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Comprehensive Comparison of Leading Payroll and HR Service Providers: ADP, Paychex, Paylocity, BBSI, Heartland, and Insperity

Navigating the complex landscape of payroll and HR service providers can be challenging for businesses of all sizes. This comprehensive comparison will explore six prominent providers—ADP, Paychex, Paylocity, BBSI (Barrett Business Services, Inc.), Heartland, and Insperity—across several critical areas: service offerings, scalability for different business sizes, pricing transparency, and customer support quality. The goal is to provide insights that help businesses make informed decisions based on their specific needs.

Overview of Providers

ADP and Paychex are industry giants known for their comprehensive range of services that cater to all business sizes, from small businesses to large enterprises. Paylocity specializes in providing innovative, cloud-based payroll and HR solutions, mainly targeting mid-sized companies. BBSI offers a unique blend of payroll services and strategic business consulting, focusing on risk management and operational support. Heartland provides straightforward payroll processing and related services with a focus on transparency and simplicity, ideal for small to medium-sized businesses. Lastly, Insperity offers full-service HR outsourcing with a PEO model, primarily serving small and mid-sized businesses.

Comparison by Business Size

Small Businesses

  • ADP and Paychex offer robust solutions that are scalable but can be on the pricier side for very small businesses.

  • Paylocity provides user-friendly, technology-driven solutions that are generally well-suited for small businesses looking to grow.

  • BBSI offers personalized service but may be better suited for slightly larger operations due to its focus on strategic advice.

  • Heartland shines with its straightforward, transparent pricing and easy-to-use software, making it ideal for small businesses.

  • Insperity offers extensive HR support which can be invaluable for small businesses without a dedicated HR department, though it may come at a higher cost.

Mid-Sized Businesses

  • ADP and Paychex excel in offering extensive services that can handle complex HR needs typical of mid-sized businesses.

  • Paylocity is favorable for mid-sized companies due to its scalable cloud solutions and comprehensive feature set.

  • BBSI can provide tailored strategic advice that helps mid-sized businesses manage growth effectively.

  • Heartland continues to be effective for payroll solutions, although it might lack the full HR service suite needed for larger mid-sized companies.

  • Insperity offers a range of outsourced HR services that can significantly benefit mid-sized businesses looking for full-service HR solutions.

Large Enterprises

  • ADP and Paychex are well-equipped to handle the complex HR and payroll needs of large enterprises with their global reach and extensive service portfolios.

  • Paylocity may serve well but could be limited by less global expansion compared to ADP or Paychex.

  • BBSI focuses more on personalized services and might not scale as easily for multinational corporations.

  • Heartland may not have the necessary infrastructure to support very large organizations.

  • Insperity provides comprehensive PEO services that can be advantageous for large businesses, but its offerings might be more optimized for small to mid-sized companies.

Services, Pricing, and Support


  • ADP and Paychex offer a vast array of services including payroll, HR, benefits, and compliance.

  • Paylocity is known for its modern, integrated HR solutions and employee engagement tools.

  • BBSI combines traditional HR services with strategic business consulting.

  • Heartland focuses primarily on payroll, with additional services like HR support and compliance.

  • Insperity offers full-service HR outsourcing including employee benefits, payroll, and risk management.


  • ADP and Paychex generally have less transparent pricing structures with custom quotes based on services and business size.

  • Paylocity, Heartland, and BBSI tend to offer more transparent pricing, though the exact cost can still vary.

  • Insperity often requires a comprehensive commitment but provides extensive support, which may justify the cost for businesses valuing full-service HR.


  • All providers offer support with varying degrees of personalization and effectiveness. ADP, Paychex, and Insperity are noted for their robust support networks.

  • Heartland and BBSI are particularly praised for personalized customer service.

  • Paylocity offers strong tech support, benefiting from its modern, tech-centric platform.


Choosing the right payroll and HR provider depends heavily on the specific needs of the business, including the size of the operation, the desired level of service, and budget considerations. For those seeking comprehensive services with room to scale, ADP and Paychex are the best solutions.


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