The success of your small business depends on finding the best South Carolina professional employer organization (PEO) to help your company grow.
The right PEO will manage human resources and other responsibilities for you, freeing up your time and valuable brain space so you can concentrate on any of the hundreds of business tasks on your list which had to be completed yesterday.
The wrong PEO will drain even more of your already scarce time and financial resources, leaving you without the mental ability or financial means to steer your business in the right direction.
I’ve discovered the top PEO provider in South Carolina after analyzing more than 900 South Carolina PEOs, researching the top 15, and then rating the top 9.
But there’s something you need to know before I give you that recommendation.
The Best PEO Isn't Always the Right PEO
I have spent more time than I want to admit evaluating over 900 different South Carolina PEOs and have determined the PEO with the highest average score across a range of parameters. However, the fact that it received the highest average score does not necessarily mean that it is the best PEO for your South Carolina business.
- Some PEOs have extensive industry expertise and may provide specialized benefits and services.
- Some PEOs have very good working ties with insurance carriers, allowing them to offer a greater variety of health insurance alternatives and lower health insurance costs.
- Some PEOs have extensive roots in the sector of compliance and can guarantee that you adhere to all the state and federal regulations.
The only way to determine which South Carolina PEO is best for your business is to compare your unique business needs to the main benefits of each PEO. This will guarantee you not only choose the PEO with the highest score, but also the PEO with the highest score on the parameters that are most important to you.
Enter your business information here to get a free analysis of your business and needs, as well as a customized recommendation for the ideal PEO for your South Carolina business. I’ll respond to you within 24 hours with your tailored business analysis and PEO recommendation.
If you just want to know which PEO scored the highest, here are my top picks for the best South Carolina PEO.
1. Vensure — 9.45/10 (Best Overall PEO)
Vensure is my choice for the best South Carolina PEO overall because, despite the fact that it doesn’t stand out for any one reason, it handles all your business needs well. You might say that the primary characteristic that distinguishes them from other South Carolina PEOs is the fact that your business will never run into any major issues with it.
Vensure provides all the goods and services expected from a South Carolina PEO:
- Human resources paperwork and HR compliance
- Employee benefits and benefits administration
- Reduced health insurance costs and HR costs
- Tax withholding and expense reporting
- Compliance assistance
- Tax filing
- Retirement plans
- Payroll processing
- Employee contracts
- Dental insurance
- Risk management
- Health insurance
- Workers’ compensation insurance
- Administrative services
- Employee benefits administration
- HR support
Vensure backs all of its South Carolina PEO services up with excellent customer service. If you have a general question, you may send an email and get a response within 24 hours. If you need help straight away, simply pick up the phone and call the customer service line.
One of Vensure’s strongest qualities is that, although it has the technical capacity to satisfy the demands of big businesses, its primary emphasis is on small-to-medium-sized businesses.
This means Vensure can scale up to meet you where you are on your business journey, and where you want to go.
The only real downside to Vensure, if you can call it that, is that it doesn’t excel in any of its PEO services.
- Vensure’s PEO services and product selections are comprehensive, but it doesn’t provide any high-end or unique services.
- Vensure’s customer service will respond immediately to any inquiry you may have, but it won’t do something crazy like send you a birthday card.
- Vensure’s prices are not as cheap as those of other South Carolina PEO companies, but it is reasonable and more than competitive in the South Carolina PEO market. However, Vensure’s prices are not so cheap that it would go out of business to help you get a good price.
The company is excellent overall, but there is no one unique feature or service that will blow you away.
Vensure is my #1 pick since it provides every PEO service that you need, and it does it all well. It provides a comprehensive selection of goods and PEO services at rates that are more affordable than its competition, and it’s all backed by superior customer service.
Vensure’s cost varies depending on the size and needs of your business (the more employees your company has, the more the price varies), so you can request a quote for your company here: Vensure.
2. CoAdvantage PEO — 7.90/10 (Best Customer Service PEO )
CoAdvantage may be my second choice for the best PEO in South Carolina, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a suitable PEO service option for your business. CoAdvantage only narrowly missed taking my top position, and it even has one area that surpasses Vensure PEO’s services.
CoAdvantage provides a full spectrum of South Carolina PEO services, much the same as Vensure. You’ll get everything you expect from a decent professional employer organization (PEO), like health insurance, payroll processing and expense reporting, employee benefits and benefits administration, risk management, workers’ compensation insurance, and other services that help to ensure compliance and help with employee management.
