Choosing the right North Carolina professional employer organization (PEO) for your limited liability company (LLC) is an incredibly important decision.
The right PEO will free up a lot of energy and brain space by handling all of your human resources tasks and paperwork, which leaves you free to focus on other important tasks filling your to-do list.
The wrong PEO will cost you more money and stress than it’s worth, leaving you without the financial and mental resources you need to properly manage your business.
I analyzed more than 900 different professional employer organizations (PEOs), then investigated the top 15 and reviewed the top 9 to identify the best North Carolina PEO.
But before I get into that recommendation, you should know something.
The Best PEO Isn't Always the Right PEO
It required countless hours to analyze more than 900 different PEO companies to eventually identify the highest-scoring professional employer organization across a variety of metrics. But just because a company has the highest overall score doesn’t mean that it will be the best PEO company for your business.
- Some professional employer organizations have extensive experience with specific industries and can therefore provide businesses in those industries with benefits and support unique to them.
- Some professional employer organizations have developed good relationships with insurance providers, which means they can offer better health insurance and employee benefits packages, and reduced insurance costs.
- Some professional employer organizations specialize in compliance, which means they can offer products and services to ensure your company meets both state and federal compliance guidelines.
There’s only one way to make sure you find the right North Carolina PEO for you: compare the key features of each professional employer organization to the unique needs of your company. This is the only way to make sure that you’re not only getting the best-scoring overall PEO, but the PEO that scores the highest according to criteria that’s important to you.
If you’d like a free business analysis to tell you more about your circumstances and needs, as well as a free North Carolina PEO recommendation, then fill out the form below. Within 24 hours, I’ll contact you with your free business analysis and North Carolina PEO recommendation.
But if you’re just here to find out about which PEO got the highest overall score, here are my best North Carolina PEO recommendations.
Table of Contents
1. Vensure — 9.45/10 (Best Overall PEO)
I think Vensure is the best professional employer organization (PEO) overall because, while it doesn’t stand out for anything in particular, it does everything you need very well. The fact that you’ll never run into any issues is perhaps the biggest distinction between Vensure and other North Carolina PEOs.
Vensure provides all the PEO solutions that North Carolina businesses need:
- Human resources paperwork
- Employee training
- Compliance notifications
- Tax withholding
- Compliance assistance
- Tax rates
- Payroll administration
- Employee management
- Dental insurance
- Risk management
- Health insurance
- Workers’ compensation insurance
- Administrative services
- Employee benefits administration
- HR support
Vensure backs all of its PEO services up with reliable customer service. If you have a general inquiry, you can expect an answer to emails within 24 hours. And if you have an emergency or a more pressing issue, you can call the customer support line for a more immediate response.
One of the best aspects of this North Carolina PEO company is that even though it can meet the technological requirements of huge companies, the provider’s primary target is small businesses and medium-sized businesses.
This means that Vensure can support you at your current level, and also grow with your company as it grows.
If there is a single knock against Vensure, it’s that it’s just mediocre and doesn't provide any one service extraordinarily well.
- Its professional employer organization (PEO) service selection has everything a North Carolina business owner could possibly want, but no fancy extras or premium options.
- When you contact Vensure’s customer service team, they will respond quickly to any inquiries you may have, but they won’t go out of their way to recognize special occasions or add personal touches to their service, like sending out a birthday card.
- Although Vensure doesn’t have the absolute lowest prices in the PEO industry, it is still quite competitive in the North Carolina professional employer organization market. Its prices are more than reasonable, but they aren’t so low that the company will go bankrupt just to give you a good rate.
Overall, the PEO company is excellent, but there isn’t anything particularly remarkable about its services or their quality.
I recommend Vensure because it provides excellent PEO services across the board. Vensure supplies a broad array of service offerings at costs that are far lower than its competition, and it backs those services up with first-rate customer service.
Vensure’s costs vary depending on the specifics of your North Carolina business (like how many employees you have and the size of your company). To obtain a quote tailored to your business, go to its website here: Vensure.
2. CoAdvantage PEO — 7.90/10 (Best Customer Service PEO)
The fact that I rank CoAdvantage PEO as my second-favorite option does not in any way diminish its validity as a professional employer organization (PEO), so don’t let that fool you. It was so close to becoming my first choice, and it does have one significant benefit over Vensure PEO.
