John Borrowman, CPC
Borrowman Baker, LLC, BV Staffing + Consulting
Gallatin, TN

The competition to attract and retain top talent is one of the toughest challenges facing today’s BV practice. A quality employee benefits package is one key to meeting that challenge. But, where do you turn when your practice is too small to offer thorough, yet affordable health coverage? Can you spell: Professional Employee Organization?

Mike Hill, Sr., FASA, of Hill Schwartz Spilker Keller, has used a PEO since the mid-90s. “We weren’t large enough to get a real good group coverage, without the cost being prohibitive,” explained Hill. “Getting coverage for pre-existing conditions was another problem.” Taking advantage of the PEO meant that HSSK now has access to healthcare benefits normally available only to firms with thousands of employees.

The mechanics of working with a PEO aren’t difficult, added Hill. “Just prior to our payday, we get a printout that we submit with information about hours worked for each employee. We wire the gross amount 24 hours ahead of the pay date, and that’s it.” Hill has found little to complain about in the process. His particular PEO also offers a variety of seminars and employee education opportunities. He estimates that HSSK has received about $50,000 in referral business over the course of their relationship.

PEOs have been around since the late 70s, and offer services ranging from the sort of payroll & benefits package that HSSK has, to handling unemployment and workers comp claims, to the complete set of HR-related services. Milan Yager, Executive Vice President of the National Association of PEOs, confirmed the availability of PEOs in all 50 states. He also acknowledged that, while PEOs have no minimum client size, it could be much more challenging to find one for a company with only 3-5 employees.

The NAPEO website is a good place to start. Click on “Selecting a PEO” for some tips that will guide you in avoiding pitfalls. “If you realize that it’s your workers who make the difference between an entrepreneur and a small business,” urged Yager, “if you really value your time as an owner – and realize you should be out making profits, instead of dealing with the minutiae of your office – then you should hire a PEO.”

John Borrowman