As an investor, it doesn't pay to follow the crowd.

In this series, though, we highlight a possible exception -- the collective wisdom of our CAPS community. Read the next section if you're unfamiliar with our methodology. Skip it if you want to go straight to the results.

Why this crowd is different
Jumping into a stock because your rich neighbor did, or because you heard about it from your friend's uncle who used to work on Wall Street, or because CNBC has been talking about it nonstop is a recipe for disaster.

If there's one thing I've learned as a stock analyst, it's that any stock can be gussied up to sound like a world-beater. If there's a second thing I've learned, it's that being a smart person doesn't make you a good investor.

In the hands of a smart person with good communication skills, the never-were and never-will-be stocks sound like tickets to instant fortune. The ancient Greek philosophers made the distinction between rhetoric and knowledge. The former is convincing; the latter is true.

That's why we factor in track record in our Motley Fool CAPS community. We invite everyone to give stocks an outperform (akin to a "buy" call) or underperform rating (akin to a "sell" call) in CAPS. We then use those opinions to calculate a rating for each stock -- from one to five stars (five being the best). But -- and this is a big distinction -- we give more weight to the opinions of folks whose picks have performed well in the past.

The top 7 diversified services high yielders
So, with that methodology as prelude, I present to you the seven four- and five-star-rated diversified services stocks that yield 2% or more that have garnered the most outperform ratings by CAPS members. I used a minimum market capitalization of $100 million and the proviso that they must be listed on a major U.S. exchange. Remember, stocks are rated on a five-star scale by our CAPS community, so four- and five-star stocks are consensus outperforms.

Company

 Market Capitalization (in millions)

P/E Ratio

Dividend Yield

CAPS Rating (out of 5)

Outperform Picks

Paychex (Nasdaq: PAYX)

$9,217

19.3

4.9%

****

   1,330

Barrett Business Services (Nasdaq: BBSI)

$141

25.1

2.3%

*****

    797

Giant Interactive Group (NYSE: GA)

$1,391

6.9

2.8%

*****

    535

Aircastle (NYSE: AYR)

$665

7.1

4.8%

****

    527

Ambassadors Group (Nasdaq: EPAX)

$213

15.8

2.1%

*****

    521

EnergySolutions (NYSE: ES)

$426

32.1

2.1%

****

    457

The Brink's Co. (NYSE: BCO)

$938

5.6

2%

*****

    278

Source: Motley Fool CAPS. NM= not meaningful.

Paychex leads this group in votes. I've written in the past about how stocks like Paychex can be combined into a miniportfolio to form the best dividend play in the market. It's getting higher on my personal watch list as its stock price is down near 52-week lows. 

Which is your favorite? Make your thoughts known in CAPS by clicking here. Or just go there to do further research on one of these stocks.

Anand Chokkavelu doesn't own shares of any company mentioned. Brinks and Paychex are Motley Fool Inside Value selections. Paychex is a Motley Fool Income Investor selection. The Fool owns shares of Ambassadors Group and EnergySolutions. True to its name, The Motley Fool is made up of a motley assortment of writers and analysts, each with a unique perspective; sometimes we agree, sometimes we disagree, but we all believe in the power of learning from each other through our Foolish community. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.