CoAdvantage, much like Vensure, provides customers with a whole catalog of PEO services. You’ll get health insurance, risk management, payroll services, employee management tools, workers’ compensation, compliance notifications, HR paperwork, and other solutions to help you manage your employees and their benefits, as well as keep insurance costs low.
CoAdvantage provides pricing that is both reasonable and competitive, in addition to a user interface that is both simple and intuitive to use.
This professional employer organization (PEO) really excelled when it came to one area: customer support.
The average response time to customer support emails was 46 minutes, and the average wait time for speaking to a customer support representative on the phone was less than two minutes, according to the results of the three tests I performed on CoAdvantage’s customer support team.
Not only was assistance delivered in a timely fashion, but it was also really beneficial. The staff responded to my questions without the need to either transfer me to a different agent (which would have required me to explain my issue all over again) or involve management.
Despite the fact that they’ve yet to send me a birthday card, that’s about the only thing CoAdvantage’s customer support team could have done to better both its service and my level of satisfaction with it.
CoAdvantage was not able to take the top position on my list because, despite the fact that its system is simple to use and the cost is affordable, it’s not as good as Vensure.
There were times when its system was confusing, and I had to phone its excellent customer support team in order to figure out how to maneuver my way around. The pricing offered by CoAdvantage is quite competitive, but the quotes I got for my three fictitious North Carolina businesses were all around 10% more expensive than those offered by Vensure.
Although these flaws aren’t deal breakers for most North Carolina business owners—especially if you place a high value on customer support—they were sufficient for me to bump CoAdvantage down to the number two spot on my list.
CoAdvantage is a great PEO that does a lot of things right. It offers a full range of products and services and it offers them at prices that are more than competitive. On top of that, CoAdvantage has great customer service. Its system isn’t the easiest to use, and it’s a little more expensive than Vensure, but it’s still a good choice, especially if customer support is important to you.
As with all professional employer organizations, CoAdvantage’s prices depend on your needs and the size of your business, as well as the number of employees you have. To get a full quote for your business, go to the CoAdvantage website here: CoAdvantage PEO.
3. Amplify PEO — 7.41/10 (Best Value PEO)
Amplify PEO comes in at number three on my best PEO list. It’s a solid option with good prices, but some aspects of Amplify’s services let me down.
Amplify PEO offers a full range of products and services, just like the other two PEO companies on my list of the best PEO services in North Carolina. You’ll get health insurance and employee benefits packages, risk management, payroll services, workers’ compensation, compliance notifications, HR paperwork, and other solutions to help you manage your employees.
Amplify’s system is easy to get started with, but once I was set up I had a few issues learning how to navigate and use it. Its customer service team was knowledgeable and able to answer all my questions in a reasonable amount of time, as well.
But pricing is where this professional employer organization (PEO) really stood out. All three quotes I received from Amplify were within the top three cheapest, and the quote for my small business was the cheapest of all three. This included every service and option available from the other North Carolina PEOs, which really highlighted the value of its pricing.
As I’ve already said, Amplify PEO’s pricing makes it a great deal, but it does have some downsides.
It was very easy to get set up with Amplify’s system, but once I was set up and trying to perform some fairly routine tasks, I encountered a few navigational problems.
I asked the company’s customer service team for help with these problems. They responded in a reasonable amount of time, but their service wasn’t even close to what I got from CoAdvantage.
Amplify is good, but nothing it does is really great.
Amplify is a PEO that is dependable and well supported, with great pricing. Even though its system is sometimes clunky and may be hard to use for those who aren’t tech savvy and its customer service isn’t the most helpful or patient, it was still the cheapest PEO I got quotes from overall.
Amplify’s pricing is based on the needs and size of your business (how many employees your business has), just like the other PEO companies I evaluated to find the best PEO in North Carolina. To get a full quote for your business, you can check out Amplify’s website here: Amplify PEO.
Justworks is a PEO company in North Carolina that is on the rise. It was founded in 2012 and is now growing to serve the entire United States.
It provides small businesses in North Carolina with everything they need, just like the other North Carolina PEO companies on my list. You’ll get health insurance and benefits packages for your employees, payroll services, compliance alerts, workers’ compensation, and other HR solutions so you’ll have less paperwork to manage. Transparency is something that Justworks provides that none of the other professional employer organization companies on my list do.
