Getting the right Professional Employer Organization (PEO) for your business is a critical step towards freeing up your time and being able to take advantage of the abundant opportunities available in the thriving economy of California. But, not just any PEO will do.
Choosing the right PEO will help free up your precious time and allow you to take advantage of all the incredible opportunities that life in California affords you.
But choosing the wrong PEO will simply result in more wasted time, effort, and energy and you’ll be forced to sit on the sidelines watching others leapfrog your hard-earned gains.
I've investigated the 900+ PEOs in California through my 4-stage process and I'll share them in a minute, but before I do, there's something you need to know.
The Best PEO Isn't Always The Right PEO
My investigative process has determined which PEO is the overall best PEO by adding up it's scores across dozens of metrics and finding the PEO with the highest average. But just because it has the highest average score, it doesn't mean it's the right PEO for your company.
- Some PEOs scored highly on health insurance but low on detail insurance options
- Some PEOs have highly refined and streamlined payroll processes but drop the ball on compliance issues
- Some PEOs have the personal support necessary for small businesses while others have the systems and processes to support larger organizations
- Some PEOs offer highly specialised support for specific industries, while having little to no support for others
Every PEO has it's strengths and weaknesses, which means the best PEO might not be the right PEO for you.
To be able to tell you which is the right PEO for your business in your situation, I need to know more details about your company, including your location, needs, and size. So, if you'd like to know the right PEO for your business, enter those details below and I'll provide a personalized recommendation, completely free of charge, within 24 hours.
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Why you should trust me
You should trust me because I’ve got more experience with PEOs than any person reasonably should 🙂
I’ve been through the assessment process myself twice with two different companies I’ve built. I’ve read through the websites, I’ve combed reviews, I’ve spoken to sales reps, and I’ve spent long nights in front of spreadsheets comparing risk management plans, health insurance offerings, 401 k, workers compensation insurance, HR outsourcing, payroll systems, and all those other features and benefits of the various PEOs trying to work out which one was going to be the best value for me and my company.
As well as going through this process with my own companies, I’ve also had the pleasure of guiding more than 1,200 entrepreneurs and small-to-medium businesses through this same process. I’ve listened to their concerns and frustrations with the HR outsourcing process, with dealing with payroll, with worker's compensation, or trying to negotiate state taxes, and the endless flow of paperwork associated with every task, and I’ve helped them find a solution.
This experience with not only my own companies but also with helping others, has given me the diverse background and experience necessary to uniquely qualify me to help you find the right PEO for your company.
Who Should Use A Professional Employer Organization?
A PEO is a MUST for any Californian business owner struggling under the weight of HR and HR-related tasks. If you’re spending far more time than you have to spare on:
- Tax Withholding
- Health Insurance
- Employee Benefits Administration
- Risk Management
- Dental Insurance
- Compliance Assistance
- Employee Benefits
- Tax Rates
- 401 k
- Administrative Services
- Workers Compensation Insurance
- Human Resources Paperwork
- HR Support
- Employee Contracts
- Risk Management
…then you need a PEO. It will free up your time and allow you to focus on the really critical elements in your business and those you build your business to take care of – your family.
Benefits of using a PEO
There are many benefits of using a PEO, but they can mostly be condensed down into four key categories.
1. Reduced insurance costs
Using a PEO to source medical, dental, and/or optical insurance for your team will dramatically reduce your insurance costs in California – including health insurance, workers compensation insurance, dental insurance, and vision insurance.
When you sign up with a PEO, they become a co-employer of record for all your employees and can negotiate insurance for all the employees of every company they work with. This MASSIVE bargaining power allows them to drive down prices and get added benefits that you would never be eligible for on your own.
2. Less paperwork
Good PEOs will significantly reduce your personal paperwork load by taking care of all the forms you used to spend hours doing. As human resources is their business, they have automated systems that can complete and submit the necessary paperwork to your employees and government institutions with a click of a button.
3. Simplified compliance
The amount of time you’re spending ensuring you’re complying with every state HR law related to each of your employees will drop significantly as the in-house automated systems used by the quality PEOs will take care of it for you. They’ll be able to produce already-completed forms when needed and even submit them to the appropriate body, without you having to lift a finger.
4. More free time
All of these saving add up to one very important benefit for you – more free time. Time is the most precious commodity you have as it’s the only one you can never get more of. And anything that saves you time, buys you more time on this earth to do whatever it is you’re passionate about.
Maybe that’s building your business, maybe that’s travelling the world, maybe that’s spending time with loved ones. Whatever it is, getting the right PEO will give you the most precious gift of all and help you create a rich, rewarding, and fulfilling life.
How We Selected The Best PEO California
Our process for selecting the best PEO in California for your business happens in four stages.
Stage 1: Reviews
The first stage in our analysis process is to assess the various online reviews available for each of the 50+ PEOs in california. We read the good and the bad, making extensive notes about the positives and negatives and compile them into our database.
This helps us eliminate any obvious scams and stay away from poor operators without wasting our time going through a deeper analysis.
Stage 2: Offering Analysis
The second step in our analysis process is to read the services and products offered by each of the remaining PEOs to ensure that every PEO on our list can provide the essential services and determine which additional benefits they can offer. After all, there isn’t much point in recommending a PEO who can’t assist with HR compliance and payroll and workers compensation insuance if you really need assistance with HR compliance and payroll and workers compensation insurance.
