Gusto and JustWorks are both great options to help manage your payroll but provide vastly different services. Gusto is four times cheaper and allows you to automate payroll and manage your benefits and HR process online while JustWorks runs payroll for you, pays your payroll taxes under its company name, and advises you on compliance.
When to Use Gusto
You should consider using Gusto if you need automated payroll, a basic human resources (HR) package, and access to offer benefits at a low cost. Your employees can onboard themselves, but you must have time to handle some of the initial setup like workers’ compensation and state unemployment insurance. You can pay taxes and employees electronically but also give employees the option of receiving wages by paper checks you process in-house.
Your payroll process can be managed easily from your phone so that you’re not limited to time spent in the office. JustWorks has advisors who complete payroll tasks for you, but Gusto has tools to help you automate those tasks while giving you control to make the changes you need to fit your business. Sign up for a free trial.
When to Use JustWorks
If you’re saving money by not having an HR team, JustWorks might be a good option. It’s a professional employer organization (PEO) and will advise you on compliance issues in addition to doing payroll for you, filing taxes under its name and employer identification number. It’s more expensive than Gusto, and fees are charged per employee. However, insurance benefits are based on a larger pool of employees and provide a better value. Click for a free consultation.
When to Use an Alternative
Some companies need more personalized HR and compliance support than average providers offer but can’t afford the higher rates PEOs charge. It’s also common to be uncomfortable giving up so much control of your payroll and HR management functions.
In either case, Zenefits is a good option for advanced HR features like advisory services, which give you information without trying to enforce, and payroll processing features like automated tax filing, at a starting rate of only $45 a month.
Gusto vs JustWorks at a Glance
|Integration With QuickBooks|
|Online Employee Onboarding|
|Year-end Forms Mailed for You if Desired|
|Benefits in All 50 States|
|24/7 User Support|
How We Evaluated Gusto & JustWorks
We evaluated Gusto and JustWorks based on cost and the value they bring to small business owners. Pricing is our top consideration to help you maximize profit margins. We checked for automation features you would find in most providers like payroll tax filing, payroll processing, and direct deposits to ensure you have the basic features. We also looked at user support and integrations to see how easy transitioning from another software would be for you.
The criteria we used to evaluate Gusto versus competitor JustWorks include:
- Pricing: We consider setup fees ― if there are any monthly fees ― per-employee costs, and more
- Ease of use: Good payroll software has a modern & intuitive interface, setup wizards, online resources, and a helpful customer support team
- Automation: Automated payroll processes like automatic direct deposits and electronic tax payments, reduce or eliminate the time you have to spend entering, reviewing, approving, and submitting information
- Customer service: We judge customer support on their availability and how responsive and helpful they are. Sometimes, we test consistency and knowledge by calling multiple times and asking different representatives similar questions
- Integration: We consider what popular software systems they integrate with like time and attendance and accounting
- Compliance: What they provide to ensure you maintain compliance like workers’ comp, end-of-year tax form filing, submitted I-9 Forms, and guidance
- HR tools: Onboarding, document storage, and any other tools to simplify HR functions
- Benefits: If they offer access to medical, dental, vision, and life insurance and how good the quality is; if there are employee perks and other benefits beyond insurance
Most small businesses will use Gusto because it’s affordable, automates payroll, can be used on any mobile device, and gives access to benefits and other HR features without taking control of key business decisions like how to enforce compliance policies. However, businesses with 50 or more employees in heavily regulated industries like restaurants might prefer JustWorks for its personalized, direct compliance support and competitive benefits package.
Gusto vs JustWorks: Pricing & Features
Both Gusto and JustWorks’ pricing is transparent and affordable when evaluated besides other industry providers that offer comparable services. Compared to one another, Gusto is in the winner’s circle, charging as little as $45 for one employee per month. With JustWorks, you’re required to pay for at least two employees at a minimum of $79 an employee per month. There are no setup fees for either, and year-end services are included in their monthly fees.
