9 Best Gusto Competitors & Alternatives for 2023
This article is part of a larger series on Payroll Services.
Gusto is an excellent choice for small businesses as it offers reasonably priced plans―starting at $40 plus $6 per employee monthly―and has a wide range of payroll and basic human resources (HR) functions. However, it may not fit every company’s needs and budget. A top competitor’s product may be the best option in that case.
For this guide, we looked at a dozen payroll software and narrowed the list down to nine best Gusto competitors:
- TriNet Zenefits: Best (overall) for small businesses that need all-in-one HR payroll system
- QuickBooks Payroll: Best for QuickBooks accounting users and employers who want fast direct deposit options
- Square Payroll: Best for small retailers and restaurants, especially those using Square POS
- Rippling: Best for tech-heavy companies needing HR, payroll, and information technology (IT) tools
- Patriot Payroll: Best for startups and small companies that need flexible payroll plans
- OnPay: Best for robust tools to delegate payroll tasks and analyze labor costs
- Paychex: Best for scalable payroll solutions
- Homebase Payroll: Best for one-location businesses with a small team (up to 20 employees)
- SurePayroll: Best for budget-conscious small businesses and household employers
Top Gusto Competitors Compared
All the Gusto alternatives on our list (and Gusto) offer full-service payroll, automatic tax calculations and tax filings, paid time off (PTO) tracking, and a self-service portal where employees can view pay stubs and access their personal information. Below are each software’s standout features.
Starter Monthly Pricing
Standard Direct Deposit Timelines
Health Benefits Available in 50 States
$6 per employee plus $40 base fee
Two and four days
37 states only
$16 per employee (includes payroll add-on)
Hawaii isn’t covered
$5 per employee plus $45 base fee
Hawaii, Vermont, and Washington, D.C., are not covered
$6 per employee plus $35 base fee
4 days; instantly with Square payments
$8 per employee plus $35 base fee*
$4 per employee plus $37 base fee**
$6 per employee plus $40 base fee
2 or 4 days, depending on risk assessment
$5 per employee plus $39 base fee
$6 per employee plus $39 base fee***
4 days; 2 days for qualified companies
$5 per employee plus $29.99 base fee**
*Monthly fee is based on a quote we received.
**Pricing is for the Full Service payroll plan. The provider also offers a low-cost self-service option with do-it-yourself (DIY) payroll tax filings.
***Homebase Payroll is a paid add-on to the Homebase scheduling and time tracking platform, which has a free plan for one-location businesses (with up 20 employees).
Best Gusto Competitors Pricing Calculator
Use our online calculator to compute and compare the estimated monthly and annual fees for Gusto and our top-recommended Gusto alternatives.
Since our last update: Gusto has changed the pricing of its contractor-only payroll package from $6 per contractor monthly to $35 plus $6 per contractor monthly. However, as of this writing, new clients can still enjoy Gusto’s old pricing scheme for their first six months. Afterward, they’ll be charged the new rates. Note that this special promotion may end at any time.
TriNet Zenefits: Best Overall Gusto Alternative
- Unlimited pay runs
- Time tracking and scheduling included in all plans
- Strong compliance, employee communications, and staff engagement tools
- HR plans and add-ons require a minimum of five employees
- Payroll is an add-on tool
- Health insurance limited to 49 states (Hawaii not covered)
TriNet Zenefits Pricing*
- Essentials: $10 per employee monthly
- Includes onboarding, employee management, time and paid time off (PTO) tracking, and staff scheduling
- Growth: $18 per employee monthly
- Essentials plus performance reviews and compensation management
- Zen: $27 per employee monthly
- Growth plus employee surveys, a well-being solution, and a “People Hub” collaboration tool
- Contingent workers: $6 per contractor monthly with any plan
- Payroll: $6 per employee monthly
- Full-service payroll with tax filing services
- Advisory services: $10 per employee monthly
- Access to certified HR pros
- Benefits administration if you have your own broker: $5 per employee monthly
- Recruiting tools: Starts at $62 per month
*Requires at least five employees.
