It’s vital to choose the best Illinois PEO (professional employer organization) to help your company flourish.
The right PEO will handle human resources and other administrative chores for you, leaving you with less paperwork and freeing up time and valuable brain space, which lets you concentrate on all the things on your to-do list that were due to be completed yesterday.
The wrong PEO will drain even more time and money from your already tight budget, leaving you without the financial or mental resources to guide your company in the right direction.
I found the best PEO Illinois has to offer after evaluating more than 900 PEO companies, researching the top 15, then rating the top 9.
But there’s something you should know before I make that recommendation.
The Best PEO Isn't Always the Right PEO
I’ve spent a near-embarassing number of hours reviewing the 900+ different PEO companies on my original list, and have determined the Illinois PEO with the best average score across a variety of measures. However, just because it received the highest score doesn’t indicate that it’s the best PEO for your business.
- Some PEOs have extensive industry knowledge and may offer special perks and assistance.
- Some PEOs have established good relationships with insurance providers and can offer a more comprehensive selection of health insurance plans.
- Some PEOs have substantial compliance experience and can guarantee that you adhere to all state and federal regulations.
The only way to choose the best Illinois PEO for your business is to weigh your unique requirements against the primary benefits of each PEO provider. That way, you’ll receive the best-scoring PEO on the parameters that matter most to you, not simply the best-scoring PEO overall.
Enter your information here to get a free analysis of your business and needs, as well as a PEO recommendation tailored to you. Within 24 hours, I’ll contact you with a customized analysis and recommendation.
If you just want to know which Illinois PEO received the highest score, here are my top recommendations for best PEO in Illinois.
1. Vensure — 9.45/10 (Best Overall PEO)
Vensure is my choice for the best PEO overall because, although they don’t stand out for anything in particular, they handle everything you need with ease. Their main distinction, I guess, is that you’ll never have any major problems with them.
They provide all the services and goods you’d expect from an Illinois PEO:
- Human resources paperwork
- Employee benefits
- Tax withholding
- Health insurance
- Compliance assistance
- Tax rates
- Payroll processing
- Employee contracts
- Dental insurance
- Risk management
- Tax administration
- Health insurance
- Workers’ compensation insurance
- Administrative services
- Employee benefits administration
- HR support
They also offer excellent customer support to back them up. If you have a general inquiry, you can expect an email response from them within 24 hours, or you can call them directly if you have a more urgent concern.
Vensure’s strongest characteristic is that, although it has the technical capacity to satisfy the demands of huge companies, its primary focus is on small and medium businesses.
This means they can meet your needs no matter your business stage, and they can help you reach your desired business growth goals.
Vensure’s sole flaw is that they don’t do anything extraordinarily well.
- Their product line covers all your needs, but there are no high-end or premium options available.
- Their customer service will promptly respond to any questions you may have, but they won’t go out of their way to add any personal touches to their services, like sending you a card on your birthday.
- Their cost isn’t as cheap as some other PEO companies’, but it’s decent, and they’re competitive in the PEO market. They aren’t, however, priced so cheap that they will go out of business just to accomodate you.
The company is fantastic overall, but there isn’t one unique or special feature that will really blow your mind.
Vensure is my #1 pick since they provide all your business needs efficiently. They provide a broad range of goods and services at prices that are more than competitive, and it’s all backed up by exceptional customer service.
Vensure’s cost varies depending on the size and demands of your business, and factors like how many employees you employ. Request a quote for your company here: Vensure.
2. CoAdvantage PEO — 7.90/10 (Best Customer Service PEO)
CoAdvantage is my second choice, but that doesn’t rule them out as a viable alternative. They only missed out on my top suggestion by a hair, but they do outperform Vensure PEO in one area.
Just like Vensure, CoAdvantage PEO provides a comprehensive variety of goods and services. Health insurance, payroll processing, tax administration, risk management, workers’ compensation and more are all available.
They provide cheap prices and a user-friendly interface for getting started with their system.
But the one area where they really excel is their customer support.
When I reached out to them, the average response time of customer service emails was 46 minutes, and the average wait time on the phone to talk with a customer service agent was under two minutes in the three customer service tests I conducted.