Gusto Pricing & Features
Gusto provides well-rounded features that help you manage not only payroll but HR functions in general. And regardless of whether you have the basic plan starting at $45 a month or the premium plan starting at $161 a month, you have access to full-service payroll that includes automated direct deposits and tax filing in addition to benefits if you’re in a state they’re offered.
Gusto Tiered Features
|Workers’ Comp Administration|
|Health Benefits Administration|
|Simple Time Tracking|
|PTO Policies & Time Off Requests|
|Employee Directory & Surveys|
|Certified HR Pros|
|HR Resource Center|
Gusto’s Automated Features
Gusto withholds payroll taxes from your employees’ checks automatically and sends to the IRS with your portion and tax forms each quarter. You can also automate payroll by enabling the Payroll on Autopilot feature. Once you set your pay period and schedule during setup, Gusto knows what day your employees should be paid. It will process payment automatically and send you a reminder before. JustWorks automates this too but doesn’t allow you to customize pay periods.
Integration with Gusto
Gusto provides more integration than JustWorks. QuickBooks, Xero, and FreshBooks are all affordable accounting software you can sync to Gusto. When I Work, Homebase, and TSheets are also popular and just a few of Gusto’s integration options that give you time and attendance tools to simplify your process on the front-end. If you use expense reimbursement software, like Expensify or Receipt Bank, Gusto will sync with it so you can pay employees through payroll.
Gusto’s Industry Specializations
While Gusto doesn’t specifically offer plans for different industries, it does offer features that are useful for certain business types. For instance, it gives you the option to add tips to payroll. If you own a restaurant or another business that has tipped employees, this will help you maintain compliance with tip reporting.
Gusto allows you to add cash or paycheck tips, and taxes will be withheld from each. JustWorks allows you to add tips as well but per a rep, only those paid by credit card.
Gusto will also adjust wages automatically to comply with the federal tip credit and minimum wage laws when applicable. The software can provide a report with all of the details to help restaurant employers claim the FICA tip credit tax incentive at year’s end.
Gusto is also good for businesses that work with contractors. It provides payment options, 1099s, and the flexibility you need to pay them. The unlimited and off-cycle payrolls are at no additional cost and come in handy because contractor invoices can be inconsistent. With JustWorks, you can make unlimited contractor payments, but employee payments are limited.
Gusto offers flexibility with its ability to handle multistate payroll, multiple pay schedules, unexpected bonuses, and off-cycle payments. Unlike JustWorks, you can set a pay schedule that appeals to you. This means if you want your pay schedule to run from Wednesday to Tuesday, you can set it up that way. If you need to change it, you can do that as well.
Gusto’s Compliance Features
Paying payroll taxes accurately and on time is one of the biggest parts of compliance for most small businesses. Gusto files Form 940 and Form 941 to report your annual Federal Unemployment Taxes and quarterly Social Security and Medicare (FICA) taxes paid. Forgetting to pay this can be more costly than purchasing payroll software. If your business and/or employees are subject to state and local taxes, Gusto ensures you maintain compliance.
Other forms Gusto will file for you to ensure you are in compliance are:
- Form 8974: Form 8974 will be filed quarterly if you claim Federal R&D Tax credits
- W-2s & 1099s: Form W-2 and the 1099 Form report wage expenses and taxes paid if applicable to employees and independent contractors
- Child support garnishments: Once set up, Gusto sends these automatically in all states except South Carolina
- New hire reporting: Reports all new hires to their respective states, including I-9 forms and other required paperwork
Gusto offers great insurance and 401(k) starter packages for employers who want to provide employees with access to benefits. It also partners with brokers to offer flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts, and commuter benefits. These benefits are only offered in 23 states and one territory, but its 529 college savings plans are available in all 50 states.
