8 Best PEOs for Small Businesses

Best PEO for Small BusinessDo you own a small business with less than 50 employees? If you’re like most small business owners, your title is probably CEO: Chief Everything Officer. You’re not only handling the business decisions and promotion, but also recruitment, hiring, training, benefits administration, and regulatory compliance. You’re fielding employee questions, managing workers comp claims, and spearheading tax preparation.

Maybe it’s time for a helping hand.

If you’ve ever considered working with a PEO, then you know they are designed to help business owners like you manage the day-to-day responsibilities of HR so you can focus your attention where it is needed the most. 

But how do you choose the right PEO? Start by doing your research and asking the right questions as you compare providers. Look for a company that has an established reputation with experience in your state and industry.

To help you get started, we evaluated 8 of the best PEOs for small businesses based on our knowledge of the PEO industry and the services and focus of each PEO.

A Note on Pricing: We did not include pricing in our evaluation because pricing varies greatly based on the needs of your business, your location, and other factors specific to each client. For more information on pricing, check out our comprehensive Insider’s Guide to PEO Costs.

Infiniti HR

Client Business SizeSmall to mid-size

States: Arkansas, Colorado, Delaware, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Louisiana, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, North Carolina, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Washington, West Virginia, Washington, D.C.

What Makes Them Stand Out: Infiniti HR specializes in franchise and hotel management solutions; they also have extensive experience with hospitality, production companies, and non-profits.

What We Like:

Infiniti HR offers full-service PEO and because they work with businesses of all sizes, it’s easy to scale as your business grows. Their cloud-based platform makes it easy to access information and manage data, and employees can use the self-service portal to view benefits and payroll statements. The company offers a broad range of services in addition to HR including consulting, recruitment process outsourcing, and risk and safety management. They also offer executive level benefits like supplemental retirement plans, NQDC deferred compensation plans and carve-out executive group term life & disability insurance.

Clients can also partner with Infiniti HR under an ASO, HRO, or RPO agreement, which gives you plenty of outsourcing options depending on the specific needs of your business. Read more about the differences among ASO, HRO, and PEO here.

Innovative Employer Solutions

Client Business Size: Small to mid-size

State: Florida

What Makes Them Stand Out:  Unlike most PEOs, Innovative Employer Solutions does not require clients to have a minimum of 10 employees in order to partcipate in a health insurance plan. This is great news for small teams that still want to provide health benefits to employees.

What We Like:

Innovative Employer Solutions operates in Florida only, so Florida business owners can rest assured that they know the ins and outs of regulatory compliance and tax law in the state. They offer a full range of benefits, including dental, vision, disability, and even pet insurance. They also have an extensive online library of HR resources including benefits news, learning content, and online forms. Employees also have access to an online self-service portal where they can view personal information and resources. Be sure to check out their time and attendance solution, which has options ranging from simple time clocks to comprehensive time mangagement systems. 

Innovative Employer Solutions has a track record of maintaining long relationships with clients, which is a good indicator of credibility. They will also visit your physical location if needed to provide assistance or consultation. 

My Back Office

Client Business Size: Small

States: Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, Montana, North Carolina, Nebraska, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, Oklahoma, Oregon Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Virginia, Wisconsin, West Virginia, Washington, D.C. 

What Makes Them Stand Out: My Back Office specializes in securing health benefits to businesses with under 5 employees. They operate in 37 states and focus on providing true "back office" services.

What We Like:

My Back Office CEO Rich Manners designed this company specifically to meet the needs of small businesses. He believes business is like Monopoly; it should be fun to play and participants should experience the joy of contributing and competing. Not all PEOs will work with business that have fewer than 10 employees, but My Back Office was uniquely intended to serve these types of small businesses and to continue managing their HR functions as they grow. 

The company offers payroll, benefits administration, and HR services, enabling small businesses to leave the burden of HR in the hands of a trusted partner.