CoAdvantage offers reasonable prices and a really straightforward and user-friendly interface that makes getting set up in the system a breeze.
It definitely has some shortcomings, but there was one area where it really shone: customer service.
In the three customer service tests I conducted, the average response time to emails from customers was 46 minutes, and the average hold time to talk to a customer service representative on the phone was under 2 minutes.
CoAdvantage’s service was not only prompt but also quite helpful. CoAdvantage’s representative responded to my inquiries without the need to pass me along to another agent (or for me to re-explain my issue repeatedly), or get a manager involved.
Although it hasn’t happened yet, the only thing CoAdvantage’s customer service could have done to enhance the service experience and my happiness was to send me a birthday card.
Even though CoAdvantage’s system is user-friendly and their prices are reasonable, it still falls short of Vensure, which is why it missed my top spot.
Sometimes their system was confusing, and I had to phone their excellent customer service team to figure out how to navigate it. Although CoAdvantage’s pricing is excellent, the three quotes I got for my three different fictitious businesses were all around 10% more expensive than Vensure.
These issues aren’t deal breakers for most South Carolina employers, particularly if you value customer service greatly, but they were sufficient for me to drop CoAdvantage down to the number two spot on my list.
CoAdvantage is a fantastic PEO in South Carolina that checks plenty of boxes for businesses. It provides a wide array of South Carolina PEO services, its fees cost less than many other professional employer organizations on the market, and it also provides outstanding customer service. Even if CoAdvantage’s system isn’t the most user-friendly at times and its fees cost a little more than Vensure’s, it’s still a great professional employer organization (PEO) choice for any business, particularly if you place high importance on the customer service of your South Carolina PEO.
As with all South Carolina PEO companies, CoAdvantage’s cost is determined by your needs and company size (the more employees you have, the more the cost changes). So to get a full quote, submit your information here: CoAdvantage.
3. Amplify PEO — 7.41/10 (Best Value PEO)
Amplify PEO is my third PEO recommendation. It’s a good and dependable option if you’re looking for a PEO in South Carolina to serve your business, and it has a competitive price. However, it falls short in a few areas.
Amplify PEO, like the other two entries on my best South Carolina PEO list, provides a full variety of goods and services. Its main benefits include health insurance, employee benefits, payroll processing, workers’ compensation insurance, risk management, and other business solutions to ensure compliance and facilitate employee management.
Amplify’s system is quite simple to get set up with, even though I did have some difficulties navigating it after I was set up. The customer service staff were certainly knowledgeable and able to address my concerns in a timely manner, as well.
But it was in price that Amplify truly excelled. All three quotes I got for my fictional businesses were the three cheapest, with the quote I got for my small business being the lowest cost of any South Carolina PEO company I talked to. And this quote contains every option available in the other quotes from other South Carolina PEO companies, demonstrating how excellent their value is.
Amplify PEO is without a doubt an excellent deal, and the lowest cost PEO in South Carolina, but there are certain limitations to its services, as I’ve previously stated.
Once I was logged in to Amplify’s system and ready to go, I ran into a few problems with the system’s navigation, making it difficult for me to do a few HR tasks that are considered to be quite routine.
I reached out to the customer support team for help with these problems, and although they answered within a decent amount of time, the service I got from them was in no way comparable to the support I received from CoAdvantage’s customer service team.
Amplify is a good South Carolina PEO, but it isn’t exceptional in any aspect of its services.
Amplify PEO is a professional employer organization company that is dependable, well supported, and offers competitive costs. Even though the system may be a bit clumsy at times and may be difficult for individuals who don’t have good technical skills, and in spite of the fact that the assistance is not the most helpful or patient, Amplify was the South Carolina PEO that provided me with the lowest quote.
Amplify’s costs, much like the pricing of the other South Carolina PEO companies on my list, is contingent on many factors, such as your needs and the size of your South Carolina business and how many employees you have. So if you want a full quote for your business, contact Amplify here: Amplify PEO.
Justworks, a rising contender in the South Carolina PEO industry, was founded in 2012 and is now in the process of growing to provide services to not just South Carolina employers, but businesses across the United States.
Justworks, like the other South Carolina PEO companies on the list, provides all the services you need for your business. Some of the services Justworks offers include health insurance, employee benefits, workers’ compensation insurance, risk management, payroll services, and other solutions to help you with things like compliance, tax filings, and helping you manage your employees. You’ll be left with less paperwork and it’ll reduce costs like the other professional employer organizations on the list.