At its core, TriNet Zenefits is primarily an HR software with payroll capabilities. Similar to Rippling and Homebase Payroll, it offers its pay processing tools as a paid add-on. It’s ideal for small businesses needing an all-in-one HR payroll software because it has a wide suite of HR solutions—more robust than those of Gusto and the other providers in this guide. It helps you hire, onboard, and pay employees while allowing you to track PTO, plan work schedules, and monitor staff attendance. It even comes with compensation planning tools and custom salary benchmark reports to help you understand how much to pay employees.
While its per-employee monthly fees may seem budget-friendly, you may end up having to pay more, especially if you have many employees. This makes TriNet Zenefits one of the most expensive Gusto alternatives on our list―Rippling is another―with estimated annual fees of $1,920 for a business with 10 employees.
TriNet Zenefits Key Features
TriNet Zenefits’ HR solutions make managing the entire employee lifecycle easy for HR teams. It has offer letters and self-onboarding tools to help automate hiring processes. Scheduling and performance management solutions are also available, allowing you to monitor your employee’s schedules and goals at work easily. It even has compensation planning tools to help you identify whether your staff’s salaries are on par with the market and your competitors—a functionality that none of the software in this guide has, including Gusto.
While it provides access to employee benefits options, the coverage of health plans is limited—it isn’t available in Hawaii as of this writing. For employee benefits covering all 50 US states, consider Square Payroll, Paychex, SurePayroll, and OnPay. Rippling and Gusto are also good choices, but the former’s employee benefits are paid add-ons while the latter’s health plans are not available in 13 states: Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.
What sets TriNet Zenefits apart from Gusto and the other competitors in this guide is its compliance solutions, which include built-in overtime safeguards and pay stubs that comply with most state regulations. It even has a “Compliance Assistant,” which alerts you of important form submission deadlines and monitors your compliance with HR, payroll, tax, and benefits rulings.
Similar to Homebase Payroll and Square Payroll, TriNet Zenefits includes time tracking functionalities in all payroll plans. Gusto and QuickBooks Payroll also have similar features but these are included in their higher tiers. Rippling, Paychex, and Patriot Payroll offer this as paid add-ons while SurePayroll and OnPay don’t have built-in time tracking tools.
TriNet Zenefits has all the essential tools you need to compute and process employee and contractor payments. It comes with unlimited pay runs, supports direct deposit payments, and handles multiple pay rates and schedules with ease. Aside from calculating and withholding payroll taxes, it also remits tax payments and files tax forms for you at no extra cost―SurePayroll and Paychex charge additional fees for some of their tax filing services.
Read our full TriNet Zenefits review to learn more about its features.
QuickBooks Payroll: Best for QuickBooks Users & Those Who Need Fast Direct Deposits
- Same- and next-day direct deposits
- Integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks accounting
- Unlimited and automatic payroll runs
- Offers a tax penalty protection program that covers penalties, up to $25,000 per year, regardless of who makes the mistake
- Local tax filings are included only in higher tiers
- Tax penalty protection available only in its Elite plan
- Integrates mostly with QuickBooks products; you need its accounting platform to access third-party software integrations
- Limited health insurance coverage (plans are not available in Hawaii, Vermont, and Washington, D.C.)
QuickBooks Payroll Pricing
- Core: $45 per month plus $5 per employee monthly
- Includes full-service payroll, next-day direct deposit, federal and state tax filings and payments, and access to 401(k) plans and benefits
- Premium: $75 per month plus $8 per employee monthly
- Core plus same-day direct deposit, local tax payments and filings, workers’ compensation administration, and HR support center
- Elite: $125 per month plus $10 per employee monthly
- Premium plus multiple state tax filing, project tracking, personal HR adviser, tax penalty protection up to $25,000 per year, and expert setup
- Contractor payments: $15 monthly for up to 20 workers plus $2 for each additional contractor
QuickBooks Payroll is a great payroll software for small business owners already using or planning to use QuickBooks accounting. Data flows seamlessly between the two solutions, making capturing payroll details for your accounting ledgers easy. QuickBooks Payroll offers online employee onboarding tools, access to employee benefits, and more. However, it doesn’t handle local tax filings automatically unless you upgrade to its higher tiers—a feature that Gusto and the other providers on our list offer in their starter plans.
