worked at an organization that provided outsourcicng services and know of significant issues that occurred related to payroll outsourcing. This doesn't mean I think PEOs or outsourcing in general is bad. As with anything, the organization needs to understand the risks, the level its willing to accept, and how to minimize them. The last thing you need is an officer of your organization receiving an incorrect paycheck (I know of instances of this) after converting to the PEO. This may have happened internally, but it's worse when you're paying for the service. I strongly agree with the comments that you need to perform a thorough due diligence, and believe this is the case regardless of the PEO you choose. Some of the items on my list would be: check out the company and its officers, get independent references hopefully from organizations with similar structure/ requirements as yours, ask for SAS70/SOC/SAE for a few years, confirm that they can deliver the same or better service than you already have, establish strict SLAs and monitor them, walk through the process of converting from your system to theirs and get the right people (IT, payroll, tax, accounting,others) who actually do the work from both organizations-involved in the meetings, understand what it would take to undo the outsourcing-- their requirements and your organization's, which could mean bringing it back in-house. You may also want to know to what extent there will be individuals dedicated to your organization, will new untrained employees be hired to handle your account, and will they want to hire any of your employees--if they do, what if any impact is there on these employees' benefits. If they will also do employee expenses and 1099s, can they accommodate all of your requirements?

Jeff Langston
Title: CFO
Company: Baxter Franchise Group
(CFO, Baxter Franchise Group) |

I have heard great reviews (never used, researched or talked to) about Ambrose PEO and Oasis Outsourcing.

A few items to ponder before you take the PEO plunge - a) what is your service model? (call center or help desk or single point of contact or dedicated HR manager) b) will all of your employees have access to the PEO service department/person? c) do employees have to take a W2 salary in order to have access to benefits? d) what benefits do you plan on offering and can you offer a range of them?

Most major PEOs will not work with very small companies. Also, look for ESAC accredited PEOs (

Brandon Hatz
Title: Account Executive
Company: Complete Payroll Processing, Inc
(Account Executive, Complete Payroll Processing, Inc) |

PEO's may seem appealing at first glance, but there are often pitfalls to beware of. Based upon your question, it seems you may be able to meet all of your organization's needs by choosing the correct payroll vendor that will assist with these matters.

Joe Kurtzke
Title: Sales and Marketing Specialist
Company: Southeast Personnel Leasing, Inc
(Sales and Marketing Specialist, Southeast Personnel Leasing, Inc) |

Not all PEOs are created equal, not all are economically effective and affordable. You need to determine what are the primary advantages you seek from a PEO and go from there.

For example, if you have the greatest concern about payroll services, workers comp coverage and 401(k) then you absolutely must consider Southeast Personnel Leasing, Inc. a PEO headquartered in Holiday, FL, licensed in 17 States with another dozen in stages of approval and who also owns Lion Insurance (A-Rated Excellent by A.M. Best) which is the carrier of choice for workers comp in most of the States operating in. SPLI will write companies with at least 1 employee in the blue, gray and white collar industries. Witrh SPLI you would obtain the payroll services and the workers comp coverage and perhaps the 401(k) but would likely either remain in-house for HR Compliance and would craft a customized benefit program to meet your specific needs.

If you go with a one size fits all PEO then you will be paying for features and benefits you would not need or use.

How will you deal with the ACA? This will also impact your decision.

Pricing structures and presentations also vary from PEO to PEO as some are not transparent and totally bundle your price while others are fully transparent disclosing what you are getting and paying for.

From the workers comp perspective what NCCI code do you fall under (determines the rate per $100 of payroll based on the risk on a state-by-state basis). Are you a multi-state company and can the PEO you select handle that?

If cost is your primary driving factor and you want a total coverage across the board that is customized to fit your specific needs, then I would suggest SPLI for the payroll services, workers comp coverage and 401(k) and then have your insurance agent carefully craft the full program according to your needs.

Hope this helps - but basically do your homework and prioritize youe needs/wants.

Yoav Cohen
Title: Managing Partner
Company: NYC Advisors, LLC
(Managing Partner, NYC Advisors, LLC) |

I used Administaff in the past (now they are called Insperity) and was very happy with the cost structure and service level. I will be happy to make an introduction to you if you want to talk to them.
From my experience, their cost structure works if your company currently offers medical insurance to all its employees, because their medical cost is usually lower than the cost for small business. Regardless, its' worth a discussion.

(Founder and Cooperative Chair) |

Can anyone recommend PEOs or speak to experience with PEOs for global operations? We are considering a PEO for various local nationals and third country nationals in some of our global operations.

Eric Walters
Title: Owner/Broker
Company: Eric Walters Insurance Services
(Owner/Broker, Eric Walters Insurance Services) |

You should look at Oasis Outsourcing- they are extremely versatile, experienced and innovative and can easily cover overseas employees, etc.

A.J. Verdecchia
Title: Chief Financial Officer
Company: Dixie Construction Company, Inc.
(Chief Financial Officer, Dixie Construction Company, Inc.) |

I have used Trinet and have been very pleased. I have a contact if you need one.

(Controller) |

Have used ADP Total Source for 5 years. Diminishing return as company grew and needed higher service levels. Proactive vendor management is a must with a PEO.

Tim Burgess
Title: Director
Company: Shield GEO Services Limited
(Director , Shield GEO Services Limited) |

Internationally the PEO / co-employment model doesn't actually translate. You can't share the employment responsibilities with your international staff. So instead you can use an "Employer of Record service" or "Global Employment Organisation". A GEO will actually employ your international workers on your behalf. These services are sometimes referred to as "International PEO".

Hazel Swaid
Title: Small Business Consultant
Company: ADP
(Small Business Consultant, ADP) |

Hello! This is a little belated but I would love to talk to you about what benefits a PEO solution can have for your organization! My name is Hazel Swaid, a small business consultant with ADP, please feel free to reach out and ask any and all questions.

hazel [dot] swaidatadp [dot] com

Warmest regards,

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