Gusto is a solid payroll tool that helps you automate the basic to more advanced payroll tasks for both employees and contractors. It makes onboarding new employees an easy process and helps you avoid manual errors. With its user-friendly approach to payroll management, it’s the tool you want in your corner to ensure your payroll workflow runs smoothly.
Compare Gusto to The Best Online Payroll Services
Gusto is one of the very best online payroll service for small business. This means it comes with all the essential payroll tools and couples them with automation to ensure a fast, reliable, and seamless payroll process. It comes with a variety of pay schedule settings, helps manage your employee benefits, and calculates and files your payroll taxes automatically.
We can vouch for Gusto because it’s the tool we rely on to ensure each of our employees is paid accurately and on time every time.
Not only that, but we’ve also gone out of our way to spend weeks researching and comparing the best payroll solutions out there to really get to the bottom of it. Gusto was not our top pick overall, but it performed quite well in a crowded field:
- Rippling – Best online payroll service for most
- Remote.com – Best for global hiring and payroll
- BambooHR – Best for an employee-first solution
- Deel – Best for automating multiple payroll tasks
- Remofirst – Best for receiving payroll analytics
- TriNet– Best for payroll services for SMBs
- Paycor – Best for payroll compliance
- Gusto – Best user interface for payroll
- QuickBooks – Best for knocking out payroll & accounting in one step
- ADP – Best for avoiding payroll growing pains
- Deluxe Payroll – Best way to attract more talent
- SurePayroll – Best worry-free guarantee for small business taxes
- Payroll4Free.com – Best feature-rich free-forever online payroll service
You’ll want to see all of our top picks to find the best option depending on your business needs.
Gusto: The Good and The Bad
Full-service payroll: Gusto’s full-service approach to payroll ensures you’re equipped with the tools you need to manage payroll with a few clicks while taking advantage of its automated features. Besides helping you manage employee payments, it also enables you to take care of crucial HR tasks, manage employee benefits, and minimize incorrect tax filings.
Manages employee benefits for you: Needing to manage medical, dental, or vision insurance along with 401(k)s and health reimbursements? Gusto can easily help you onboard employees to a benefits plan that you put together according to your team’s budget and size. If you already offer benefits, Gusto will move your plan over for you. Once the employees are on board, Gusto will auto-deduct from your payroll for easier benefits administration.
Offers time tracking: Gusto’s time tracking features come in handy if you work with remote or hourly employees. Its employee time tracking tools ensure everyone’s time is recorded and automatically calculated into payroll. You can also make use of Gusto’s accounting integrations with tools like Xero or Quickbooks for an easier time job costing.
Robust hiring and onboarding tools: Gusto doesn’t just stop at payroll calculation. It makes hiring and onboarding less of a time-intensive process with the ability to create onboarding checklists, send offer letters, and the ability to sign and store all your onboarding documents online. You can say goodbye to all the old-school onboarding paperwork once you configure your onboarding workflow so that it works with your HR team.
Employee self-service tools: Gusto cuts your HR team some slack by empowering your employees with its employee self-service tools. Once onboarded, employees can hop online to see their pay stubs and important tax documents, request time off, and update their personal information when it changes.
Employee finance tools: One of our favorite Gusto features is how much the company thought about the employees through the whole payroll process. With Gusto Wallet, employees can keep track of their payments with financial tools that help them save and track where they’re spending every penny. Gusto even offers an optional employee debit card for faster and easier access to funds.
Automated tax filing: Whether you work with a fully remote, in-house, or hybrid team, Gusto makes sure your state and federal tax filings stay up to date and accurate with its automated tax filing process. It lessens the risk of error-prone manual filings and stays up to date with any changing tax laws, so your business avoids those dreaded IRS fees.
Varied pay schedule frequencies: Gusto isn’t afraid to give you choices in the pay schedule department. You can create varied pay schedules for different employees on a weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, monthly, quarterly, or annual basis. Not many other payroll solutions on the market can boast the same.
Build custom reports: With Gusto, you can easily download a PDF or CSV of your preferred report— whether that’s a payroll report customizable by pay range, state, date, earnings, or job codes, or you want to take a quick look at your company contribution amounts with a benefits report. Additional reports include (but aren’t limited to) agency payments, bank transactions, year-to-date reports, pay stubs, employee summary reports, contractor payments, and time-off balances.
Great user experience: Robust tools that come with a lot of useful features can often be clunky to use and non-intuitive. Gusto’s pages and dashboards are easy to navigate, intuitive, and don’t slow you down with a crowded interface. This is true for both the payroll management side and the employee-facing features.
Affordable: Though Gusto doesn’t compete on price, it still offers relatively affordable plans for small to medium-sized businesses or even bigger. Once you pay a base price, you pay a small amount per employee depending on the features you want access to.
Offers a contractor-only version: What if you want to use Gusto, but you only work with contractors? You don’t need to pay a base price for tools you don’t need. Gusto offers a contractor-only plan that gives you access to unlimited contractor payments, contractor self-service, and the ability to create 1099 forms and file them.