Since our last update: QuickBooks Payroll has released a “Contractor Payments” plan, which is optimal for businesses that hire and pay only contract workers. It costs $15 monthly for up to 20 contractors (plus $2 for each additional worker). If you have QuickBooks Accounting, this feature is included in all plans.
Its robust tax penalty protection sets QuickBooks Payroll apart from Gusto and its alternatives. This program, which is included in the premium Elite plan, covers all tax penalty fees and interests up to $25,000 per year, regardless of who made the error. Note that most providers may have a similar penalty protection program, but it’s only for tax filing mistakes that they make.
QuickBooks Payroll Key Features
Running payroll with QuickBooks Payroll is easy—you can even set it to run automatically. Aside from unlimited payroll, it handles tax filings and year-end tax reporting on your behalf. However, you have to get either its Premium or Elite plan if you want the provider to handle local tax filings.
QuickBooks Payroll’s “Contractor Payments” plan is great for businesses that hire and pay only contract workers. It’s even more affordable than Square Payroll’s contractor-only package (which is priced at $5 per worker monthly)—QuickBooks’ plan only costs $15 monthly for up to 20 contractors (plus $2 for each additional worker). If you have QuickBooks Accounting, this feature is included in all plans.
Unlike Gusto, which provides next-day direct deposits in its higher tiers, QuickBooks Payroll offers this in its basic Core package, plus a same-day option included in its premium plans. Square Payroll also offers next-day and instant payouts through its Cash App, but this requires a Square Instant Payments account. Meanwhile, the other Gusto alternatives in this guide have either two- or four-day direct deposit options.
While QuickBooks Payroll doesn’t integrate with many third-party software, its native integration with QuickBooks accounting allows seamless data transfers between Intuit QuickBooks products. This means that your payroll information can flow directly to the general journal, plus you can use wage-related information for analytics and other reports.
You are granted access to payroll experts that you can contact via phone and chat. If you subscribe to its highest tier, you get an HR professional who can provide expert advice. This is unlike Square Payroll and Patriot Payroll, which don’t offer access to HR experts, and Rippling and Homebase Payroll, which charge extra for it.
Read our full QuickBooks Payroll review to learn more about its features.
Square Payroll: Best for Small Retail Shops & Restaurants
- Automatic and unlimited payroll runs
- Preps and files tax forms, including year-end W-2/1099 reports
- Integrates with Square POS and provides free time tracking
- Standard direct deposit takes four days
- Next-day and instant payout options require a Square payments account
- Phone support requires customer code
- No expert advisers on call
Square Payroll Pricing
- Pay employees and contractors: $35 per month plus $6 per employee monthly
- Includes unlimited pay runs, full-service payroll, tax payments and filings, year-end tax reporting, time tracking, pay-as-you-go workers’ compensation plans, and new hire reporting
- Pay contractors only: $6 per contractor monthly
Square Payroll is a popular payroll system for small retailers and restaurants, especially those already using Square’s point-of-sale (POS) solution. It handles payroll for both contractors and employees, calculates and files taxes, manages benefits, and has free time tracking—a bonus for those who employ hourly workers. However, its standard four-day direct deposit timeline is slower than Gusto’s and most of the other competitors in this guide.
The provider made our list of best Gusto alternatives because it offers unlimited pay runs at no extra charge and imports tips and commissions automatically from Square POS into its payroll module for processing. It also syncs seamlessly with QuickBooks Online and other third-party timecard partners. Plus, Square Payroll has a contractor-only payroll plan that’s cheaper than Gusto’s at $6 per contractor monthly vs $35 plus $6 per contractor monthly.
Square Payroll Key Features
If you’re a Square POS user and only need to process contractor payments, Square Payroll won’t bill you its base monthly fee of $35 and will only charge you a per-person monthly rate of $6 per contractor. This is great for companies that primarily contract work out vs hiring employees.
However, QuickBooks Payroll’s contractor payments plan provides better value for money than Square (and Gusto). Instead of paying Square $125 per month to process payments for 25 contractors, QuickBooks will only charge you $25 monthly. Although, if you only need to pay two contractors every month, Square is slightly cheaper than QuickBooks ($12 monthly vs $15 monthly).