Anyone can look at Justworks’s pricing structure on its website. This is a huge plus in an industry that does everything it can to hide prices and requires potential clients to explain their business needs via a sales call to get a quote.
But I put Justworks at #4 because it is so young, which is a very important factor in the world of PEOs.
Joining a professional employer organization and getting established in its system is a time-consuming process. You can’t afford to put your North Carolina business through it again and again just because the start-up PEO you chose stops doing business.
I wouldn’t recommend trusting your business to Justworks until they’ve been around for a few more years and demonstrated that they’re here to stay.
If you want to find out more about Justworks, you can visit the website here: Justworks.
5. Infiniti HR
In a field full of North Carolina PEOs, Infiniti HR has been successful in standing out.
It offers health insurance and benefits packages for employees, payroll services, workers’ compensation, compliance alerts, and other solutions to cause you less paperwork and provide you with tools to manage your employees.
In addition to providing the full range of HR support and PEO services, it also helps with hiring and training. If your experience as a North Carolina business owner is like that of the rest of the country, you know how valuable good employees can be. Getting help finding the right employees is a huge benefit.
The problem with both Infiniti HR and Justworks is that they are still new to the industry. Infiniti has only been around for 10 years, which makes it a baby in the PEO world. It doesn’t have the proven track record of some of the more established PEO companies, so wait a few more years before you sign up with Infiniti.
TriNet is the North Carolina PEO that has been around the longest and has the most experience. It started in 1988 and now includes more than 16,000 companies and over 330,000 employees.
It delivers everything you need as a North Carolina business owner and does just enough to make sure you’re happy. You’ll get payroll management, insurance and benefits packages for your employees, workers’ compensation, compliance alerts, and other administration tools to make HR tasks a breeze and cut back on the cost of insurance for your business. But it seems to depend on its well-known status in the PEO market to bring in clients.
It doesn’t go out of its way to help clients through excellent customer service, it doesn’t come up with new ways to solve problems with its services, it doesn’t want to impress you, and it doesn’t try to obtain your business because it knows that it will obtain new clients regardless of your business because of its reputation.
This means that even though TriNet is a reliable, consistent, and useful PEO for North Carolina businesses, it will never go above and beyond industry standards, or your own expectations.
PayChex is another PEO company that has been around for a long time. It used to be called Oasis Outsourcing, and for more than 20 years it helped small businesses in North Carolina. Recently, PayChex acquired Oasis and still works with customers who are already using Oasis, but new customers will sign up for PayChex PEO.
Even though PayChex has all the solutions you could need (like payroll management, insurance and benefits packages for your employees, employee benefit management, compliance notifications, and other solutions to leave you with less paperwork and reduce the cost of health insurance for your business), and has industry-specific solutions and additional features for the hospitality, banking, education and retail industries, among others, it got a low score because it only accepts 12-month contracts.
In an industry where month-to-month contracts are the norm, locking potential clients in for a year seems not only strange, but wholly unnecessary, so it lost a considerable amount of points for that.
8. ADP Totalsource
ADP Totalsource is a big name in the PEO world. Its services are available beyond the state of North Carolina, to serve more than 140 different countries. It offers all kinds of services, like employee management tools, payroll administration, benefits and insurance packages for your employees, compliance notifications, workers’ compensation, and more solutions to help you manage your HR operations. And, like PayChex, it also offers a number of industry-specific solutions and benefits.
The best thing about ADP Totalsource is that its customer service team is accessible to both you, the North Carolina business owner, and your employees. Instead of needing to contact you, your employees can contact ADP directly if they have questions about their pay, benefits, tax rates, or anything related to HR. Getting rid of these time-wasting phone calls so that you can focus on other important tasks is a very big plus.
The disadvantage of ADP is the same as that of TriNet. If you are a small business in North Carolina joining ADP, you’re virtually unimportant to its overall operations, and your business won’t receive the necessary attention it needs from its PEO to prosper.
Insperity is a North Carolina PEO service that had a great deal of potential, but ultimately let me down in several ways.
It offers all the services that your North Carolina business needs, like payroll administration, benefits packages for your employees, benefits management, compliance alerts, workers’ compensation, employee management tools, and other solutions to control your HR operations.
The promise began with the company’s 30-year track record of receiving awards for its services and its customer support. This gave me optimism for a streamlined and inspiring experience. When I noticed that clients may discontinue their subscription at any time (with a 30-day notice), I suspected that this was a PEO company that prides itself on providing outstanding PEO services.