Gusto’s Mobile Responsive Platform
You can run payroll on Gusto from anywhere using a browser on your phone or tablet. It’s cloud-hosted and mobile-responsive, so you don’t need special software to manage. JustWorks also has an online system, but the representative we spoke to recommends accessing through a laptop or desktop using Chrome since it’s more compatible.
JustWorks Pricing & Features
JustWorks pricing is more expensive than software providers like Gusto but cheaper than other PEOs. Fees are charged by employee per month, and the more employees you have, the lower your rate. Some PEOs charge $125 or more per employee but, for JustWorks, the average small business would probably pay between $49 to $59 per employee each month.
JustWorks Pricing Plans
|2-4 Employees (per Month)|
|5-24 Employees (per Month)|
|25-99 Employees (per Month)|
|100+ Employees (per Month)|
|Automated Payroll & Taxes|
|Unlimited Contractor Payments|
|Online Employee Onboarding|
*Pricing increase by $10 to $20 monthly, if you choose month-to-month billing
Here are key features JustWorks offers for the price.
JustWorks’ Automated Features
Like Gusto, JustWorks supports automation. The primary difference is JustWorks has more control, and some tasks aren’t just automatic ― they’re done for you. The company will file your payroll taxes under the JustWorks’ name and EIN. It will also handle any wage garnishment orders. While it may call you if they need additional information, It will process it under its EIN automatically and at no additional charge.
Integration With JustWorks
JustWorks has several integration options but not as many as Gusto. If you use QuickBooks, QuickBooks Online, or Xero for accounting software, you can enjoy seamless integration. They are popular and affordable options that you should consider if you haven’t yet chosen any accounting software and decide JustWorks is right for you. If you use Boomr or TSheets for time tracking, importing employee hours is simplified with their preformatted reports.
For the number of employees JustWorks manages, its flexibility is competitive. You can pay employees, contractors, and vendors within the software. Off-cycle, bonus, severance, and commission payments can be made at any time. Although the website doesn’t mention any integrations with expense management software, it is capable of paying expense reimbursements to both employees and contractors.
The software also has flexible permission management, which allows you to give selected team members access to certain functions with the system. You can restrict your accountant to expense reimbursements and your HR lead to paid time off (PTO) approvals. Unlike Gusto that only allows you to add and edit permissions for administrators, JustWorks allows you to change permissions for administrators, managers, and employees.
Benefits are one area JustWorks rules in. Because it’s a PEO, it classifies all of its customers’ employees as its own. When it comes to benefits, this structure allows it to give better rates with national carriers because of the size of the company. More employees mean a larger pool that drives down costs. You can give your employees access to big insurance providers like Aetna, Delta Dental, and MetLife at affordable premiums.
You can also offer wellness perks like fitness memberships, bike sharing, and mental health support. Like Gusto, JustWorks offers flexible spending accounts, 401(k), and commuter benefits, but it also gives you access to accidental death and disability insurance, short- and long-term disability insurance, and on-demand primary care services. JustWorks offers these benefits in all 50 states compared to Gusto’s 24 states and territories.
JustWorks’ Compliance Features
Compliance is another major focus of JustWorks. In addition to handling the legalities of wage garnishments and filing payroll taxes and forms, the company offers online sexual harassment training. You won’t typically get this benefit from payroll providers like Gusto. If you live in a state like California, New York, or Connecticut that requires you to provide harassment training, this could save you from spending money in search of your own resources.
JustWorks is committed to helping you stay on top of employment regulations, and its team publishes new information in the monthly newsletter, blog, Resource Center, and Help Center regularly. In the online Help Center, you can find several employer compliance starter guides and other articles on state regulations as well as how-to information and more detail on topics like benefits and HR support. The online support is much more extensive than Gusto.
JustWorks’ HR Tools
When you make a new hire, JustWorks sends the employee everything he or she needs to start the onboarding process. It’s an online self-service system, similar to Gusto’s, and your employees can enter the important information like direct deposit details and pick a health insurance plan, You’re also given a place to store company policies and a calendar to help you remember birthdays and work anniversaries, in case you want to acknowledge these events.
