Choosing a professional employer organization (PEO) for your Virginia business is a crucial decision because the right PEO will support your company and help it grow.
The right PEO will not only give you more free time and less stress by handling important HR tasks and less paperwork to deal with so that you can run your business, but will also help you save money by reducing HR costs, which makes it worth the effort to outsource your human resources tasks.
The wrong PEO will cost far more money than its worth and jeopardize your precious free time, leaving you ill-equipped to manage your company and keep it moving in the right direction.
I assessed more than 900 different professional employer organizations, investigated the top 15, then rated the top 9, and all of this led me to choose the best PEO Virginia has to offer.
But before I give you my recommendation for the best professional employer organization in Virginia, I need to tell you something.
The Best PEO Isn't Always the Right PEO
It took hundreds of hours to research my original list of over 900 professional employer organizations to find the best Virginia PEO by choosing the company with the highest overall score across a variety of metrics. But just because a professional employer organization has the best score overall doesn’t mean that it will be the best PEO for your Virginia business.
- Some professional employer organizations have extensive experience in specific business industries and offer important services that are uniquely helpful to business owners in those industries.
- Some professional employer organizations have made it a point to establish good relationships with health insurance providers, and can therefore offer their clients better health insurance rates, better benefits, lots of insurance options, and excellent employee wellness programs.
- Some professional employer organizations specialize in HR compliance and can make sure your business adheres to Virginia regulations and avoids legal issues.
There’s only one way to make sure that you choose the right PEO for your Virginia business, and that’s to compare the needs of your company against the key features of each of the PEO providers on this list. This will result in choosing the best Virginia PEO for your company based on metrics that matter to you, and not just the best overall PEO.
If you’d like a free, no-strings-attached business analysis and PEO recommendation, fill out the form below and submit it. After you’ve submitted the form, I’ll contact you within 24 hours with your analysis and PEO recommendation.
If you just want to find out about which PEOs got the highest scores, here are my recommendations for the best PEO in Virginia.
1. Vensure — 9.45/10 (Best Overall PEO)
I chose Vensure as the best Virginia PEO because even if they don’t provide any truly unique services, they do cover all the services you need, and they do everything well. The thing that makes them different from other PEO service providers on my list is that you’ll never run into any major problems with them.
They provide all of the Virginia PEO services you need for your company:
- Human resources outsourcing
- Benefits management
- Tax withholding
- Compliance assistance
- Tax forms
- Payroll services
- Employee management
- Dental insurance
- Risk management
- Health insurance
- Workers’ compensation insurance
- Administrative services
- Employee benefits administration
- HR support
They also have good customer support to bolster their services. You can usually get a response back to emails within 24 hours, but if you have an urgent problem you can call them instead.
Another great aspect of Vensure’s services is that they have the technological muscle to serve even the largest Virginia businesses, but they choose to focus on small- and medium-sized businesses. This means that no matter where you are on your business journey, they can support you.
There’s only one downside to Vensure’s PEO services. While they provide good services, there aren’t any services or features that really set them apart from other Virginia professional employer organizations.
- Vensure is a full solution that provides all the PEO services you need, but you won’t find any luxury or premium services among their offerings.
- Their customer service team does an adequate job of answering questions and solving problems, and they respond to inquiries in a reasonable amount of time, but they don’t add any personal touches, like sending a card for your birthday.
- Their pricing is just low enough to compete with other Virginia PEOs, but it’s not the lowest on the market, and they’re definitely not pricing their services so low that they’ll go out of business just to get you good rates.
So, while Vensure offers many good PEO services, there’s not one service they provide that really stands out.
I chose Vensure as my #1 choice because they offer a full range of services, and they provide them all efficiently. Even better, they have good prices and a supportive customer service team to back their services up.
Like most other PEOs in Virginia, Vensure bases its prices on factors like how big your company is, how many employees you have, and which services you select. Click here to get a quote for your business: Vensure.
2. CoAdvantage PEO — 7.90/10 (Best Customer Service PEO )
CoAdvantage PEO may be my second choice, but don’t let that fool you into thinking it’s not a good choice. It only missed out on my #1 position by a narrow margin, and they do outperform Vensure in one area.
CoAdvantage PEO is another professional employer organization in Virginia that offers a full range of PEO services. They provide HR outsourcing, health insurance, payroll services, workers’ compensation, and assistance with things like compliance and taxes.