Their support was not only prompt, but also really helpful. They were able to address my problems without transferring me to another agent (and making me explain my problems repeatedly) or involving management.
While they haven’t sent me a birthday card yet, it’s the only thing their customer service could have done to enhance their service and improve my satisfaction levels.
CoAdvantage lost out on my top spot because, although their system is simple to use and their prices are reasonable, they fall short of Vensure.
There were a few times when their system was a little confusing, and I had to phone their excellent customer support to figure out how to navigate it.
Although CoAdvantage’s prices are competitive, the three quotes I obtained for my three imaginary businesses all averaged roughly 10% more than Vensure.
Neither of these are deal breakers—especially if you place a high value on customer service—but they were enough to push CoAdvantage down to second place on my list.
CoAdvantage is a fantastic Illinois PEO that checks a lot of boxes. They provide a comprehensive list of goods and services at very affordable prices, as well as excellent customer service. Their system isn’t the most user-friendly, and they’re a little more costly than Vensure, but they’re still a great alternative, particularly if you value customer service.
As with any Illinois PEO, their prices are dependent on factors such as your business needs, how many employees you have, and more. So click here to obtain a detailed quote: CoAdvantage.
3. Amplify PEO — 7.41/10 (Best Value PEO)
Amplify PEO is my third best PEO suggestion. They’re a good and dependable alternative with competitive prices, but they let me down in a few areas.
Amplify PEO, like the other Illinois PEO companies on my list, provides a suite of goods and services. You’ll get insurance, employee benefits management, risk management, payroll services, workers compensation, compliance assistance, and anything else you’ll need to onboard and manage your employees.
Their system is quite simple to set up, but I did have some difficulty navigating it after I was up and running. Their customer service was quite knowledgeable and able to respond to my queries in a timely manner.
But it was in the area of price that they truly excelled. All three of the quotes I got were in the top three cheapest I received, with my small business price quote ranking first. This included every service option offered, demonstrating how valuable their services are.
As I have said, although Amplify PEO is an excellent deal, it does have certain limitations.
Their system was simple to set up, but after I was set up and trying to conduct some pretty common operations, I ran across some difficulties navigating it.
I contacted their customer service team for help with these concerns, and although they answered in a respectable amount of time, their response was not nearly as good as CoAdvantage’s.
They’re competent, but not exceptional in any area.
Amplify PEO is a dependable, well-supported Illinois PEO with competitive rates. While their system may be a bit clumsy at times and may pose a barrier to people without strong technology skills, and their customer service isn’t always the most helpful or patient, they were the least expensive Illinois PEO that I got quotes from.
Amplify PEO’s cost is contingent on your needs and size, much like the other two PEO companies on my list, so contact them here to obtain a detailed quote for your business: Amplify PEO.
Justworks is a newcomer to the Illinois PEO market, having launched in 2012, and now serving the whole United States.
They provide all the services you need, just like the other PEO companies on the list—payroll services, compliance assistance, insurance and benefits packages, workers’ compensation, and more. Justworks has one advantage over the other PEO companies on my list: transparency.
Anyone can access their website and check out their pricing structure. This was a huge plus in an industry that tries hard to disguise its price structures and encourages prospective clients to explain their needs to receive a quote.
But I had to put Justworks at #4 because of their young age, which is a crucial factor in the world of PEO companies.
Joining an Illinois PEO and becoming established in their system is a time-consuming process. It’s not something you can afford to repeat if the start-up PEO company you selected has ceased operations.
Before entrusting your company to Justworks, I’d allow them a few more years to establish themselves and show everyone that they’re in it for the long haul.
5. Infiniti HR
In the competitive sector of Illinois PEO companies, Infiniti HR has managed to stand out.
They provide a complete range of HR support and administrative business services, like insurance, workers’ compensation, payroll services, benefits packages, and more. They go above and beyond by aiding with recruitment as well. If your experience is anything like the rest of the country’s, you’ll understand how valuable a good employee can be, so assistance with locating the right employees is a huge benefit.