But transparency is a benefit offered by Justworks that is not available from any of the other South Carolina PEO companies on my list.
Anyone can check out Justworks’ price structure because it’s listed publicly on the website. This was a major bonus in an industry that goes to great lengths to conceal its prices and requires prospective clients to first divulge their needs before receiving price estimates.
But the age of Justworks, which is a crucial factor in the field of professional employer organizations, is the reason I put it in fourth place.
The whole process of joining a PEO company and getting your business established in its system is one that takes a significant amount of time. It’s not something that your business can afford to go through once again just because the start-up PEO that you selected goes out of business.
Before entrusting Justworks with your company, you should allow them a few more years to solidify their position in the professional employer organization industry and demonstrate that it is here to stay for the foreseeable future.
You can learn more about Justworks by going to the website, which can be found here: Justworks.
5. Infiniti HR
Within the competitive landscape of professional employer organizations, Infiniti HR has distinguished itself as a standout contender.
It provides the whole scope of HR support and services that you’d expect from a PEO in South Carolina, such as insurance and employee benefits, workers’ compensation insurance, risk mitigation, payroll services, and other business solutions to help you manage your employees, as well as reducing HR costs and providing less paperwork. In addition to more traditional PEO services, Infiniti goes above and beyond by also providing assistance with employee recruitment. If your experiences are anything like other South Carolina employers, you’ll be aware of the incredible value of one fantastic employee. As a result, assistance in choosing stellar employees is a huge advantage to any business owner.
The disadvantage of Infiniti is the same as that of Justworks; namely, its young age. Infiniti is an infant in the professional employer organization industry, only 10 years old. It lacks the proven track record of some of the more established PEO companies. So you should wait a few more years before signing your South Carolina business up for its services.
Trinet is the professional employer organization that has been around the longest and has the greatest credibility. It started out in 1988 and has grown to include more than 16,000 companies and over 330,000 employees under its banner.
It provides every PEO service you could possibly want from a PEO in South Carolina and checks all the boxes. Some of its services include various types of insurance and employee benefits, benefit management, workers’ compensation, risk mitigation, payroll management, and other services that will help reduce costs, manage your employees, and result in less paperwork. But it seems to depend on its well-established name in the professional employer organization industry to draw in clients, rather than actually providing quality services.
Trinet’s customer service staff doesn’t go above and beyond: they don’t innovate and provide new solutions for already existing issues; they aren’t not eager to impress; and they don't strive to acquire your business because they know they’ll get plenty of new clients anyway.
This means that even though TriNet will be a dependable, consistent, and functioning South Carolina PEO company, it will never surpass the standards set by other PEO companies, or the expectations you have of them.
7. Oasis Outsourcing
Oasis is another company that belongs to the PEO industry’s “old guard.” It has been providing services to small businesses for almost 20 years, and PayChex recently bought it (although it still operates under its own name).
Oasis provides all the services you need from a South Carolina PEO company, including insurance and employee benefits, benefit management, payroll services, workers’ compensation, risk mitigation, assistance with tax filings, and other tools to help manage your employees while minimizing HR costs. It also provides a variety of industry-specific services targeting banking, retail, hospitality, and education (among others). However, in the end, it scored poorly due to its policy of only allowing for 12-month contracts.
The professional employer organization industry norm is month-to-month contracts, and it appears both odd and pointless to tie prospective customers down for a whole year. So, Oasis lost points for this.
8. ADP Totalsource
ADP Totalsource is considered a “big boy” of the professional employer organization industry since it provides PEO services in more than 140 different countries. It provides a whole spectrum of PEO services, such as insurance and employee benefits, benefit management, workers’ compensation, payroll services, and other features to aid with employee management and provide reduced HR costs. In addition to its usual PEO services, it also provides industry-specific services, much as Oasis Outsourcing does.
The fact that ADP Totalsource’s customer support team is accessible not only to you, the owner of the company, but also to your employees is one of the most notable advantages of this South Carolina PEO company. If any of your employees have issues regarding payroll services, benefits, tax rates, or any other HR or management-related problem, rather than contacting you for the answer, they can call ADP to get it. It will be a huge relief to you not to have to deal with these time-consuming phone calls anymore.
The disadvantage of using ADP Totalsource is the same as with TriNet. When you join ADP as a small business, you are virtually irrelevant to its overall operations, and as a result, you do not get the attention that is necessary for your business to succeed.