They offer competitive prices, and it’s easy to get set up with their system.
But the one area where they really stand out is their customer service.
I ran three different customer service tests, and I found that their average response times for emails was 46 minutes. And the average wait time to speak to a customer service representative was under two minutes.
It’s one thing to find lightning-fast customer service response times, but their agents were also incredibly helpful. They were able to answer my questions without transferring me to another agent (I didn’t have to keep repeating my problem to various agents), and they didn’t have to get a manager involved.
While they didn’t add any exceptional personal touches, like sending me a birthday card, that’s really the only thing they could do to improve the customer service experience, in my opinion.
The reason CoAdvantage didn’t win my #1 spot is that although their system is relatively easy to use and they have good prices, they fall short of Vensure on both accounts.
There were times when their system was difficult and confusing to use, so I had to phone CoAdvantage’s excellent customer service team, which was able to walk me through my problems.
Although they offer good rates, all three quotes I got averaged out to be around 10% more than Vensure’s.
So while they provide a lot of good Virginia PEO services, they don’t provide any great services.
CoAdvantage is a great professional employer organization option, and they’ll check nearly any PEO boxes you could have for your business.
They have competitive prices and they back it all up with outstanding customer service. They fall behind in some aspects of their service (their rates could be lower, and their computer system could be more user-friendly), but these are drawbacks that many people would be willing to look over to get world-class customer service.
Of course, as with every professional employer organization in Virginia, CoAdvantage PEO bases its prices on the size of your business, the number of employees you have, the PEO options you choose, etc. To get a quote for your business from CoAdvantage, click here: CoAdvantage.
3. Amplify PEO — 7.41/10 (Best Value PEO)
Amplify PEO is my third option for the best PEO in Virginia. They’re a good choice with excellent prices, but I was disappointed by some aspects of their services.
Amplify PEO is another full-service Virginia PEO. This means that they offer health care benefits and insurance options, HR tasks and outsourcing, payroll management, and assistance with compliance and taxes.
It’s pretty easy to get set up in their system, and their customer support team is able to adequately answer any technical or HR question you may have within a decent amount of time.
The area they really stand out in is their pricing. The three price quotes I got from them are the top three quotes I got, with the quote I received for my small business ranking #1. To really highlight how spectacular their prices are, I chose every service option, and they were still the cheapest.
Amplify may have the best PEO prices in Virginia, but there are some limitations to their services.
Like I said, it was easy to get set up in their system. But once I was inside, I found it difficult to navigate, even just for routine tasks.
I contacted their customer service team for help with these navigational issues, and they were able to answer my questions competently. But they weren’t nearly as prompt or as helpful as CoAdvantage’s customer service team.
So, their services are good, but not great.
Amplify is a solid PEO company with satisfactory customer service and remarkable prices. It can be a little confusing to navigate their system at times, and their customer service pales in comparison to CoAdvantage’s. But if you’re looking for a PEO with low prices, then you won’t find a PEO with better prices.
Because of the way that PEO companies price their services, they need information about the size of your company, the number of employees you have, etc. To get a quote for your business from Amplify, click here: Amplify PEO.
Justworks is new to the Virginia PEO industry. It was launched in 2012 and has since grown to service businesses nationwide.
Like the other professional employer organizations on my list, they’re a full-service PEO option. They offer health care benefits and insurance, payroll management, workers’ compensation, and assistance with taxes and compliance.
But they provide something the other Virginia PEO companies don’t: transparency.
Unlike other professional employer organizations, Justworks lists their pricing structure publicly on their website. This is a breath of fresh air because the entire PEO industry relies on forcing clients to divulge information about their companies and their needs and completing a sales call to find out about pricing.
But I had to rank Justworks at #4 because of their inexperience on the market. In the PEO industry, age and an established track record are vital.
It takes a long time to get set up with a new PEO, and a lot of work. This is time and effort that most people can’t afford to repeat in the event that the start-up PEO they chose suddenly ceases operations.
So, I recommend waiting a few years before trusting Justworks with your business.
5. Infiniti HR
Infiniti HR is a professional employer organization that has found a way to make itself stand out among other organizations.
Like the other companies on my list, they offer insurance and employee benefits packages, workers’ compensation, payroll management, and they’ll assist you with things like taxes and compliance.