I was convinced otherwise by one detail: health care.
As you and every other business owner in North Carolina is aware, health care is a big problem that requires a massive amount of adaptability to meet the unique needs of your employees. Because each employee is unique and has distinct health care requirements, you must provide a variety of coverage options to ensure they get the coverage they need.
Insperity exclusively provides health care plans from a single provider, for whatever reason. Why? I’m not sure. It just does.
This implies that if you pick Insperity as your North Carolina PEO, your employees’ health care options will be significantly restricted, and there is a high likelihood that they won’t get the help they need.
The Best PEO for Your Business
With more than 900 PEO providers now available to small- and medium-sized businesses, as well as big corporations in North Carolina, it can be challenging to find the ideal PEO for your company.
Over the past six years, I’ve spent more than 230 hours researching the industry and have identified the three top-performing companies as Vensure, CoAdvantage, and Amplify PEO.
While these companies would be reputable PEO providers for any North Carolina business, you need a tailored recommendation based on the following factors to choose the best PEO for your business:
- 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 needs.
The Best PEO Selection Process
My procedure for selecting the best PEO is exhaustive. But before I discuss that, there are a few things you should know about me.
Why You Should Trust Me
You can trust my PEO recommendations since I know PEO service providers in North Carolina better than almost anyone else, thanks to my experience establishing my small businesses, as well as assisting others.
My own experience with PEO providers began with my health company. I simply did not have the time to deal with the HR rubbish (payroll processing, compliance, employee benefits, etc.) that were consuming so much of my time. I was too busy learning the fundamentals of starting a small business in North Carolina, such as developing websites, writing articles, and managing my employees.
I tried a staffing company to handle my personnel, but it was insufficient, so I eventually joined a superb professional employer organization.
After handling all of that, I took some time off before launching my second small business in North Carolina—a cafe! It would be an understatement to say that running an online health and lifestyle company was different from running a cafe.
Nevertheless, despite the substantial differences between them, one thing remained constant between both businesses: HR problems. Consequently, I reentered the world of PEOs to fulfill my HR requirements and employee benefits. I studied websites, sifted through reviews, and listened to sales teams attempt to sell me solutions when all I needed were simple answers to my questions. It was a lot of work and information to process! I was ultimately able to identify a business partner who enabled me to expand and develop my small business.
I quickly discovered that I lacked the personality required for hospitality, so I sold my cafe and spent some time pondering my next steps. The solution was suddenly pushed on me when old colleagues from my website and cafe days asked for assistance with their back-end company operations.
The more recommendations I made, the more clients began to approach me, and I began to record my recommendations. Since then, I’ve helped more than 1,200 clients find the right assistance for the development of small businesses, giving me more expertise in the PEO industry than almost anybody else.
How I Selected the Best PEO
My process consists of four stages that progressively reduce the list of over 900 PEO companies down to a short list of finalists.
Stage 1: Reviews
Reading online reviews was the first stage of my analysis.
Most PEO companies that have been in business for more than a year have amassed a plethora of online feedback from clients. This feedback enables me to quickly and effectively determine which PEOs are worth further investigation and which I can exclude from contention without needlessly spending too much time on them.
I combed through the main online review websites to find the PEO companies that do not fulfill the industry norms in terms of product offerings, price, or customer service, and then excluded them from my comprehensive analysis.
Stage 2: Offering Analysis
The PEO industry is not standardized. Different companies provide different services and products at various price ranges.
The second stage of my investigation was to look at which PEOs provide which goods and services at which price points. This helps me to exclude PEOs who either do not provide a comprehensive range of services or offer them for an outrageous fee.
Stage 3: Speaking With Real Customers
Online reviews are a terrific method to get an overall sense of a North Carolina PEO company, but they have two major limitations.
The first constraint is that people normally only post a review if they have had a very pleasant or an absolutely terrible experience with a business. This means that basing your judgment on online customer reviews will give you a skewed image of how the PEO company functions.
The second restriction is one of space. Most internet reviews are only allowed 200 characters or fewer, which is an inadequate way to get an accurate picture of whether a PEO provider is worth using.