In spite of all the ways in which it might have fulfilled my expectations, Insperity is a professional employer organization company whose services did not live up to its potential.
The promise was inspired by Insperity’s 30-year track record of winning awards for its PEO services. Seeing this gave me reason to believe that working with Insperity would be an uncomplicated and liberating experience. When I noticed that it lets you terminate your subscription whenever you want (as long as you give 30 days notice), I had the impression that this may be a business that prides itself on providing excellent services.
One particular aspect, namely health care, persuaded me otherwise.
As any business owner is aware, providing health insurance and benefits to employees is a HUGE challenge that calls for an enormous amount of flexibility in order to meet the various requirements of each employee. Because every employee is unique and has specific needs when it comes to health insurance and benefits coverage, you need to provide a wide variety of alternatives to choose from so that you can fulfill all of your employees’ requirements.
Insperity only provides health insurance and benefits plans from one provider, for whatever reason. Just one. Why? I really have no idea.
This means that if you pick Insperity as your South Carolina professional employer organization, your employees will have severely restricted choices for health insurance and employee benefits, and there’s a strong probability that they won’t get the coverage they need.
The Best PEO for Your Business
It might be challenging to locate the best professional employer organization for your company with more than 900 PEO companies now available for businesses of any size.
I’ve studied the PEO market for more than 230 hours over the past six years and have identified Vensure, CoAdvantage, and Amplify PEO as my top three recommendations.
Even though these PEO companies are trustworthy providers for every business, you need a unique and specialized PEO recommendation based on:
- The number of employees on your payroll
- What you want the South Carolina 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 or South Carolina)
- 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 South Carolina 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
I went through a lengthy vetting process to find the best South Carolina PEO. But before I tell you about my process, there are a few things you should know about me.
Why You Should Trust Me
You can rely on my recommendations because I’ve got more experience and knowledge of the PEO industry than nearly anyone else in the world, having built two small businesses and assisting others to find the right PEO services for their businesses.
I first dealt with PEO companies with my health company. I was so busy trying to learn the fundamentals of starting a small business (like trying to develop websites, write articles, and manage my employees) that I just didn’t have time to take care of all the human resources foolishness and employee benefits stuff that was taking up so much of my time.
I tried using a staffing company to handle my employees, but it was just not enough, so I decided to join a fantastic professional employer organization.
I took a break after dealing with all of that before starting my second small business: a cafe! It would be an understatement to say that it was different from running a small online business.
However, despite the stark contrasts, one thing remained the same in both small businesses: HR misery. In order to fulfill my HR obligations and stay on top of employee benefits management, I once again plunged into the world of South Carolina PEO companies. I read websites, perused reviews, and listened to sales teams attempt to sell their services when I truly only needed simple clarifications. It was a LOT of information to take in. Eventually I was able to build and expand my small business in South Carolina thanks to the perfect PEO partner.
I quickly came to the conclusion that I lacked the personality required for the hospitality industry, so I sold my cafe and took some time to consider what I should do with my life. When old acquaintances from the website and cafe days contacted me for assistance with their back-end company operations, the solution was abruptly thrust upon me.
As more people sought me out as a result of my PEO recommendations, I ultimately began documenting them. Since then, I’ve assisted more than 1,200 people in finding the right help for developing their small businesses, which has given me more expertise than almost anybody else in the professional employer organization industry.
How I Selected the Best PEO
My method, which consists of four stages, systematically eliminates candidates from the list of more than 900 South Carolina PEO providers.
Stage 1: Reviews
I started my analysis by reading online reviews.
The majority of South Carolina PEO providers that have been in operation for more than a year have amassed a plethora of online client reviews. With the help of this feedback, I can quickly and effectively determine which PEO services need further investigation and which ones I can exclude from consideration without wasting too much time on them.
I looked at the most popular review websites to find South Carolina PEO providers who didn’t fulfill the minimum requirements for PEO service, support, or cost so I could eliminate them from more thorough research.
Stage 2: Offering Analysis
The PEO industry in South Carolina is not uniform. Different PEO providers supply various goods and PEO services, and they do so at various costs.
The assessment of which goods and services are provided by which PEO companies and at which costs became the second stage of my investigation. This enables me to rule out any professional employer organization that doesn’t provide a comprehensive range of PEO services, or who do so at exorbitant prices.
