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TriNet vs. ADP Comparison

Updated Jan 25, 2024

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Skye Schooley
Senior Lead Analyst & Expert on Business Operations at business.com
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Many small and midsize businesses (SMBs) turn to a professional employer organization (PEO) to help with their human resources functions. TriNet and ADP are leading PEOs that use a co-employment model to provide employee recruitment and onboarding, payroll processing and tax filing, benefits administration, performance management, regulatory compliance assistance, and more. We’ll compare their pricing, HR services, payroll, benefits administration, usability and customer support to help businesses choose the best PEO for their needs.  

TriNet vs. ADP

TriNet vs. ADP Highlights

TriNet and ADP are among the best PEO services around; both are certified by the Employer Services Assurance Corp. (ESAC) and the IRS. However, these solutions have differences, so the best choice for your business will depend on your specific HR needs. 

Feature

TriNet

ADP

Starting monthly price

Custom pricing

Custom pricing with add-on options

HR services

  • HR administration
  • Recruitment
  • Onboarding
  • Training
  • Document storage
  • Reporting
  • Risk and compliance
  • Termination
  • HR administration
  • Recruitment
  • Onboarding
  • Handbook creation
  • Training
  • Document management
  • Reporting
  • Risk and compliance
  • Unemployment claims administration
  • Workers comp and claims management
  • Workplace safety

Payroll and benefits administration

In-house (payroll is required)

In-house (payroll is required)

Ease of use

Intuitive and user-friendly

Intuitive and user-friendly

Customer support

Phone, email, live chat, HR experts, industry-specific specialists

Phone, email, HR experts

Who Is TriNet For?

TriNet is an ideal PEO for businesses with fewer than 250 employees. TriNet can connect your organization with industry-specific support representatives, making it an excellent fit for businesses seeking specialized guidance. It’s also a great choice for companies in highly regulated industries, like finance or healthcare. If you’re looking for a bundled HR solution, this PEO covers essential HR functions, like employee recruitment, payroll processing and tax filing, employee benefits administration, HR compliance guidance, and employee development. Learn more about TriNet’s offerings in our detailed TriNet review.

Who Is ADP For?

ADP is a powerhouse PEO that can meet the needs of SMBs seeking a comprehensive HR solution with a wide range of HR features and add-ons. Because ADP doesn’t require you to bundle features, it’s a great fit for growing businesses and companies looking for a flexible HR provider. Your business can partner with ADP as a PEO, human resources outsourcing provider (HRO) or stand-alone HR platform. Read our in-depth ADP TotalSource review to learn about the solution’s available features, including comprehensive and affordable employee benefits. 

Did You Know?Did you know

ADP TotalSource refers to ADP’s PEO offering. ADP also provides HR and HRO services. In fact, ADP is considered among the best HR outsourcing services in the industry.

TriNet vs. ADP Comparison

Here’s how TriNet and ADP compare in pricing, HR services, payroll and benefits administration, customer service and usability.

Pricing and Plans

Both TriNet and ADP require potential customers to contact them for a custom quote. 

TriNet Pricing

TriNet does not list its pricing online, which is relatively common in the PEO industry. Instead, it offers monthly pricing based on your needs.

Here is some notable TriNet pricing information: 

  • TriNet bundles its PEO features and charges a monthly fee per employee.
  • TriNet has a five-employee minimum.
  • TriNet doesn’t have long-term contracts. Users can cancel anytime by submitting a 30-day written notice.

ADP Pricing

ADP outlines its payroll and PEO plans online. However, like TriNet, it doesn’t list its prices.  

Here is some notable ADP pricing information: 

  • Although ADP bundles many of its PEO features, it also offers add-ons.
  • ADP has a five-employee minimum.
  • Users can access ADP’s features through a PEO model, an HRO (without co-employment) or a general HR platform.

Winner

This category is a tie. Both companies require an industry-standard five-employee minimum, and both offer flexible contracts. TriNet has a bundled pricing model, which is ideal for small businesses looking to minimize HR costs as they grow. ADP also offers bundled pricing but has optional stand-alone products and add-ons. This feature flexibility may benefit businesses seeking a customized solution, but the costs can increase rapidly if you need many add-ons.

FYIDid you know

Standard PEO services include HR consulting and administration, payroll processing, health insurance and retirement packages.

HR Services

HR services are crucial considerations. Here’s how TriNet and ADP stack up.

TriNet HR Services

  • Recruitment features: TriNet has employee recruitment features, like job posting automation, custom hiring workflows and applicant tracking.
  • Additional HR services: TriNet provides other HR services, like employee onboarding and training, document management, performance management, compensation benchmarking and workforce analytics.
  • HR support: TriNet offers specialized HR support representatives to help navigate industry-specific HR compliance challenges.

Trinet internal applicant tracking system

TriNet’s internal applicant tracking system helps businesses hire the right employees. Source: TriNet

TipBottom line

If you want a TriNet HR solution without the PEO model, read our review of TriNet, which includes automated onboarding and employee management features.

ADP HR Services

  • Administrative HR features: ADP offers administrative HR functions, like handbook creation, document management and HR reporting.
  • Employee acquisition: ADP has employee acquisition features, like recruitment, onboarding, training, and talent management.
  • HR support: ADP can help you manage compliance risks with workplace safety training, workers’ compensation and claims management, employment verification, and unemployment claims management.

Winner

Both TriNet and ADP offer full-service PEO plans. However, ADP’s additional services make it stand out. In addition to standard HR services such as recruitment, payroll and benefits administration, ADP offers time and attendance, business insurance, compliance services and hundreds of third-party integrations. We especially like that you can partner with ADP through a PEO or HRO model.