The disadvantage of Infiniti, like that of Justworks, is their age. They’re still young in the Illinois PEO world, with just 10 years under their belts, and they lack the track records of some of the more established PEO companies. So give them a few more years before you join up.
TriNet is the market’s oldest and most established PEO company. They were founded in 1988 and now have over 16,000 companies and more than 330,000 employees.
They offer all the services you need, like employee benefits packages and insurance, payroll services, workers’ compensation and other services to check all the boxes. However, they seem to depend on their big name and reputation in the Illinois PEO industry to attract clients.
They don’t go above and beyond in terms of customer service, they don’t innovate and come up with new solutions to issues that already exist, they aren’t eager to impress, and they don’t work hard to earn your business as a client company.
Even though TriNet is a dependable, consistent, and competent Illinois PEO, they will never surpass industry norms, or your own expectations.
7. Oasis Outsourcing
Oasis is another member of the PEO industry’s old guard. PayChex just bought them after they’d serviced small businesses for more than 20 years, but they still operate under the Oasis name.
While Oasis offers a variety of industry-specific solutions for such industries as hospitality, finance, retail, and education (as well as others), they also offer all the services that any Illinois business needs. They offer insurance and employee benefits packages, payroll services, workers’ compensation, and more.
The reason they ultimately scored badly is due to their policy of only permitting 12-month contracts.
Month-to-month contracts are the norm in the Illinois PEO industry, so locking prospective consumers in for a year looks both strange and unnecessary, and therefore Oasis lost points.
8. ADP Totalsource
ADP Totalsource is a PEO “big boy” with services in more than 140 countries. They provide a broad variety of services, as well as industry-specific options, similar to Oasis Outsourcing.
The great thing about ADP Totalsource is that their customer service team is accessible to you, the company owner, but your employees can access them as well. Instead of phoning you, if your employees have issues about their salary, benefits, tax rates, or other HR problems, they have access to ADP’s customer service, so they can call them directly. It’s a huge bonus to be able to get rid of these time-consuming phone calls.
The disadvantage of ADP Totalsource is the same as that of TriNet. If you’re a small business, you’ll find that you’re essentially unimportant to ADP, and you won’t receive the attention you need to see your Illinois business succeed.
Insperity is a PEO provider that promised so much, but disappointed me in the end.
My optimism began when I read about their 30-year track record of winning awards for their goods as well as customer service. This gave me hope for a smooth and liberating experience for businesses. When I found out you’re allowed to terminate your subscription at any time (so long as you give 30 days notice), I assumed this was a company that prides itself on providing a good product.
One aspect in particular persuaded me otherwise: health care.
As you may be aware, health care is a major issue that needs a great deal of flexibility in order to meet the unique needs of your employees. Each employee is different and has distinct health requirements, so you’ll need a variety of choices to ensure they receive the coverage they need.
Insperity only provides health care plans from one provider, for whatever reason. There’s just one. Why? I’m not sure.
If you pick Insperity, your employees’ health care choices will be greatly limited, and there’s a significant possibility they won’t receive the help they need.
The Best PEO for Your Business
Finding the right professional employer organization (PEO) for your company might be difficult with over 900 different PEO companies currently accessible to businesses of all sizes.
I’ve spent over 230 hours researching the professional employer organization industry over the previous 18 months and have chosen Vensure, CoAdvantage, and Amplify PEO as the best PEO companies on the market.
Though these Illinois PEOs may be dependable solutions for any company, you will require a customized and tailored recommendation based on the following criteria:
- The number of employees on your payroll
- What you want the PEO to help with (payroll, HR compliance, workers’ compensation insurance, etc.)
- Employee benefits you want to offer to your team (such as health insurance and workers’ compensation insurance)
- How much you can afford to spend on employee benefits
- The location of your small business
- The location where you conduct your business (if outside the office)
- How much customer support you will need
- Your technological capabilities
- How large you plan to scale
- Your industry
If you would like to find the right PEO for your company, simply enter your details below and I will provide a free assessment of your company's needs.
The Best PEO Selection Process
I used an extensive selection process to choose the best PEO. But before I tell you about my process, you need to know more about me.