But they also offer something that none of the PEO providers on my list do: employee recruitment assistance. Any business owner who has had the pleasure of working with a good employee knows how beneficial one good employee can be for the whole company. If you hire the right employees, you won’t have to spend as much time on employee training and hiring new employees. That’s why the fact that Infiniti offers employee recruitment is such a big deal.
There is one downside to Infiniti’s services. Like Justworks, they’re too young to be considered an established Virginia PEO. They’ve only been in business for a decade. So, I would advise that you give them some more time to get established on the market before you partner up with them.
TriNet is the oldest professional employer organization on the market today. Since their launch in 1988, they’ve grown to over 16,000 companies and more than 30,000 employees.
They provide all the basic services that you would expect from a PEO company in Virginia. They offer various insurance and benefits packages, workers’ compensation, payroll management, and they’ll assist you with things like compliance and taxes.
However, as I said, these are pretty basic services and they’ve made no effort over the years to perfect them. It seems that TriNet uses their reputation in the PEO industry to lure new Virginia businesses to their client list, rather than offering a superior product.
Their customer service isn’t anything to write home about, they don’t work to mitigate or find solutions to existing problems with their services or within the professional employer organization industry in Virginia, and they don’t work to impress prospective clients or obtain their business. They know that if you don’t sign up for their Virginia PEO services, other client companies will, so one client won’t make or break their bottom line.
Overall, TriNet is a good, reliable PEO, but they’re not providing anything that exceeds the Virginia PEO industry standards, and they’ll never go above and beyond to meet your expectations.
7. Oasis Outsourcing
Oasis is another PEO company in Virginia that’s been in business for quite a while and has established itself on the market. They’ve been providing PEO services to client companies in Virginia for more than 20 years. They were recently acquired by another company called PayChex, but they still operate under the Oasis name.
They offer the basic services you need from a Virginia professional employer organization, like insurance and benefit packages for your employees, workers’ compensation, and they’ll help you with things like your taxes.
They’re also one of the Virginia PEO companies I mentioned that offers industry-specific services as well. Some of the industries they provide specialized services for include retail, hospitality, education, and banking, just to name a few.
The reason Oasis is so far down my list is they have an unusual policy of locking their clients into 12-month contracts. Nearly every other PEO company in Virginia works with their clients on a month-by-month basis, so Oasis’s 12-month contracts are just weird and unnecessary. Of course, they lost some major points for that.
8. ADP Totalsource
ADP is a huge PEO company that operates not just in Virginia, but in over 140 different countries around the world.
They offer the basic services that you’d expect from a PEO in Virginia. This means they’ll provide you with HR resources and insurance plans for your employees. They also offer a number of industry-specific options.
Their most useful feature is that as the business owner, you’re not the only person who has access to their customer service. Your employees have access to their customer service, too. This cuts out the middleman and means that when your employees have HR concerns or questions about their insurance plans, they can call ADP directly instead of calling you. Any service that allows you to eliminate phone calls and lessen your workload is a boon in the business world.
The major drawback of ADP is the same as TriNet’s. Small companies using ADP will get lost among their thousands of large companies they also serve, which means that your business will never get the support it needs to succeed and grow.
I had a lot of hope for Insperity, but it ultimately disappointed me.
I was initially hopeful when I learned that Insperity has been on the market in Virginia for more than 30 years and has won many awards for their products and services. I also liked the fact that they allow you to cancel your service any time (as long as you give them 30 days notice). So, at that point in my research I thought that this was a Virginia PEO that offered superior services.
But I changed my mind when I investigated further and learned about their health care options.
Insperity only offers insurance from one insurance provider. As a business owner, you know how important insurance is. Because each of your employees is different, they all have unique health care needs, and it requires a variety of insurance options to ensure that your employees get the coverage they need.
There’s no explanation for why they only offer insurance from one provider. They just do.
Needless to say, if you choose Insperity as your Virginia PEO, it’s likely that your employees won’t receive the insurance coverage they need.
The Best PEO for Your Business
There are more than 900 different PEO companies in Virginia, so it can be quite overwhelming to choose one for your business.
I spent more than 230 hours researching the PEO industry in Virginia and it led me to discover the three best PEOs in Virginia: Vensure, CoAdvantage, and Amplify PEO.
These companies are safe bets for any business in Virginia, but to find the best PEO for your company you’ll need to get a personalized recommendation for your Virginia business based on the following factors:
- 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 Virginia business, simply enter your details below and I will provide a free assessment of your company needs.