Square Payroll lets you pay employees and contractors through manual checks, aside from four-day direct deposits. You can also pay employees via Square’s Cash App, which allows you to process two-day direct deposits and even send payments instantly—provided you use Square’s Instant Payments feature.
A unique feature that Square Payroll offers, which Gusto and the eight other competitors in this guide don’t, is that tips and commissions import from Square POS automatically into its payroll solution. This makes it easy for you to process employee payments without extracting and uploading tip and commission data from one system to another manually.
Aside from unlimited and automatic pay runs for both employees and contractors, Square Payroll integrates seamlessly with Square products, such as Square POS and Square Team Management. It also connects with third-party software, such as QuickBooks Online and partner timecard solutions.
Read our full Square Payroll review to learn more about its features.
Rippling: Best for Tech-heavy Businesses Needing HR, IT & Payroll Tools
- Unlimited pay runs with global payroll capabilities
- Robust HR and IT products can be purchased separately and as needed
- Integrates with 500-plus third-party software
- Offers a flexible professional employer organization (PEO) option
- Core Workforce Management solution must be purchased before any other product
- Payroll and benefits are paid add-ons
- Gets pricey as you add features
- HR help desk option with phone and email support costs extra
- 35 plus $8 per employee monthly
- Includes Rippling’s core workforce management platform, employee onboarding and offboarding, full-service payroll, time tracking, and software integrations
Other Per-Module Costs*
- App, device, and computer inventory management: $8 per employee monthly
- Includes IT tools to manage business apps and computer provisioning and deprovisioning processes
- Benefits administration: Pricing varies, depending on your insurance broker
- HR help desk: Custom-priced
- One-on-one email/phone support from HR experts
*Pricing is based on a quote we received.
Rippling offers a wide range of integrated and modular HR, payroll, and IT products. Its core platform is a workforce management solution, wherein payroll and other modules like benefits, app management, and HR help desk are paid add-ons. It offers an excellent payroll feature set with automatic tax calculations, tax filing services, and year-end tax reporting. It also has online tools to help you handle onboarding and offboarding, time and attendance, document management, and benefits administration.
Since Our Last Update: Rippling has increased the monthly fees of its IT tools, from $5 to $8 per employee. Note that pricing came from a quote we received.
The program also has essential IT solutions for managing business apps and company computers assigned to employees, and it can store units in its warehouse for you. The downside of using Rippling is that you have to pay for each module, so it can get expensive as you get more features. You also have to pay for its HR help desk feature, which lets you call or email HR professionals if you need expert support. Its live chat function has been praised by users though, and the company now shows the customer service wait time live on its site.
Rippling Key Features
Rippling has an integrated HR platform in which all of its solutions connect with the other automatically. It lets you manage your employees’ payroll, benefits, devices, and apps in just one platform. Although the other Gusto alternatives in this guide also offer similar HR and payroll features, the comprehensive app and device management tools are unique with Rippling.
Rippling can handle both your US and global payroll needs while providing your employees easy access to online pay stubs and tax forms through a self-service portal. It also calculates and files payroll taxes automatically and provides year-end tax reporting. Note that QuickBooks Payroll requires you to upgrade to its higher tiers if you need local tax filings while OnPay and Paychex charge extra for some of their tax services.
When looking for a more solid set of HR features with robust third-party integrations, you can choose Rippling over Gusto since the former integrates with more than 500 systems. Rippling is also the only provider in this guide with an extensive partner network, which includes accounting, time and attendance, expense management, recruiting, training, and office management solutions.
In case your HR needs have grown, but you don’t want to hire or expand your HR team, Rippling and Paychex offer PEO services to help you manage day-to-day HR and payroll operations. Gusto and the other alternatives in this guide don’t have this option. However, unlike Paychex, Rippling allows you to turn its PEO services on and off and switch back to using its software again easily.
Read our full Rippling review to learn more about its features.