Why You Should Trust Me
You can trust my advice since I probably know PEO service providers better than almost anyone on Earth, due to my experience with owning two small businesses, as well as helping other people find the right professional employer organization to meet their needs.
My own experience with PEO service providers in Illinois started with my online health care business. I was so preoccupied with learning all the fundamentals associated with starting a small business—developing web pages, writing articles, and managing my employees—that I just didn’t have time to deal with any HR foolishness or the employee benefit problems that were taking up so much of my time.
I initially tried hiring a staffing company to help manage my employees, but that wasn’t enough to solve all my HR problems, so I eventually joined a fantastic professional employer organization.
After coping with everything with my online healthcare business, I took a break before I launched my second small business—a cafe! It’s an understatement to say that operating an online small business was a little different from running a cafe.
Despite their major contrasts, there was one thing that remained the same in both of my small businesses: HR misery. So, once again, I turned to Illinois PEOs to meet my HR requirements, manage employee benefits and deal with all the paperwork involved to pay employees properly and on time. I studied websites, read reviews, and listened to salespeople attempt to sell me solutions when all I needed were answers to simple questions. It was a LOT of work. I eventually discovered the ideal Illinois PEO who helped me expand and build my company.
I quickly discovered that I lacked the personality required for hospitality, so I sold my cafe and contemplated what my next move should be. When old friends from my cafe and online health care business days sought me out for assistance with their back-end company operations, the answer presented itself quite unexpectedly.
The more Illinois PEO suggestions I made, the more people approached me, and I soon began writing them down. Since then, I’ve helped over 1,200 clients select the perfect support for their expanding small businesses, and in the end giving me more expertise in the Illinois PEO industry than almost anybody else.
How I Selected the Best PEO
My method consists of four stages and reduces a list of over 900 different companies in Illinois down to a short list of candidates.
Stage 1: Reviews
Reading internet reviews is the initial step in my investigation.
Most Illinois PEO companies that have been in operation for more than a year have amassed a substantial amount of online consumer feedback. This feedback allowed me to quickly and effectively determine which Illinois PEOs were worth further investigation and which ones I could dismiss before spending too much time on them.
I went through the major online review sites to discover which Illinois PEO companies don’t satisfy basic product, price, and service requirements so I could cut them out of my more in- depth research.
Stage 2: Offering Analysis
The PEO industry in Illinois is not one-size-fits-all. Different PEOs offer a variety of goods and services at different price ranges.
The second part of my investigation is to look at which Illinois PEOs provide which goods and services and at which price points. This helps me rule out Illinois PEOs who either don’t provide a comprehensive range of services or who do so at an exorbitant price.
Stage 3: Speaking with Real Customers
Online reviews are a terrific method to get an overall sense of a business and how they treat their customers, but they have two major drawbacks.
The first is that individuals are more likely to post a review if they had either an extraordinarily favorable or an incredibly bad experience. This means that basing your judgment of a business on online reviews will give you a skewed image of how the business functions.
The second drawback is space. Most web reviews are about 200 characters or fewer, which is inadequate to determine if a PEO provider is worthwhile to use.
To get around these limitations, I talked to actual customers in this phase of my investigation. I solicited input from genuine PEO customers in Illinois using my website as well as existing relationships. I asked pointed questions, received thoughtful responses, and was able to piece together a thorough picture of what it’s like to deal with various Illinois PEOs.
Stage 4: Speaking with Their Sales Teams
I looked at how they deal with criticism and feedback to get a sense of what it’s like to deal with each Illinois PEO in the long term. Are they rooted in their ways, or do they change all the time? Do they attempt to place blame on their clients, or do they own up to their mistakes? The A players were distinguished from the rest of the players on the field by these qualities and values.
When choosing the best PEO in Illinois, I considered five different criteria to rate each PEO company.
Factor 1: Offerings
The first is a list of all their available products.
It’s pointless to partner with an Illinois PEO to handle health insurance if the PEO doesn’t provide health insurance, therefore I established a thorough database of the goods and services offered to ensure you obtain the best PEO for your Illinois business.
Factor 2: Price
The price of a PEO was the second criterion I used to evaluate each Illinois PEO on my list.