Payroll and Benefits Administration

Here’s how TriNet’s and ADP’s payroll and benefits administration offerings compare.

TriNet Payroll and Benefits Administration

  • Payroll: Employers must use the vendor’s in-house payroll solution if they want to partner with TriNet.
  • Payroll taxes: TriNet can assist with payroll tax filing; it offers employee e-pay stubs and electronic W-2 preparation and delivery.
  • Employee benefits: TriNet offers comprehensive employee benefits, including Affordable Care Act filings and COBRA administration.

ADP Payroll and Benefits Administration

  • Payroll: Employers must use the vendor’s in-house payroll solution if they want to partner with ADP as a PEO. ADP’s payroll solution is also available as a stand-alone product without a PEO arrangement. (Read our ADP payroll review to learn more.)
  • Payroll taxes: In addition to standard payroll tax filing, ADP offers business expense tax registration services.
  • Employee benefits: ADP is a leading PEO with some of the most comprehensive and affordable benefits.

Winner

TriNet and ADP both offer in-house payroll processing, tax filing and employee benefits administration. However, we found ADP’s offerings to be slightly more comprehensive. We like that ADP offers audit and reconciliation services, full-service garnishments, multi-jurisdiction payroll, and state unemployment insurance management. Instead of automatically bundling all payroll features into one plan, ADP allows users to select from a range of tiered payroll plans. We were also impressed with ADP’s robust benefits administration. 

ADP benefits dashboard

Users can easily customize ADP’s Benefits Dashboard to display the most helpful information. Source: ADP

Did You Know?Did you know

If you offer employee benefits through ADP, the costs are not automatically included in the price of your PEO plan. Your benefits provider will charge a separate fee.

Ease of Use

Your platform should be intuitive and easy to navigate. Here’s how TriNet and ADP compare. 

TriNet Ease of Use

  • Intuitive platform: TriNet is an intuitive platform that’s easy for users to implement and navigate.
  • Mobile apps: TriNet has iOS and Android mobile apps that your team can use to access employee self-service features.
  • HR reports: TriNet facilitates custom reports and has roughly 100 pre-built reports.

ADP Ease of Use

  • Customizable platform: ADP is a customizable HR platform. Businesses can create a solution that meets their needs.
  • Mobile apps: ADP has user-friendly iOS and Android mobile apps with positive user ratings.
  • Integrations: The ADP Marketplace can facilitate hundreds of seamless third-party integrations.

Winner

Although both platforms are relatively user-friendly, we found TriNet a bit more intuitive and easier to use. We also like that the vendor offers industry-specific support, helping businesses get the most out of the software and service. We also like that employees can access the TriNet platform via iOS and Android mobile apps, lending to its overall accessibility and usability.

Customer Support

The ability to contact your PEO is essential. Here’s how TriNet and ADP handle customer support.

TriNet Customer Support

  • Support options: TriNet offers industry-specific phone, email and web chat HR support.
  • Additional support: Users can gain additional support 24/7 by adding Connect 360 to their PEO plan.
  • Employee assistance: Employees can get personal assistance with benefits enrollment through TriNet’s HealthAdvocate.

ADP Customer Support

  • Support options: ADP offers phone and email support.
  • Additional support: ADP users can gain support from experienced HR professionals.
  • Employee assistance: Employers can contact their own dedicated HR representative.

Winner

This round was close, as both TriNet and ADP offer expert HR support. We like that both companies are ESAC-certified and have an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau. However, we found TriNet’s customer service slightly better because it offers industry-specific support. This is ideal for businesses that operate in highly regulated or complex industries, like finance and healthcare.

ADP links

Users can access many helpful links and support resources from the ADP dashboard. Source: ADP

TriNet vs. ADP Summary

TriNet and ADP are worthy PEO options for many businesses. We recommend these vendors for employers with the following needs: 

TriNet is best for employers that need industry-specific support. 

TriNet is an excellent option for employers that want a PEO that offers industry-specific support. It’s also a great choice for small businesses seeking a PEO with an intuitive HR platform.

ADP is best for employers that need comprehensive features. 

ADP is the best PEO option for SMBs seeking a vendor with comprehensive and flexible HR features. It’s also a great choice for any organization that needs comprehensive employee benefits.

FAQs

What PEOs are TriNet’s competitors?

TriNet commonly competes with other popular PEOs, including ADP, Insperity, Justworks, Paychex and Rippling.

How long does it take to implement TriNet PEO?

TriNet can take an average of about two weeks to implement. However, the exact implementation time for your business will depend on factors such as the employee count and features needed.

Is ADP a CPEO?

Yes. ADP has been recognized as a certified professional employer organization (CPEO) for many years. To become a CPEO, a PEO must satisfy multiple IRS compliance and financial requirements.

Is ADP just payroll?

No. While you can sign up for ADP as a payroll provider, ADP also functions as a full-service HR solution. The company offers various plans, including stand-alone payroll, payroll and HR, HR outsourcing, and a PEO.

Skye Schooley
Senior Lead Analyst & Expert on Business Operations at business.com
Skye Schooley is a human resources writer at business.com and Business News Daily, where she has researched and written more than 300 articles on HR-focused topics including human resources operations, management leadership, and HR technology. In addition to researching and analyzing products and services that help business owners run a smoother human resources department, such as HR software, PEOs, HROs, employee monitoring software and time and attendance systems, Skye investigates and writes on topics aimed at building better professional culture, like protecting employee privacy, managing human capital, improving communication, and fostering workplace diversity and culture.
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