Paychex Review

By Skye Schooley, writer
| Updated
May 21, 2020
Image Credit: fizkes / Getty Images

Paychex provides businesses with comprehensive PEO features, including risk management, payroll, employee benefits, HR administration, and numerous onsite and virtual training solutions. This nationwide company represents thousands of employees and businesses of all sizes, so you'll be joining a provider that is equipped to handle your organization. It also assigns you an HR generalist who remains your point person as your business grows and a mobile application so you can access your services on the go. Plans are scalable as your company grows. Paychex is certified by the IRS and accredited by the Employer Services Assurance Corporation (ESAC) and the Better Business Bureau, with an A+ BBB rating. For these reasons, Paychex earns our pick for best PEO service for midsize businesses. 



The Best PEO Service Providers of 2020

The Verdict

Paychex's full-featured PEO service is ideal for midsize businesses looking for personalized coverage on a large scale. Its HRO services are ideal for small businesses, providing several HR services with attentive customer support.


Paychex's human resource outsourcing (HRO) services are also impressive. It offers solid HR support, reliable payroll processing and benefits that are ideal for small businesses, under a different contract model from its PEO agreement. For these reasons, Paychex earns our pick for best HRO service for small businesses. 

View all our recommendations for PEO services and HR outsourcing services on our best picks pages. 

Paychex Pricing and Terms

Paychex has a convenient pricing model for midsize businesses. Like many PEOs we reviewed, it charges on a per-employee basis. Some companies we reviewed charge businesses a certain percentage of their total payroll. The latter could be a better deal if you're a large business with a lot of employees, but it also means your costs could fluctuate as your payroll changes. For a midsize business that likely has a much larger payroll than a small business, this could have major implications. The per-employee structure allows you to predict and budget for what you owe Paychex. 

Paychex PEO plans are available to organizations with at least five employees. The cost of your PEO service will depend on how many employees you have each year. Standard PEO contracts are for one year, with per-employee pricing. PEO packages include bundled services; however, plans are scalable, and you have the option to customize certain aspects, like master medical or master workers' compensation policies. If you are interested in working with Paychex under the PEO model, you'll want to discuss the service and feature requirements with your sales representative. 

Paychex PEO Features

Paychex's PEO has multiple features that help it stand out against its competitors. Its training offering, which touches on relevant topics such as HR onboarding and safety, is one of the most extensive of any company we reviewed. Paychex also offers thorough payroll processing software and HR policy development. 

HR Services

Paychex provides extensive HR support. As a client, you'll have access to onboarding and recruiting resources, handbook and policy development, HR assessments and consulting, termination and dispute assistance, benefits orientations, employee screening and training, and other HR-related services.

Employee Benefits

This PEO provides health, retirement, vision, dental and employee wellness packages. You and your employees can manage your benefits online through Paychex's platform. Paychex will also help you find the right benefits plan for your business and educate you on the various health options.

Payroll and Taxes

You can use the payroll processing software to track employee hours, paid time off and sick days. The payroll service also includes compliance with government regulations and state and local taxes, timeclocks, and other payroll features. Like other PEOs we reviewed, Paychex provides a mobile app for payroll and HR management.

Risk and Compliance

Paychex ensures your company meets the requirements for state and federal regulations, COBRA and reporting, workplace safety training, development of workplace safety policy and guidelines, workers' compensation, return-to-work programs, unemployment insurance, and onsite safety inspections.

Training and Development

This PEO offers onsite safety training on more than 80 topics, like federal employment laws, business skills and safety, plus a library of online training resources. It also conducts onsite and online workplace safety training and program development. This breadth of training resources ensures you can offer the right education programs for your business. 

Paychex HRO Features

In addition to its PEO offering, Paychex provides some HR outsourcing services. These services are similar to the features in its PEO offering but have a different contract agreement. PEOs ascribe to a co-employment model where your employees appear on the books of a national organization for tax and labor law advantages. The HRO model doesn't have this type of contractual agreement; you can scale your services and enjoy some of the same support under a different arrangement. 

It's not clear what the specific contract would look like in an HRO situation; it varies by business type and size. It's important to work closely with your Paychex representative so you understand the services and implications of this arrangement for your business before making a commitment. 

These are some of Paychex's HRO services: 

  • Employee hiring and management
  • Employee handbook creation
  • Employee benefits orientation
  • Employee training
  • Annual enrollment
  • Workplace safety
  • Employee termination assistance
  • Planning and tracking for benefit plan profiles, enrollments and employer/employee costs
  • Risk compliance services
  • Payroll processing 

Some companies start with HRO services and then scale to PEO services. Make sure you work closely with your Paychex representative to find the right services for your SMB. 

Pros of Paychex

Businesses of all sizes can receive hands-on customer support from Paychex. PEO customers get access to a dedicated payroll account manager and a human resource generalist. One-on-one customer support is essential for growing businesses, since more employees generally equals more questions. You can also access a wealth of knowledge and training through Paychex's help center and other online resources. 

Another advantage to partnering with Paychex is its dedication to clarity. If you are curious about Paychex's services, you can access a variety of demos in areas like analytics and reporting, the online dashboard, general ledger, health and benefits, help options, hiring, HR, the payroll center, and time and attendance. This is ideal for midsize businesses that know what they want in a PEO and need firsthand experience with the service before committing to it. 

Paychex has an advanced, mobile-friendly PEO platform that provides a consistent experience across mobile and desktop devices. You and your employees can use the Paychex Flex app on iOS and Android devices, making Paychex a convenient service to access on the go. 

Cons of Paychex

You need at least five employees on your payroll to qualify for Paychex's services. This is a standard requirement among the companies we evaluated, but it's important for very small businesses to know. Since Paychex's PEO and HR outsourcing services are best suited for small and midsize businesses, this employee minimum shouldn't be an issue for most interested parties. 

Another negative consideration is Paychex's Better Business Bureau profile. There were multiple negative customer reviews on Paychex's BBB page when we reviewed it – more than other companies we reviewed had. However, Paychex addressed every review and worked through the issue with the customer. Paychex does have an A+ rating with the BBB. 

Customer Service

Paychex provides a designated team of experts, each one specializing in a different area of your PEO plan. You get a dedicated HR generalist who acts as a point person between your business and the various experts you need. This person doubles as an HR consultant, so you can work through your HR questions and issues with them as well. Regardless of how your business grows or changes, your HR generalist will remain your go-to partner who knows and understands your business's needs. You can also access several online resources, such as articles, webinars and PEO-related calculators. 

We set up a hypothetical business and interacted with Paychex sales representatives to gauge the company's service. We reached out over live chat, email and phone to gain insight into the overall Paychex customer support experience. In all instances, the representatives were informative and polite, helping us learn more about the company's services without pushing for a sale. They also helped us learn more about the PEO model and what we could expect as business owners with Paychex. Paychex's customer service is another reason it earned our best pick for midsize businesses.

Editor's note: Is your business looking for a PEO service? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.



The Best PEO Service Providers of 2020

The Verdict

Paychex's full-featured PEO service is ideal for midsize businesses looking for personalized coverage on a large scale. Its HRO services are ideal for small businesses, providing several HR services with attentive customer support.

Skye Schooley is an Arizona native, based in New York City. She received a business communication degree from Arizona State University and spent a few years traveling internationally, before finally settling down in the greater New York City area. She currently writes for and Business News Daily, primarily contributing articles about business technology and the workplace, and reviewing categories such as remote PC access software, collection agencies, background check services, web hosting, reputation management services, cloud storage, and website design software and services.