The Best PEO Selection Process
I used an extensive process to choose the best PEO. But before I tell you about my process, you need to know a bit about me.
Why You Should Trust Me
I know the PEO industry in Virginia better than nearly anyone else on the planet (including some of the people that work for the Virginia PEOs on my list)—both because of all the research I’ve conducted on the Virginia PEO industry, and because of my personal experience in using PEOs for my two small businesses, which is why you can trust my recommendations.
I started learning about Virginia PEOs when I started my first small business, an online health care business. I was completely overwhelmed by learning all of the various tasks involved with starting a small business—designing websites, writing articles, and managing my employees—so I didn’t have time to deal with all of the HR tasks that were piling up.
I first hired a staffing company to help me manage my employees. But that wasn’t enough to alleviate my HR woes. Eventually, I found an excellent PEO company in Virginia.
After that frustrating experience, I took some time off before I chose to open my next business—a cafe! It’s a vast understatement to say that my online health care business was different from my cafe.
But even though my two businesses were so different, I found that I encountered a common problem with them both: HR headaches. So, I began researching Virginia PEOs once more. I analyzed websites, read through countless online reviews, and listened to lots of sales pitches from sales teams when I only wanted simple answers to simple questions. It was a LOT to take in, but it led me to find the right PEO for my business in Virginia.
Eventually it became apparent to me that I don’t have the right personality to run a business in the hospitality industry, so I sold my cafe. Again, I took a break to figure out my next move. As so often happens, the answer came to me unexpectedly when my friends and colleagues started coming to me for advice about how to best handle their back-end business operations.
I noticed that the more recommendations I made, the more people came to me for Virginia PEO recommendations. I started writing down my recommendations, and since then I’ve helped more than 1,200 people find the right Virginia PEO for their businesses. All of these experiences have given me more expertise on the Virginia PEO industry than nearly anyone else.
How I Selected the Best PEO
I used a four-stage method that chipped away at a list of more than 900 different Virginia PEOs to leave me with a short list of candidates.
Stage 1: Reviews
The first stage consisted of reading online reviews for each of the Virgina PEOs on my list.
Any Virginia PEO company that has been in business for longer than a year should have accumulated a significant amount of online feedback from its consumers. I used this feedback to identify and weed out the companies that weren’t worthy of further investigation and remove them from my list of the best PEOs in Virginia.
I read reviews on major online review platforms in order to identify the Virginia PEOs that didn’t meet basic product or industry standards, pricing, or customer service so that I could eliminate them from my investigation process.
Stage 2: Offering Analysis
Unfortunately, the PEO industry in Virginia isn’t uniform. Different Virginia PEOs offer different services, and prices vary wildly from one Virginia PEO to the next.
This is why the second stage of my investigation involved checking out the products and services offered by each Virginia PEO, as well as their prices. This allowed me to eliminate the Virginia PEOs that either didn’t offer sufficient services or offered them at rates that were overly expensive.
Stage 3: Speaking with Real Customers
Although online reviews are a good way to get a general overview of a Virginia PEO, they have their limitations.
The first limitation is that people generally don’t provide online reviews unless they’ve either had a really good experience, or a catastrophically bad experience with a Virginia business. This means that you can’t base your judgements of Virginia PEOs solely off of online reviews because they don’t provide you with the whole picture.
The second limitation is the amount of space that customers are provided to leave reviews. Most online review sites only allow reviews of 200 characters or less, which simply isn’t a sufficient amount of information for anyone to learn enough about a Virginia PEO to decide whether or not they’re worth partnering with.
To get around the drawbacks of online reviews, I spoke to real customers of the Virginia PEOs on my list. I did this by reaching out to customers on my site, as well as talking to people I already knew who had used these Virginia PEOs. I asked them in-depth questions about the services, and they provided me with detailed answers. This stage gave me enough information to form a clear idea of what working with each Virginia PEO is like.
Stage 4: Speaking with Their Sales Teams
Another important aspect of learning about Virginia PEO services is finding out how they handle feedback or criticism. So, for the last stage of my investigation I called their sales teams and took note of how they reacted to this feedback. Does the Virginia PEO company continually grow and evolve, or are they stubbornly set in their ways? Do they take responsibility for their mistakes, or do they try to blame their customers? These factors separate the best Virginia PEOs from the worst.
These are the five factors I used to rate each of the Virginia PEOs on my list.
Factor 1: Offerings
The first rating factor is their product offerings.