Integrates with popular business software: Gusto integrates with business tools you’re probably already using. This includes Zero, ZipBooks, Sheets, Slack, Shopify, and Hubstaff, just to name a few.
Responsive customer support: Gusto doesn’t leave you high and dry once you’re onboarded into their systems. Regardless of the plan you choose, you get access to trained professionals standing by to help you troubleshoot and answer any questions.
Automated reminders: Managing payroll can be a lot to have on your plate, especially as your team grows. Gusto Payroll uses automation for some of its more robust features and sets up and sends you reminders when a deadline is approaching or something needs to get done.
No geo-tracking features: Geo-tracking is useful if you manage hourly field employees or work with remote teams. If that’s you and you still want to use Gusto as your payroll tool of choice, you might have to look into integrating a tool that brings the geo-tracking factor.
No mobile app: Despite Gusto’s versatility, it has yet to offer a mobile app version for on-the-go payroll and employee management. Hopefully, this is something it rolls out soon.
No global payroll features: Gusto doesn’t offer international features. You’re only able to use it for employees in the United States.
Some limits with integrations: Gusto does come with a number of different integrations for time tracking, payroll, accounting, and business operations. However, some users wish Gusto integrated with tools like Office365. In short, there are limits to what Gusto can integrate with. Make sure you check integration features to ensure Gusto works well with your existing systems.
Gusto Pricing and Options
Gusto works with a flat monthly payment plan based on how feature-rich you want your Gusto experience to be. From there, you pay an additional fee per employee a month. While Gusto isn’t a payroll solution that necessarily competes on price like others might, its set of features are still relatively affordable for both smaller and growing businesses.
Here’s a rundown of those pricing tiers:
- Contractor – $0 per month base price plus $6 a month per person
- Simple – $40 per month base price plus $6 a month per person
- Plus – $80 per month base price plus $12 a month per person
- Premium– Contact sales
Smaller teams can get away with Gusto’s Simple plan since it comes with full-service payroll for single-state employers. It also comes with basic HR and onboarding features that are sufficient for smaller teams.
Plus subscriptions include automated payroll for multi-state employers, as well as special permission features, time tracking tools, and document management solutions. All of these features become very helpful at scale.
Large organizations will want to take advantage of Gusto’s Premium plan. Not only does it come with access to certified HR professionals, but you also get access to project management and workforce tracking tools, special permission settings, and an HR resource center.
The beauty of Gusto is that it also has a plan for solopreneurs and much smaller teams that work on a contract basis. Its Contractor tier gives you access to the essentials: unlimited contractor payments, contractor self-service, and the ability to file and distribute 1099s, all for a low $6 fee per person per month and no flat monthly charge.
This is a great option for businesses that want all the perks of using Gusto but don’t need access to more robust tools. You can see a complete list of plan features here.
Gusto for Accountants
Besides offering full-service payroll solutions that include HR, time tracking, benefits tracking, employee self-service, and hiring tools, Gusto also offers accountant partnerships.
Once you sign up, you can get up to 20% revenue share and client discounts. You can also earn CPE credits from Gusto’s live webinars to go toward professional certifications. Gusto for accountants is designed for accountants to dole out professional services to their clients with its slew of business tools.
When you sign up, the number of clients you serve will determine the tools you need. With Gusto’s accountant partnership, you get access to more flexible payment plans for both you and your clients, as well as a dedicated representative to answer questions.
For instance, say you work with more than 50 clients at once. You get a 20% discount on all your Gusto services and access to all of Gusto’s payroll and HR tools. To sweeten the deal, you can pass on a one-month free trial to your clients to help with customer acquisition.
To build your accounting firm with Gusto, you’re also able to integrate your Gusto account with the more popular accounting software, including Quickbooks, FreshBooks, Expensify, and Sheets.
How Gusto Ranks
While some payroll solutions are middle-tier offerings that only help you take care of the very basics, Gusto goes well beyond that to offer a top-tier full-service solution to help you streamline your payroll needs. It’s easy to see why.
It comes with plenty of tools that solve some of your greatest payroll pain points and helps you automate crucial repetitive tasks like filing state taxes. When you couple that with the fact that it’s extremely easy to use and comes with accessible employee tools, you really can’t go wrong with Gusto.
If you work with Gusto, it’s relatively easy to set up. Though if you do run into trouble, trained professionals are always standing by to help out. However, other payroll solutions cater to more specific needs. Check out the rest of our picks in our guide to the top payroll solutions.
All in all, do we recommend Gusto? Without a doubt. It’s a solid payroll management solution that offers more than just the basics at relatively affordable prices. It automates a lot of repetitive processes within the employee benefit, HR, and payment management needs of every business. Though it comes with its own set of pros and cons, just like any other payroll solution out there, the pros far outweigh the cons in more ways than one.
Ready to get started using Gusto? Get started here.