Because the prices of various goods and services may fluctuate significantly amongst Illinois PEOs (and this information is only accessible by engaging in a sales call—very sneaky), I assessed the Illinois PEOs based on how much value for money they provide.
Factor 3: Ease of Sign-up
The final criterion I used to evaluate each Illinois PEO was how simple it is to sign up for their services.
Some Illinois PEOs will require you to spend weeks rummaging through drawers for obscure bits of information that aren’t necessary for any other purpose, while others may get huge volumes of information through government agencies.
I rated each Illinois PEO based on how efficient and automated their onboarding process is to ensure you choose a PEO that won’t waste your time.
Factor 4: Ease of Use
How easy a system is to use was the fourth criterion I considered.
Some Illinois PEOs have spent millions of dollars simplifying and automating their back-end systems while emphasizing user experience, while others have simply added functionality to old systems and then created enormous manuals to explain the complicated navigation methods.
Clearly, working with a customer-centric, easy-to-use system is preferable to being trapped with an obsolete system. So that you make the best decision possible, I rated each of the Illinois PEOs on how simple their system is to use and navigate.
Factor 5: Customer Service
There will always be questions, no matter how much effort or money is spent developing the most intuitive system. This is when the role of customer service comes into play.
Some Illinois PEOs will put you on hold for hours until you speak with a bored college student who can’t do anything except promise to raise your issue to management (which they never do). Other PEOs will take your call in a matter of minutes and address your issue in even less time, allowing you to get on with your day.
The Best PEO for Your Business
While Vensure is a wonderful choice for most small businesses, recommending the best PEO for your company is difficult without first learning all there is to know about your company and its needs.
I can’t recommend the best PEO for your scenario until I know more about your business’s industry, size, and number of employees, and the benefits you want to provide (among other things).
If you’d like tailored advice for your small business, fill out the form below to get a free business analysis and recommendation.
After you submit the form, I will assist you in locating the best PEO Illinois has to offer for your circumstances and requirements, at no cost to you.
So fill out the form below and let me do all the work for you when it comes to choosing the best PEO for your small business.
In the meantime, while you’re learning about the best PEO Illinois has to offer, it’s a good time to decide on the structure of your business. You have several options, like a corporation, sole proprietorship, partnership, or limited liability company (LLC). For more information about forming an LLC, check out my article about how to start an LLC in Illinois.
While you’re learning about forming an LLC, you should check into LLC formation services. These businesses exist to take the work and hassle out of forming an LLC. To learn more about LLC formation services, check out my article about the best LLC services in Illinois.
Another service that any new LLC owner should know about is registered agent services. A registered agent is a person or business entity that accepts mail, legal documents, and service of process on behalf of your LLC during business hours. To find out more about what a registered agent service can do for you, read my article on the best registered agent in Illinois.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to use a PEO?
The cost of a PEO may vary greatly depending on a number of criteria. These criteria can include which PEO you choose, the services you select, the employee benefits you choose to provide, and the number of workers you employ. However, a monthly payment of between $1,000–$2,000 per employee is a good baseline price.
How does a PEO charge?
PEO service providers typically utilize one of two price structures: a flat fee or a percentage of payroll fee.
You are charged a predetermined sum per employee under a flat fee system. This is a wonderful choice for any company that needs a lot of predictability in their monthly invoicing or doesn’t want any random billing surprises.
The PEO charges you a percentage fee based on the wages you pay your employees each month under a percentage of payroll arrangement. Employers in low-wage sectors should consider finding a PEO service that offers percentage of payroll fees.
How long does it take to get set up with a PEO?
It takes time to set up a PEO service provider for any small business. They’ll require a lot of documentation and paperwork from you, and then they’ll have to submit a lot more with the government to get you up and running.
This procedure may take anywhere from three to six weeks, although it normally takes four weeks to complete on average.
Does it cost to change PEOs?
There are no exit costs associated with any of the PEOs I’ve listed in this article. However, it does cost money to get set up with a new PEO service, in part due to the lengthy and laborious setup process. This means that if you wish to switch PEOs, you will not be charged anything to leave, but you will have to pay the new PEO’s startup fee.
Best PEO by State
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