Patriot Payroll: Best for Startups Looking for Flexible Payroll Plans
- Unlimited pay runs
- Offers multiple plans
- Full Service Payroll plan is more affordable than Gusto’s starter tier
- Standard direct deposit timeline is four days
- Multistate tax filings cost extra
- No benefits plans
Patriot Payroll Pricing
- Basic Payroll with DIY tax filings: $17 per month plus $4 per employee monthly
- Includes payroll and tax calculations, unlimited pay runs, PTO accruals, and an employee self-service portal to view payslips and tax forms online
- Full Service Payroll: $37 per month plus $4 per employee monthly
- Basic Payroll features plus payroll tax payment and filing services
- Time and attendance: $6 per month plus $2 per employee
- HR software: $6 per month plus $2 per employee
- Online tools for managing employee information and documents
- Multistate tax filings: $12 monthly for each additional state
- 1099 e-filings (for Basic Payroll subscribers only): $20 for up to five 1099 e-filings; an additional $2 per 1099 is required for six to 35 filings (no additional charge for 36 or more)
Patriot Payroll is a cost-effective small business payroll software that’s ideal for those looking for a budget-friendly solution. It offers reasonably priced full-service payroll plans and a basic DIY option that costs only $17 plus $4 per employee monthly—provided you file your own payroll taxes. All plans come with unlimited pay runs, multiple payroll frequencies, and customizable hours, money, and deduction types. You can also pay your employees through manual checks and direct deposits. However, the turnaround time for direct deposits (four days) is longer than that of Gusto and most of the other providers we reviewed.
Like SurePayroll, Patriot Payroll will handle the payments and filings of all federal, state, and local taxes if you get its full-service plan. Also, it offers a penalty-free guarantee in case of tax filing errors, but only for its representatives’ mistakes. This is unlike QuickBooks Payroll, which covers all mistakes regardless of who made them. While it lets you add custom deduction types, like benefits contributions, into its system, Patriot Payroll doesn’t offer employee benefits options and manage benefits plans for you.
Patriot Payroll Key Features
If you are on a budget and would prefer to let Patriot take care of your payroll and then file your employees’ taxes on your own, then you can opt for its Basic plan. If you don’t want to handle payroll tax filings yourself, then you should sign up for its Full Service option. What’s great about this package is that it’s more affordable than Gusto’s offering. For a company with 10 employees, you have to spend $1,200 per year with Gusto. Meanwhile, Patriot Payroll will only charge you annual fees of $924.
Patriot allows you to run unlimited payroll and pay your employees with different pay schedules, such as weekly, biweekly, semimonthly, and monthly. You can also use its standard hours and money types or create your own, including employee deductions and other company-paid contributions, all for free.
If you are unsure how to calculate bonuses for employees and don’t want to do gross-up calculations for taxes yourself, then you can use Patriot Payroll’s net-to-gross payroll tool. Input the bonus amount to be paid out, and it will gross it up for you automatically. None of the other Gusto competitors on this list have a similar feature.
Read our full Patriot Payroll review to learn more about its features.
OnPay: Best for Delegating Payroll Tasks & Analyzing Labor Costs
- Affordably priced
- Unlimited pay runs
- Six-level system permissions for controlling access and assigning HR/payroll tasks
- Offers special payroll and tax filing services for niche industries, such as agricultural and farm businesses
- Direct deposit turnaround time―either two or four days―is based on OnPay’s risk assessment
- Limited integration options
- Doesn’t offer multiple plan options like Gusto does
- $40 per month plus $6 per employee monthly
- Includes payroll processing, multiple payment options, payroll tax management, onboarding and new hire reporting, PTO management, employee benefits, self-service portal, reporting tools, and third-party integrations
- W-2/1099 printing and mailing services: $5 per form (this is free if you print the online forms yourself)
- Nonsufficient fund (NSF) return fee*: $50 per returned item
*OnPay charges an NSF fee in case your payroll fund isn’t sufficient to cover the cost of a pay run.
OnPay is a good Gusto alternative, especially for small companies (with up to 200 employees) that need an efficient way to view and analyze labor costs. In addition to its premade reports, it has a report designer for creating custom payroll reports. This allows you to set up filters, add/remove 50-plus data points, and save report templates. The other providers on our list may have customizable reports, but OnPay’s is more robust.
