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Paychex PEO Service Review

Skye Schooley
Skye Schooley
Staff writer Staff
Updated Nov 07, 2022

Paychex provides businesses with comprehensive PEO and HRO features, including risk management, payroll, employee benefits, HR administration, and numerous employee 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’s needs. It also assigns you an HR professional, who remains your point person as your business grows, and a mobile application, Paychex Flex, 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 and the Better Business Bureau, with an A+ BBB rating. For these reasons, Paychex is our pick for the best PEO service for midsize businesses and the best HR outsourcing service for small businesses.

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Paychex PEO Service

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, too, as they provide several HR services with attentive customer support.


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

Pricing and Terms

Paychex has convenient pricing and terms for small and midsize businesses. Businesses looking for a co-employment model are better suited to a PEO plan, whereas those looking to outsource a few HR functions are better suited to an HRO plan. Regardless of which option you choose, every plan is scalable to fit your business needs.

PEO Pricing

Like many PEOs we reviewed, Paychex 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 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 depends 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.

HRO Pricing

Since they are available to businesses of all sizes, even those with just one employee, Paychex HR outsourcing plans offer a lot of flexibility. They do not enforce any minimum salary requirements, and there is no required contract length, just a 30-day cancellation notice condition with the Paychex service agreement.

Paychex is great for small businesses that have unique HR outsourcing needs, as they offer a variety of features packaged into different HR outsourcing options. HR outsourcing plans are scalable; as an organization grows and needs change, they can add services or products along the way.  

Paychex PEO Features

Paychex’s PEO has multiple features that differentiate it from 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 also helps 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 HR Outsourcing Services

Small businesses that don’t want to enter into the PEO agreement can still access many of the same great HR outsourcing services that Paychex provides. 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. 

Small businesses can access a variety of features through Paychex’s HR outsourcing plans. For example, you can choose from functions that aid with payroll, risk and compliance, employee benefits, and HR administrative services.

Instead of paying for HR features you don’t need, you can select the HR outsourcing solution that works best for your business based on the level of HR support that you require. Paychex offers many of the same HR functions to both PEO and HR outsourcing customers – if there is a service you need, speak to a representative about acquiring it for your plan.

  • HR Services. Paychex can help with HR administrative tasks like employee hiring and management, employee training, employee termination assistance, a self-service dashboard, HR consulting, and more.
  • Employee Benefits. You can manage and update employee benefits (e.g., group health insurance, section 125 plans, retirement plans, employee assistance programs (EAP), etc.) in real-time with the online Paychex Flex platform. Paychex will even work with your current brokers. Paychex also offers an added level of oversight with benefits functions like communications, recordkeeping, analytics and reporting, and automated renewal.
  • Payroll and Taxes. One of Paychex’s defining characteristics is its excellent payroll features. You can access features like payroll processing, payroll tax administration, direct deposit, online employee self-service, new-hire reporting to government agencies, garnishment payments.
  • Risk and Compliance. You can keep your business and employees safe with features like workers’ compensation insurance, COBRA administration, state unemployment insurance, OSHA and safety programs, custom employee handbook creation, and form 5500 filing.

Paychex HR outsourcing customers fluctuate in size and complexity, so they offer service plans to accommodate those differences. As your organization grows and HR outsourcing needs change, you can easily add services or products. Some companies start with HRO services and then scale to PEO services. Work closely with your Paychex representative to find the right services for your SMB. 

Paychex has unveiled several new features geared specifically toward helping businesses with the current HR challenges they face during the COVID-19 pandemic. This includes HR Connect, conversations, an OSHA dashboard, worker templates and new live reports.

Pros of Paychex

Businesses of all sizes 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 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 PEO 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. Paychex HRO services, though, only require a minimum of one employee, so smaller teams may be better suited to this structure.

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 what other companies we reviewed had. However, Paychex addressed every review and worked through the issue with the customer. Paychex has an A+ rating with the BBB.

When we asked Paychex customers what they thought the company could do better, they referenced the communication features. The company offers online chat and email options, but online communications can be delayed at times. To remedy this situation and receive immediate assistance, it is better to call a representative or reach out directly to your dedicated HR point of contact.

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 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, posing as a small business owner of a hypothetical business. In all instances, 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 and HRO models and what we could expect as business owners with Paychex.

Editor’s note: Need a PEO service for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you with free information.

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Paychex PEO Service

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, too, as they provide several HR services with attentive customer support.

Skye Schooley
Skye Schooley Staff
Skye Schooley is a human resources writer at 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.