It doesn’t make any sense to partner with a Virginia PEO for a specific type of insurance if that Virginia PEO doesn’t offer the insurance you want. So I made a comprehensive list of each of the services that the Virginia PEOs on my list provide to ensure that you get the services you need.
Factor 2: Price
I also rated the Virginia PEOs based on their prices.
You’ll quickly find that the products and prices vary widely between different Virginia PEOs. Furthermore, you can’t access this information without participating in a sales call, which is quite sneaky. So I rated the Virginia PEOs on my list based on the value for money that their services provide.
Factor 3: Ease of Sign-up
The third rating factor I considered was how easy it is to sign up for services with each of the Virginia PEOs on my list.
Some Virginia PEOs require you to spend weeks rummaging through drawers to find bits of obscure information, while others get most of this information from government websites, which automates their sign-up process.
So I rated the Virginia PEOs on my list on how simple and automated their sign-up process is.
Factor 4: Ease of Use
I also considered how easy it is to use each Virginia PEO’s system.
Some PEOs make it a point to spend millions of dollars on updated servers and focus on user- friendly navigation. Others simply continue to use outdated servers but tack on new features and then justify it by writing gigantic user manuals that attempt to explain their system’s complex navigation.
Of course you should look for Virginia PEOs with user- friendly, automated systems so that you don’t get stuck using a clunky, outdated system, which is why I chose to rate the PEOs on my list based on how easy their systems are to use.
Factor 5: Customer Service
It doesn’t matter how much money a Virginia PEO has put into their system or how automated it is, you’ll eventually run into a problem or have a question, and be forced to contact customer service. It’s during these times that your customer service experience can make or break your opinion of a PEO company.
There are some Virginia PEOs that will make you wait on hold for hours only to be connected with an inexperienced agent who doesn’t know how to help you, but promises to escalate your issue to management (which never actually happens). Others answer your call quickly and solve your problems even faster, which frees you up to complete other important work.
The Best PEO for Your Business
Vensure is a great option for many businesses in Virginia, but it’s not possible for me to make an accurate PEO recommendation for your business without learning more about your specific needs and circumstances.
I need to know things like which industry your business is in, how big it is, how many employees you have, the type of insurance and benefits you want to offer, etc.
If you’d like to receive a free business analysis and a Virginia PEO recommendation, fill out the form below and submit it.
Within 24 hours I’ll contact you with your personalized business analysis and PEO recommendation.
In the meantime, you should consider choosing a business structure. You have several options, such as a corporation, partnership, sole proprietorship, or limited liability company (LLC). If you’d like to learn more about how to form an LLC, check out my article about how to start an LLC in Virginia.
Any business owner considering forming an LLC should also think about using an LLC formation service. These businesses are designed to take the work out of LLC formation. For more information about LLC formation services, read my article about the best LLC services in Virginia.
You should also consider hiring a registered agent. A registered agent is a person or business entity that accepts mail, service of process, and legal documents on behalf of your company during business hours. If you’d like to learn more about what a registered agent can do for you, check out my article about the best registered agents in Virginia.
Frequently Asked Questions
How much does it cost to use a PEO?
How much you pay for PEO services depends on a number of factors, such as which PEO service you choose, the insurance and services you choose, the size of your business, and the number of employees you have. But, in general, $1,000–$2,000 per month per employee is a good baseline price.
How does a PEO charge?
PEO service providers typically use two different pricing structures: flat fee or percentage of payroll fee.
If they use a flat fee structure, then a predetermined amount is charged per employee each month. This is a good option for any business owner that needs a high level of certainty on monthly invoices or who simply doesn’t want any billing surprises.
If they use a percentage of payroll structure, then they charge a percentage of the overall payroll wages you pay to your employees each month. This makes percentage of payroll fees a good idea for companies in low-wage industries because you’ll pay less in PEO fees.
How long does it take to get set up with a PEO?
It’s important to know that it takes time to get set up and established with a new PEO company. This is because they need a lot of paperwork and documents from you, but they have to file even more paperwork with the government to get your services started.
It usually takes between three and six weeks to get everything running, but on average it takes about four weeks.
Does it cost to change PEOs?
None of the PEOs on my list charge an exit fee. However, every PEO charges a setup fee. This is because of the lengthy and laborious setup process. So, while you won’t pay a fee to leave your current PEO, you will be charged a start-up fee from your new PEO.
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