OnPay even has customizable checklists and onboarding workflows, including six levels of system permissions for delegating tasks and controlling HR and payroll access. Aside from providing a modern interface that rivals Gusto’s, OnPay offers unlimited pay runs, manages employee benefits, and files payroll taxes on your behalf.
While Gusto and most of the providers in this guide require you to upgrade to higher tiers to get all of their tools, you get full access to all of OnPay’s functionalities for a flat monthly fee of $40 plus $6 per employee. This makes OnPay one of the three most affordably priced Gusto competitors on our list—Patriot Payroll and SurePayroll are the other two—with sample annual fees costing $1,200 for a company with 10 employees.
However, its tax penalty guarantee only covers mistakes OnPay representatives make—unlike QuickBooks, which covers any tax errors. Plus, its direct deposits have a longer turnaround than some of its competitors—with either a two- or four-day option depending on OnPay’s risk assessment.
OnPay Key Features
OnPay supports multiple pay rates and schedules, including multistate payroll with no extra cost—SurePayroll and Patriot Payroll charge additional for this. It also enables you to pay employees through direct deposits, manual checks, and pay cards.
However, you can’t choose the direct deposit turnaround time of two or four days because OnPay will identify this for you following the results of its risk assessment. If you want to choose a direct deposit that fits your payroll needs, consider any of the providers in this guide or Gusto. If you need next-day or instant payouts, then QuickBooks Payroll and Square Payroll are great options.
OnPay caters to specific niches, including churches and nonprofits, restaurants, and farms. It calculates wages and tip payments (for restaurants) and processes the applicable tax filings for these particular industries at no extra cost. For small agricultural companies with workers on H-2A visas, OnPay can handle the applicable tax calculations. in addition to Form 943 reporting.
The other providers on our list may offer customizable reports, but OnPay’s reporting tools are more robust. It has a report designer that lets you add and remove over 50 data points. You can set up filters, select date ranges, and move columns to fit your reporting requirements. It also lets you save custom reports, and if you don’t want to create your own, OnPay has over a dozen built-in payroll reports to help you analyze and plan labor costs.
Read our full OnPay review to learn more about its features.
Paychex: Best for Businesses That Need a Scalable Payroll Solution
- Multiple pay options, such as direct deposits, paper checks, pay cards, and pay on-demand
- 24/7 customer support included in all plans
- Has a suite of integrated HR solutions and services like new hire reporting, onboarding, background checks, time and attendance, and PEO
- Pricing isn’t all transparent
- Payroll tax administration and W2/1099 year-end reporting cost extra
- Check signing and stuffing services and access to a dedicated payroll specialist are available only in premium plans
- Doesn’t offer unlimited payroll and off-cycle runs
- Paychex Flex Essentials: $39 per month plus $5 per employee
- Includes full-service payroll, tax filing services, direct deposits, new hire reporting, garnishment payments, and a financial wellness program
- Paychex Flex Select: Custom-priced
- Essentials plus check logo and signing services, learning management, and access to a dedicated payroll specialist
- Paychex Flex Pro: Custom-priced
- Select plus onboarding, background checks, state unemployment insurance (SUI) services, and an employee handbook builder
Paychex is a full-featured payroll system with different packages to meet the needs of small to large businesses. Its plans and HR products are flexible enough to handle your growing HR requirements, and it even has a PEO option for when you need expert help in handling day-to-day HR and payroll tasks. In addition to paying employees and contractors, it can handle online onboarding, staff benefits, and payroll tax administration. Subscribing to its premium plans even grants you access to a dedicated payroll specialist and check signing and stuffing services.
Gusto and most alternatives in this guide have fully transparent pricing. However, Paychex and Rippling don’t list full pricing on their websites. Both show the starter monthly fees while the rest of their payroll plans and products are custom-priced. Plus, with Paychex, you need to pay additional fees for some of its quarterly and annual payroll tax filings. Note that these are available for free in almost all the other options we reviewed—except for SurePayroll, which charges extra for Ohio or Pennsylvania local tax form submissions, and QuickBooks Payroll, which requires you to upgrade to its higher tiers for local tax filings.