Client Business Size: Small to large 

States: Colorado and Wyoming

What Makes Them Stand Out: StaffScapes takes on clients in some of the hazardous industries that other PEOs prefer not to handle. 

What We Like:

Based in Denver, Colorado, StaffScapes specializes in serving small and mid-size business clients. Business owners can outsource as much or as little of the HR function as they need to, and StaffScapes will create a customized outsourcing plan to handle responsibilities like payroll, benefits, compliance, workers compensation, and training. They also offer performance management, time and attendance, compliance training, and online training and safety videos. Clients can browse through resources like checklists and informational content that help small business owners with the technical details of HR.



Client Business Size: Small to midsize (at least 5 employees)

State: California

What Makes Them Stand Out: Emplicity has been in business for 23 years, with a long track record of satisfied local clients. They offer a helpful plan comparison page so you can see the specific services offered in a variety of packages. 

What We Like:

Emplicity is another state-specific PEO, which can be a huge benefit when dealing with California laws and tax regulations. They offer four service plans with different levels of support depending on your needs. Lower-level packages include basic services such as payroll and employee administration, workers compensation, and HR generalist support, while higher-level packages include advisory services, benefits administration, a cloud-based self-service portal, and even an onsite HR business partner.


Group Management Services (GMS)

Client Business Size: Small to large (at least 5 employees)

What Makes Them Stand Out: GMS offers just about everything, including telemedicine, workplace wellness, learning resources, and full recruitment services.

What We Like:

GMS works with companies of all sizes, from small startups to large, thriving companies. That means you can partner with them from the start and scale your services no matter how large you grow. GMS offers payroll and tax management, human resources management, benefits administration, risk management, and third-party administrator (TPA) services. They also serve as insurance brokers, helping you find the best insurance plan for your business.

They have a 90% annual client retention rate which is an important credibility indicator, and they offer a wide variety of support services including training, HR audits, performance management, and workplace wellness. Their performance management solution is one of the more robust ones available through a PEO arrangement, with customizable reviews and 360° feedback.

Optimum Employer Solutions

Client Business Size: Small to medium (at least 5 employees)

State: California

What Makes Them Stand Out: Optimum was named one of the fastest growing private companies in the country in 2018 by Inc. Magazine for the 8th consecutive year. They were also named one of Orange County's best places to work for the third year in a row in 2018 by the Orange County Business Journal.

What We Like:

Optimum Employer Solutions has a full online HR technology platform that includes tools like competency tracking, reporting, time and labor management, and employee self-service. They match each client with a dedicated 3-person team of HR partners so your questions will always be answered by someone who knows you and your business, not a call center representative. They also have an impressive 93% client retention rate, and they will tailor their offerings to your needs so you always get quality, personalized service.


Staff One

Client Business Size: Small to medium (at least 5 employees)

States: Texas, Oklahoma, Tennessee, Colorado, Arkansas 

What Makes Them Stand Out: Staff One was named to the Inc. 5000 list of fastest-growing companies for the 4th consecutive year in 2018. They offer an analytics tool called the Predictive Index, which allows you to analyze behavioral and cognitive skills for recruiting and assessment purposes. They also offer blood borne pathogen safety training & workplace safety for medical industries.

What We Like:

Staff One offers PEO, ASO, and recruiting services for clients in 44 states. They’ve been in business for 28 years, and they require certification for all of their payroll specialists and HR managers. Depending on your needs, you can choose full PEO partnership, PEO without workers compensation, or an ASO arrangement where you retain your Tax Identification Number. Staff One serves clients in almost every industry, and their service offerings include an option of live or virtual workshop training sessions, a business perks program, and a wellness program.

Which PEO Is Right for You? 

So which PEO is right for you? It all depends on the needs of your business. That’s why we created our PEO matching tool.

Using targeted survey questions, our tool creates a customized vendor short list based on your requirements in just about 20 minutes. It’s the fastest, most efficient way to find the HR partner you need to handle the administrative side of your business so you can focus on growth. 

Click below to start your survey now!


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