To remove these limitations, the next stage of my investigation involved speaking to actual clients. I solicited input from genuine PEO clients using my website and existing ties. I asked detailed questions, received thoughtful responses, and was able to construct the whole picture of what it’s like to work with various PEOs based on the feedback from their clients.
Stage 4: Speaking With Their Sales Teams
I also examined how they handle criticism and negative comments to determine what it’s like to work with each PEO provider in the long run. Is it fixed in its ways, or is it ever changing? Does it attempt to blame its customers, or accept responsibility for its mistakes? These traits and values truly distinguish the A players from the mediocre competitors on the field.
When choosing the best PEO, I used five different rating factors to rate each North Carolina PEO.
Factor 1: Offerings
The first is a list of their product offerings.
There’s no use in working with a North Carolina PEO that you expect to provide things like health insurance or workers’ compensation if they don’t provide workers’ compensation, so I established a complete database of products and PEO services offered by each provider to ensure you choose the best PEO for your business.
Factor 2: Price
The price of each North Carolina PEO was the second thing I examined.
Because the prices of various PEO services may vary greatly from one North Carolina PEO to the next (and this information is only accessible by engaging in a sales call, which is sneaky), I rated each North Carolina PEO according to how much value for money they provide.
Factor 3: Ease of Sign-Up
The third of the rating factors I considered while assessing a North Carolina PEO was how easily you can sign up to its system.
Some North Carolina PEO providers require you to rummage through drawers for obscure bits of information you don’t actually need, while other North Carolina PEOs may extract considerable amounts of your business information from government agencies.
To ensure that you choose a North Carolina PEO that will not waste your time during the onboarding process, I rated each PEO based on how simple and automated its onboarding process is.
Factor 4: Ease of Use
The fourth factor I looked at was how simple a North Carolina PEO system is to use.
Some North Carolina PEOs have spent millions of dollars simplifying and automating their back-end systems, while others have simply grafted new features onto old systems and then published enormous manuals to explain the convoluted navigation systems.
Clearly, collaborating with a customer-focused, user-friendly system is much more preferable to being stuck with an obsolete system. So, to ensure that you choose the best PEO for your North Carolina business, I evaluated each North Carolina PEO based on how simple its system is to use and navigate.
Factor 5: Customer Service
Questions will always exist, no matter how much effort a North Carolina PEO puts into designing a user-friendly system. This is where experienced customer service agents can make or break a user’s experience.
It is not uncommon for some North Carolina PEOs to ignore your calls for hours before finally connecting you to a bored college student who can do nothing except promise to pass your issue along to management (which they never do). Then there are other North Carolina PEOs that get your issues resolved in just minutes, allowing you to get on with your day and focus on other important tasks.
The Best PEO for Your Business
I can’t recommend the best PEO for you without knowing more about your North Carolina business, including its industry, size, number of employees, and desired benefits.
If you enter your information in the following form, I’ll give you a free business analysis and North Carolina PEO recommendation tailored specifically to your company’s needs.
Please fill out the form below and I will assist you in locating a PEO that best meets the requirements of your North Carolina business, at no cost to you. Just submit the form and I’ll do the legwork of matching you with a suitable North Carolina PEO for your business.
If you’d like to learn more about Vensure and take advantage of an 82% discount on their services, then head over to their website.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to use a PEO?
The price of a PEO can vary widely depending on a number of different factors. This can include the PEO you choose, the services you use, the employee benefits you offer, and the number of employees you have. But on average, $1,000–$2,000 per employee per month is a good base number to start with.
How does a PEO charge?
There are two different fee structures used by PEO service providers: flat fee or percentage of payroll.
A flat fee structure charges you a set amount per employee. This is a good option for any business that requires a high level of certainty around their monthly billing.
A percentage of payroll structure is where the PEO charges you a percentage of the wages you pay your employees per month. This is a good option for employers in low-wage industries.
How long does it take to get set up with a PEO?
The setup process for any small business with PEO service providers takes time. They need lots of paperwork from your end and then need to file plenty more with government authorities to get you up and running.
This process can take anywhere between three and six weeks but on average, it usually takes four weeks.
Does it cost to change PEOs?
There are no specific exit fees associated with any of the PEOs we’ve recommended in this article, but due to the extensive setup process, every PEO charges a setup fee. This means that if you decide to leave your PEO for a new PEO, you won’t be charged anything to leave but you will have to pay the setup fee with the new PEO.