Paychex Key Features
Compared to Gusto and the other providers listed in this guide, only Paychex has a system that can grow with your business. It provides efficient pay processing tools regardless of whether you have 10 employees or more than 1,000 workers. You just need to reach out to a Paychex representative who can recommend a package that fits the changing HR needs of your business.
Like Gusto, you can pay employees through pay cards, direct deposits, and paper checks. Furthermore, Paychex is the only provider that offers check signing and stuffing services among all the Gusto alternatives on this list. However, it doesn’t have QuickBooks Payroll’s fast direct deposit options and Square Payroll’s instant payments.
In addition to payroll, Paychex has a suite of HR solutions and services to help you manage hiring, new hire onboarding, time and attendance, workers’ compensation, garnishment payments, business insurance, employee benefits, and a financial wellness program. None of the Gusto competitors we reviewed have financial wellness tools you can offer your employees.
Aside from its team of compliance and HR professionals who can provide expert advice, you get dedicated support from a highly trained payroll specialist who will help you with your payroll and tax needs. While the other Gusto competitors in this article may offer HR advisory services, they don’t provide dedicated payroll support.
Read our full Paychex review to learn more about its features.
Homebase Payroll: Best for One-location Businesses
- Reasonably priced
- Wide suite of HR solutions (comes with payroll, time tracking, scheduling, job postings, and applicant tracking tools)
- Core scheduling and time tracking platform has a free plan for one-location businesses (you pay for the payroll add-on)
- Payroll is an add-on
- Lacks employee benefits
- Basic HR tools
Homebase Payroll Pricing*
- $39 per month plus $6 per employee, per month:
- Includes unlimited pay runs, payroll tax filings, year-end tax reports, new hire reporting, and access to basic hiring, scheduling, and time tracking tools
*Homebase Payroll is a paid add-on to Homebase’s core scheduling and time tracking platform. However, if you subscribe to its starter Basic plan, which is free to use for one location (with up to 20 employees), you can purchase the payroll module. It also has an HR advisory services add-on, which costs $99 monthly.
Homebase Payroll is a paid add-on to its core HR platform, such as Rippling and TriNet Zenefits, but more budget-friendly than these two providers. This is mainly because of Homebase’s Basic plan (for its core system) that allows one-location businesses to use its time tracking and scheduling tools for free—you just need to pay $39 plus $6 per employee monthly for payroll. With TriNet Zenefits, you have to pay per-employee monthly fees for its core platform ($10 per employee) and payroll module ($6 per employee), which can get pricey if you have a large team.
Despite having a feature-rich payroll plan, Homebase’s HR tools aren’t as robust as Gusto’s. It lacks the performance management, employee benefits, and survey tools that Gusto offers. It also doesn’t assign dedicated payroll specialists to its clients as Paychex does. Plus, it only provides two-day direct deposits to qualified companies (its standard processing timeline is four days), unlike most of the Gusto competitors we reviewed that have this as its standard processing timeline. QuickBooks Payroll and Gusto even have same-day options included in their higher tiers.
Homebase Payroll Key Features
Homebase Payroll offers a reasonably priced payroll plan with several HR features. Aside from full-service payroll and tax filing services, you get basic scheduling, time tracking, and employee messaging tools—all for only $39 plus $6 per employee monthly (provided you have 20 employees in one business location and subscribe to its core platform’s free plan). The other software in this guide may have similar functionalities, but these tools are either included in its higher tiers or available as paid add-ons.
Unlike Paychex, Homebase Payroll offers unlimited pay runs so you can process employee payments as many times as you need in a month without having to pay extra. While its software can print paychecks, you have to do this yourself. You can also send payments via four-day direct deposits—it only offers its two-day options to qualified companies.
For payroll taxes, it calculates, withholds, and remits taxes for you automatically. Homebase will even prepare and file your quarterly and year-end tax forms. W-2 and 1099 tax reports are also available for viewing through its self-service portal, making it easy for your employees to access and print their tax forms online. Plus, you don’t have to pay extra for these services (Paychex charges additional fees for tax filings).
While it doesn’t provide benefits plans that you can offer to employees, Homebase Payroll offers an employee perk that grants your staff early access to wages. Similar to Square Payroll, your staff can transfer a portion of their salary to their bank account before payday to help pay for emergency expenses.