This step allows us to eliminate any PEOs with limited offerings.
Stage 3: Speaking With Real Customers
Once we have a clear idea of what the general public is saying and what the PEO claims, the next step is to speak with real customers. After all, online reviews are mostly made up of people who either had an overwhelmingly positive or negative experience and a company is only going to tell you what they want you to hear about them, so to get a complete picture, we go straight to the people who’re using their services.
We recruit these people through a variety of channels. Most of them are people who’ve come to us for assistance in the past and we’ve recommended a PEO, but we also get a significant amount of feedback from visitors to our website who simply want to share their opinions.
This step allows us to get a more balanced view of what it’s like to use the various PEOs in California.
Stage 4: Speak With Their Sales Team
The final step is to take all the information we’ve collected over the three previous steps and confront their sales representatives with it. We’ll cover the good and the bad, asking questions about their products and services, as well as their customer support, pricing, onboarding, and hit them with any negative feedback we’ve received to see how they respond.
Obviously, their responses are taken with a grain of salt but they do give us a clear indication as to how polite and helpful their sales and support teams are as well as seeing how they handle feedback and challenges.
There are 5 factors we use to analyse every PEO.
Factor 1: Offerings
The most important element when choosing a PEO is to make sure they do everything you want them to do. It takes time and effort and energy to sign up with a PEO and the last thing you want to do is to have to go through the process twice to make sure health insurance AND payroll AND risk management AND workers compensation insurance are all covered.
This is why the service and product offerings of the PEO is the #1 factor we use in our analysis. When we assess your business and business needs, we will immediately eliminate any PEO who doesn’t provide the products and services you need.
Factor 2: Price
The second most important element when analysing a PEO is price. This includes not only setup fees, but the ongoing service fees as well.
If you can’t afford the PEO you sign up with then you’re not removing stress from your life. You’re adding to it – which is the exact opposite of what a PEO is supposed to do.
This is why the second step in our analysis process is to eliminate every PEO who falls outside your budget.
Factor 3: Ease of Signup
Getting setup with a PEO takes time and effort – there’s no question about that. You need to transfer all your employee records, migrate into and learn their systems, wait for paperwork to clear, train your staff, and many other fun tasks you already don’t have time for. But, that doesn’t mean that all PEOs take the same amount of time to get established with.
Some PEOs have streamlined their processes and systems so that everything is well documented and easy to follow, allowing you to breeze through the process with a minimum of effort.
Other PEOs have complex and confusing systems with poor documentation, resulting in wasted hours and unnecessary headaches while your important tasks pile up.
This why the third step in our analysis process is to factor in your level of tolerance and techincal proficiency so that you get a PEO who won’t cause too much unnecessary stress.
Factor 4: Ease of Use
Any time you start using a new system, there’s a learning curve. You have to learn a new navigation, new terminology, new processes and systems, and you have to do it as fast as you can.
Some PEOs make this simple, with obvious steps in obvious places that lead you to obvious conclusions. Other PEOs make this difficult, with unclear directions in unusual places and no clear indication as to whether you’ve been successful in your intended goal.
This is why the fourth step in analysing your business needs is to consider how easy it is to use the PEO system and how much time and energy you have to battle through what are essentially, unnecessary challenges.
Factor 5: Customer Service
The final factor we use to assess a PEO is their customer service. Support, even with the best documented and optimised systems, can often be the difference between an effortless and seemless transition from your old way of doing things to a new way, and smashing your keyboard against a desk as your to-do list spirals out of control.
This is why the final step in our analysis of the best PEO for your business is to assess the level of support available at your desired budget and to make sure you’re getting the most guidance possible.
California PEO Assessment Results
While we would love to be able to give you one solid recommendation for the best PEO for your business, it’s simply not possible. There’s too much unknown information about your wants and needs and experience and techincal proficiency to give be able to tell you which PEO is the best fit.
This is why we offer a free business needs assessment and PEO recommendation service. All you need to do is enter your details below and one of our trained and experienced agents will contact you within 24 hours to help you choose the right PEO for your business.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to use a PEO in California?
The average cost of a PEO in California is roughly $1,000-$2,000 per employee per month. This will flucuate based on a number of factors – including company size, services required, and benefits offered – but setting aside $1,000-$2,000 should cover most small-to-medium businesses in California.
How does a PEO charge?
There are two fee structures used by PEO: flat fee or percentage of payroll.
PEOs that charge a flat fee will just bill you for every employee in their system, regardless of the services you use. PEOs that charge a percentage of payroll will bill a percentage of what you pay your employees
Flat fee PEOs are great for employers who offer lots of benefits or have a higher paid workforce, whereas PEOs that charge a percentage of payroll are great for companies that don’t require lots of services or are in lower-paying industries.
How long does it take to get set up with a PEO?
Getting setup with a PEO takes time. You have to migrate all your current human resource processes, systems, and paperwork, and wait for all the business and government approvals to be processed.
This usually takes between 3-6 weeks with an average setup time of 4 weeks for most companies.
Does it cost to change PEOs?
Getting your business setup with a PEO takes significant resources on their behalf and so they always charge a fee to onboard your business.
This means that if you decide you don’t like your PEO and want to change, you’ll have to pay the setup fee at the new PEO of your choice.
Because of this, we highly recommend you sign up for our free business needs assessment to ensure you get the right PEO, first time.