Paper Trails

How much do Maine HR consulting services cost?

Those that own a small business understand the challenges of managing their time efficiently.  Dealing with human resource and payroll tasks on top of the day-to-day operations can feel like running through mud. Business owners, and even those that have small HR teams, must find a way to deal with employee issues, complete scheduling and payroll and ensure they are up-to-date with the latest compliance changes.  Turning to outside help can be a way to navigating all of this.  HR consulting services are a lifeline waiting to be used.  But, you may be thinking, “how much do HR consulting services cost?”

Understandably, the thought of adding additional expenses, such as HR consulting services, might bring a bit of concern. Here at Paper Trails, we recognize the challenges that small businesses undertake and are dedicated to helping you through. In this article, you’ll learn how HR consulting can be a vital tool for businesses lacking the experts or time to manage HR tasks effectively. Then we will break down how much these services can cost your business.  Let’s get started.

What are HR consulting services?

A recent study shows that 80% of companies outsource at least one HR function to a third-party HR company.  So, what does it mean to outsource HR to a consultant?  HR consulting services involve a third-party company performing certain human resources tasks that small businesses do not have the expertise or the time to handle.  Outside HR experts can handle tasks from start to finish or can augment your current HR team with certain functions within your company.  Generally speaking, HR consulting services are not meant to replace your current HR department.  It’s more about supporting your team to create and enhance policies and processes that your business implements.

What are the benefits of HR consulting services?

HR consulting provides several key advantages that can enhance your business operations. By engaging an HR consulting firm, you gain access to seasoned HR professionals who bring a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the table. These experts often have years of experience across various industries, providing your small business with a broader perspective. This is especially beneficial in complex HR situations. Additionally, HR consultants help ensure your business remains compliant by keeping track of legislative changes and assisting in developing necessary HR policies and procedures. HR consultants can also help in improving your hiring process— from crafting appealing job descriptions to implementing effective hiring strategies. Finally, HR consultants deliver unbiased support, offering objective advice on various HR tasks, which is crucial for maintaining fairness and effectiveness in your HR practices.

So, how much do these Maine HR consulting services cost?

There is no specific set price when it comes to using an outside HR consultant.  The price depends on a number of contributing factors.  Several key factors could include:

  1. Scope of Work: The depth of the services required will greatly impact the cost. A complete overhaul of HR policies, for instance, will likely be more expensive than targeted assistance with updating job descriptions or offer letters.
  2. Length of the Engagement: Costs can also differ based on whether the consultancy is short-term for a specific project or long-term for ongoing HR management support. Long-term monthly retainers may provide opportunities for cost savings as opposed to short-term, intensive projects.
  3. Customization Needs: The more specific the HR solutions need to be to fit your business, the higher the cost might be. Customized training programs or new employee onboarding checklists require additional resources to develop and implement, so they may be more expensive than standard templates.
  4. Expertise of the HR Consultant: Highly experienced consultants or those with specialized certifications (like SHRM-CP or CHRP) might charge more for their services due to their advanced skills and knowledge.

Consultants generally offer various pricing structures to accommodate different needs and budgets. They might charge an hourly fee, which can range from $100 to $400 for one-time projects. The total cost for these projects will depend on the duration and complexity of the task. For ongoing support, consultants might offer a monthly retainer, typically ranging from $500 to $5,000, depending on the volume and nature of work required each month.  While these numbers may appear high, studies have shown that businesses save an average of 22% when outsourcing some of their HR operations.

Paper Trails pricing

At Paper Trails, we have three different packages to determine the cost of our HR consulting services.  In addition to these packages, we do offer an a la carte option for those looking for quick, one-time support.  Let’s explore these packages in more detail.

HR Success Package

The first package is called our HR Success Package.  This package provides an expert-led thorough HR audit to identify areas for improvement and highlight specific growth strategies.  For a one-time fee of $2500, small businesses receive:

  • A one hour HR discovery call and question and answer session.
  • An update to, or create new, handbooks, job descriptions and offer letters.
  • Custom new hire onboarding checklist.
  • A copy of our ‘HR 101 Training Catalog’, ‘HR Calendar’ and ‘Small Business Compliance Course’.
  • And much more!

Then, we have two monthly retainer subscriptions available.  After the one-time HR audit is complete, businesses can choose one of the following:

HR Advisor Subscription

HR Advisor Subscription, which is a monthly HR consulting service costing $625 per month.  This package features:

    • Annual review and updates of everything in the HR Success Package.
    • Up to 12 scheduled check-in calls per year.
    • 2 in-person visits from an HR expert.
    • Access to the HR Support Center for ongoing self-service.
    • Online employee training on mandatory compliance topics.
    • Annual employee file and I-9 audit.
    • And more!

HR Guru Subscription

Or the other option is our HR Guru Subscription.  Included in this $2400 per month subscription is:

  • Annual review and update of all items in the HR Success Package and HR Advisor Subscription.
  • Up to 18 scheduled check-in calls.
  • 4 in-person visits from an HR expert.
  • Employee performance and talent management.
  • Expert hiring guidance and termination assistance.
  • Unemployment & workers compensation claims management.
  • Basic employee benefits compliance review.
  • And more!

A la carte HR pricing

Finally, we offer a la carte HR services above and beyond, or outside of the above packages, starting at $175 per hour.  Some of these a la carte items include:

  • Policies, procedures, checklists and job descriptions.
  • Performance Management including leadership development, training, performance improvement plans, corrective counseling, termination meetings and performance evaluation systems.
  • Compensation and benefits support including salary reviews, leave management and benefits administration and compliance.
  • Employee relations matters like conflict resolution, diversity and including initiatives, employee surveys, exit interviews and employee communication templates.
  • Compliance management to assist with ADA, OSHA, FMLA, EEO, workers compensation or unemployment matters.
  • Third party investigations and audits.
  • Facilitation of Work Opportunity Tax Credit preparation and filing.


There you have it.  While businesses must weigh out the pros and cons of HR consulting services costs, it’s clear that there are many benefits.  These include improved efficiency, risk reduction, and more time to focus on core business functions.  At Paper Trails, we are committed to guiding you through these decisions, helping you understand how HR consulting can be a game-changer for your business.

Remember, the goal of HR consulting is to make your life easier and your business more successful. If you’re feeling overwhelmed by HR challenges, it might be time to consider how professional advice can turn those challenges into opportunities for growth.  Contact our team here to get more information on how we can help.