Stage 3: Speaking With Real Customers
Online reviews are a fantastic method to get an overall sense of a PEO business, but they have two significant drawbacks.
The first drawback is that, in general, most people only post reviews when they’ve had either an extraordinarily fantastic or a horrendously awful experience. This means that basing your judgment of a PEO company on online customer reviews will give you a skewed impression of how the PEO business functions.
The second drawback involves space. The majority of online reviews are only 200 characters or fewer, which is not enough to fully determine whether a South Carolina PEO service is worthwhile to use.
The next stage of my investigation included speaking with actual consumers to get around these drawbacks. Through my website and other connections, I got in touch with actual South Carolina PEO clients and solicited their opinions. I posed detailed inquiries, received thoughtful responses, and was able to get a thorough picture of what it’s like to deal with different PEO companies.
Stage 4: Speaking With Their Sales Teams
In order to gauge what it would be like to deal with a South Carolina PEO company in the long term, I looked at how they respond to criticism and negative feedback. Are they rigid in their beliefs and practices, or do they change all the time? Do they attempt to place the blame on their clients, or do they accept responsibility for their mistakes? These qualities and ideals allow the real A players to stand out from the rest of the South Carolina PEO companies on the field.
I used five different rating factors in order to rate each South Carolina PEO and choose the best PEO.
Factor 1: Offerings
The first factor is a list of the products and services each South Carolina PEO offers.
If your business needs workers’ compensation insurance and a PEO company doesn’t offer workers’ compensation, there’s no use in working with them to handle your needs. To ensure that you choose the best South Carolina PEO to meet your needs, I compiled a detailed database of all the services and products each South Carolina PEO company provides.
Factor 2: Price
My second criterion for evaluating each South Carolina PEO was their cost.
Since the costs of various PEO services can vary greatly amongst different PEO companies, I assessed each South Carolina PEO company based on how much value they offered for the money.
Factor 3: Ease of Sign-up
The simplicity of signing up to their system was the third factor I looked at when evaluating each South Carolina PEO company.
While some PEO companies may get a significant portion of your information through government agencies, other PEO companies require you to spend weeks digging through drawers in search of obscure bits of information you don’t actually need.
I evaluated the onboarding procedure of each South Carolina PEO company to ensure that you choose a PEO company that won’t waste your time.
Factor 4: Ease of Use
How simple a PEO system is to use is the fourth factor I considered.
Some PEO companies have spent millions to simplify and automate their back-end systems because the user experience is their top concern. In contrast, some PEO companies have merely added features to old systems and then produced extensive manuals to describe their intricate navigation methods.
Partnering with a South Carolina PEO company with a user-friendly, customer-focused system is unquestionably preferable to being forced to use an antiquated legacy system. So that you can make an informed decision, I evaluated the system of each South Carolina PEO service for usability and navigational ease.
Factor 5: Customer Service
No matter how much effort or money a South Carolina PEO service puts into developing an intuitive system, there will always be questions. Good customer service is crucial in these instances.
Some South Carolina PEO services will keep you on the phone for hours until you finally speak to a bored college student who can only offer to escalate your issue to management (which they never do). Then there are other South Carolina PEO services that will respond to your call in a matter of minutes and resolve your issue in even less time, allowing you to get on with the rest of your day.
The Best PEO for Your Business
While Vensure is a fantastic South Carolina PEO option for the majority of small businesses, it’s hard to recommend the right South Carolina PEO for your business without a thorough understanding of your business and current circumstances.
I can’t suggest the right South Carolina PEO for your circumstance until I know your industry, size, the number of employees you have, and the benefits you want to provide (as well as other things).
If you’d like a personalized South Carolina PEO recommendation tailored specifically for your business, as well as a free business analysis, then enter your information and business details below.
After you submit the form, I’ll assist you for no charge by locating the best South Carolina PEO for your business requirements and circumstances.
Enter your business information here to take the hard work out of finding the best South Carolina PEO for your small business.
If you’ve yet to form your business and you’d like to know more about forming an LLC, check out my “How to Start a South Carolina LLC” article.
If you’ve never formed an LLC before or want help taking the work out of the process, read more about the best South Carolina LLC services.
While you’re here learning about PEO services, it’s a good time to choose a registered agent. A registered agent is a person or business who accepts mail and legal documents on behalf of your company during business hours. For more information about what a registered agent can do for you, check out my article on the best South Carolina registered agents.
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.