JustWorks vs Gusto: Ease of Use
Gusto and JustWorks are both pretty easy to use. The catch is that you do more on your own with Gusto, so your concern is primarily how user-friendly the software is. While JustWorks has a good software product, you have to factor in the customer support team a lot more when considering its ease of use.
Gusto Ease of Use
Gusto’s software is intuitive and user-friendly. Setup is easy and can be completed in an hour if you only have a few employees. Loading historic information may take additional time, depending on your old provider, but Gusto will load it for you if necessary. You can also reference the online how-to articles if you ever have a question about how to perform a task in-app. Live reps are also available.
JustWorks Ease of Use
JustWorks’ software has a clean, user-friendly interface that is easy to use. It does a nice job of organizing the sections and subsections so that the features are easy to see. The online support and articles available to you exemplify the software’s ease of use. You can find how-to guides on common issues and questions users have about the software. JustWorks will also provide you with a certified HR consultant who can provide guidance and suggestions about best practices.
JustWorks vs Gusto: Customer Service
JustWorks and Gusto displayed quality customer service when we tested it. There were a few kinks with JustWorks but, overall, our interaction with its representatives was positive. Keep in mind that once you sign up for one of these payroll services, you should have a more consistent experience since you will have direct contact.
JustWorks Customer Service
JustWorks’ customer service team is personable and helpful. They offer assistance 24 hours a day, seven days a week, unlike Gusto, which is only available Monday through Friday. We tested their customer service several times and were impressed the two times we spoke to a representative. We tried to use its live chat one night, but the automated system stated no one was available.
Another time we called, the phone service recorded our number and promised to call back. About 30 minutes passed, and we didn’t receive a call, so we tried calling again. A representative answered and was willing to answer all of our questions.
The first time we called, we asked about JustWork’s process, and the rep answered our questions thoroughly. The second time we called, we asked more technical questions like whether or not the system could report cash tips. The rep didn’t have all the answers but did promise to research and gave us the number to another representative who would be more informed.
Gusto Customer Service
Gusto’s customer service gets an A+ from us. Support is available by phone and email on Monday through Friday, from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time. To test, we started an account for a consulting company using the free trial and, a couple of days later, a rep sent us an email to see if we needed help with anything.
We called the next day, and the rep we talked to was helpful. He gave valuable suggestions to make the transition to Gusto easier. There was no pressure to sign up for a paid plan before the trial ends. We discussed the impact of starting mid-year, and he recommended loading all prior pay stubs to ensure the accuracy of our year-to-date information. He also offered his team’s help if we needed it.
JustWorks vs Gusto: Customer Reviews
There are numerous customer reviews online for these two payroll providers. Although JustWorks and Gusto serve different user needs, they are both highly regarded. As with any software, we found some complaints, but none were recognizable patterns.
JustWorks Customer Reviews
Overall, JustWorks’ customer reviews were mostly positive. Users love the ease of use and appreciate the low cost compared to other PEOs. The benefits were also a huge seller in the review section. There were some complaints about reporting functionality and the customer service team taking too long to respond. Other comments mention how much money JustWorks has saved them.
Gusto Customer Reviews
For the most part, Gusto’s customer reviews were positive. Users like the software’s ease of use and user-friendly interface. They also love the convenience of managing their payroll from a mobile device and the access they have to benefits and HR regardless of their company’s size. There were complaints about payments taking too long, basic reporting, and limited benefits. Some people were also concerned that Gusto doesn’t work well for large companies.
Gusto and JustWorks both provide exceptional payroll services, but for the average small business owner, Gusto will work best. Pricing is inexpensive, and the software is flexible, plus you have access to a starter benefits package. JustWorks is best if you’re a company with at least 50 employees in a heavily regulated industry; you can easily justify the extra cost through lower legal and compliance-related fees in addition to higher quality benefits.