Read our full Homebase review to learn more about its features.
SurePayroll: Best for Budget-conscious Small Businesses & Household Employers
- Affordable and transparent pricing
- Unlimited and automatic pay runs
- Offers extended weekday evening and weekend support
- Charges add-on fees for tax filings in multiple states and local tax filings in Ohio/Pennsylvania
- Software integration costs extra, with limited options
- Access to two-day direct deposits available only in the Full Service plan
- No Tax Filing plan: $19.99 monthly plus $4 per employee
- Includes payroll and payroll tax calculations, four-day direct deposits, unlimited and automatic pay runs, new hire reporting, and online pay stubs
- Full-service package: $29.99 monthly plus $5 per employee
- No Tax Filing features plus two-day direct deposits and payroll tax filing services
- Accounting software integration: Starts at $4.99 per payroll processed
- Time clock integration: $4.99 plus $3 per employee monthly
- Local tax filings in Ohio or Pennsylvania: $9.99 monthly
- Tax filings in multiple states: $9.99 monthly
Like Patriot Payroll, SurePayroll offers a full-service payroll package and a self-service option, which lets you handle payroll tax filings yourself. While the latter is great for those with a small team that prefer DIY tax filings, the former has all the essential tools you need to process payroll for both employees and contractors. It comes with payroll tax payments and form submission services, including year-end tax reporting.
However, unlike Gusto and the other providers we reviewed, you have to pay extra if you require local tax filings in Ohio or Pennsylvania. Accounting and time tracking software integrations also cost extra, plus the choices are limited compared to Rippling’s 500-plus partner apps. While you get two-day direct deposits with SurePayroll’s full-service option, it doesn’t have Square Payroll’s instant payments and QuickBooks Payroll’s same- and next-day options.
SurePayroll Key Features
With little prep work, SurePayroll lets you start unlimited and even automatic pay runs while it deducts payroll taxes and benefits contributions accurately. Its system also supports multiple pay rates and pay schedules.
Unlike QuickBooks Payroll, which only includes federal and state payroll tax filings in its basic plan, SurePayroll’s full-service option comes with quarterly and annual tax filing services on federal, state, and local levels—provided your business isn’t located in Ohio or Pennsylvania. If it is, you have to pay an additional $9.99 per month.
Unlike Square Payroll and Patriot Payroll, SurePayroll grants you access to an HR advisor if you need expert guidance on managing employee issues. However, if you want a dedicated payroll specialist, consider Paychex, as it offers this in its higher tiers.
Read our full SurePayroll review to learn more about its features.
Are you looking for a wider range of payroll options? Check out our buyer’s guides on the best online payroll services and best payroll software.
How We Evaluated the Best Gusto Competitors
We considered a dozen top payroll services, looking at how they competed with Gusto. Apart from comparing each software’s pricing, we looked for features and HR tools that are most important to small businesses. Finally, we chose the top nine Gusto competitors to help you decide which payroll software is best for your business.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Gusto is a popular and highly rated payroll software for small businesses. It even ranks first in several of our payroll buyer’s guides, such as best restaurant payroll software and top HR payroll system.
For a payroll software company, Gusto provides more than pay processing solutions. Its intuitive platform has recruiting, new hire onboarding, time tracking, benefits administration, performance reviews, and HR management features (similar small business payroll providers don’t have a solution suite that’s as wide as Gusto’s).
In addition, Gusto’s employee benefits offerings include both standard and nonstandard plans, such as 529 college savings. Its compliance tools also help you stay compliant not only with labor laws and tax rulings, but with Affordable Care Act (ACA), Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), and Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA) regulations as well.
Yes, Gusto offers global payroll tools to help you manage cross-border payments across 95 countries. However, this is a paid add-on and limited to international contractor payments only (as of this writing).
Gusto is an excellent payroll service, but there are several other great options that you can explore depending on your needs. Like Gusto, its competitors automatically run payroll and offer paycheck and direct deposit services, onboarding and employee self-service, tax and benefits calculations, and HR support. They are all competitively priced as well.