The good news is, both OnPay and Gusto are great choices and highly regarded by users, with excellent payroll and HR features as well as good customer service. Most businesses will be happy with either payroll software. However, there are some differences in features that may make one a better choice for you. Read on to learn more about OnPay vs Gusto.
- OnPay: Best for companies on a budget, large or growing companies needing some HR functions but mostly payroll, and businesses in the agricultural industry.
- Gusto: Best for small businesses that have less than 100 employees, want lots of integrations and HR features, work with contractors only, or just want affordable all-in-one payroll and HR software.
OnPay vs Gusto Overview
$36/month + $4/month per employee
$39/month + $6/month per employee to $149/month + $12/month per employee
Contractor Only Plan: $6/month per employee
Checks, direct deposit (up to 4 days), pay cards
Checks, direct deposit (2-day or next-day), pay cards
All 50 states
26 states + DC
Other Employee Benefits
401(k), other insurances at an extra fee
Extra fees: Life insurance, disability, FSA, DCFSA, HSA, Commuter benefits, 401(k), college savings plans, Gusto Cashout
Fully integrated (additional fee) or pay-as-you-go
Pay-as-you-go through Partner AP Intego
Payroll on Autopilot
For salaried and hourly workers
Federal and state
Federal, state, and local
Self-onboarding, templates, org charts, document storage, HR auditing, PTO requests, COVID-19 compliance, new-hire reporting
Handbooks, live advice on demand
11 integrations for accounting, time-tracking, HR
27+ for accounting, time tracking, POS, expense management, business ops
Online help center, installation, phone support 9 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET, Monday – Friday
Online help center, videos, live support (sign in required)
For In-Depth Reviews From Real Users
- Pay runs for salary, hourly, and contract workers
- Paycards and check and direct deposit options
- Benefits, taxes, and wage garnishments calculations
- Automated taxes and forms
- Health insurance and 401(k) – Limited states with Gusto
- Workers’ comp
- HR tasks (varies by plan)
- Employee portal
- Product support
- Compliance support
Takeaway: Both OnPay and Gusto are great payroll services for small businesses. Gusto is a little more expensive, yet still affordable, and offers HR assistance under its highest plan plus some employee features OnPay lacks. OnPay, however, offers a single, complete service at an affordable price that Gusto only beats with its Contractor-only plan. With both receiving high marks from users for ease of use and service, your decision will be based on price vs features.
Best Businesses for Gusto vs OnPay
Gusto: Gusto works for any industry but has a plan especially suited for businesses working with contractors or freelancers, such as magazines, IT companies, project management teams, and administrative services.
OnPay: While Gusto can work with just about any business, OnPay has special services for the following: restaurants, farms, nonprofits, churches, 500+ employee companies.
Payroll Processing: Gusto Wins
When it comes to straight payroll features, OnPay and Gusto are very close. Gusto’s Core plan, the closest price-wise to OnPay, allows pay runs on autopilot. It can also handle local taxes and pays out child support. It also processes direct deposits more quickly. Be sure to consider your process and how your business does payroll to help assess your needs.
Unlimited pay runs
Local tax filings
File and pay
W-2 and 1099
Deducts all; pays child support for 49 states
$ Simple (lunches, etc.)
Payroll on autopilot
When OnPay’s Payroll Processing Features Are Enough:
If your business and employees are in a place that doesn’t have local income taxes, then OnPay may suffice. And if you have a handful of employees for whom you don’t mind entering payroll for each period (there’s no payroll autopilot option), then it might also work.
Benefits: OnPay and Gusto Tie
When it comes to benefits offered, OnPay and Gusto are too close to declare a winner. Again, this will come to price. While Gusto lists the prices for several common benefits, OnPay does not. That’s because it will act as a broker to find you the best deal for what you need. With both, you can offer health insurance, workers’ comp, retirement benefits, college savings plans, and flexible spending accounts. Gusto also allows you to set parameters for custom paid holidays.
HR Features: OnPay wins
Both Gusto and OnPay have different strengths when it comes to HR features. However, many of the features offered by Gusto require its more expensive Concierge plan at $149 per month plus $12 per month, per employee. If you feel the need for dedicated HR advisers, then Gusto may be the better choice, but for overall HR tools, OnPay gives you the better value.
When Gusto’s HR Features Are Enough
If you’re looking for special features, like birthday and anniversary reminders, employee reminders, or harassment prevention training, Gusto might be a better option for you. It also provides help creating an employee handbook if you’re willing to sign up for a premium plan.
Employee Pay & Self-Portal Features: Gusto Wins
Gusto has just a few more employee features than OnPay such as payroll on demand (employees can draw from future paychecks as they earn the money) and voluntary charitable deductions, which may make it a better choice. However, to get self-onboarding and PTO requests, you do need the Complete plan, which is more expensive. They both come with self-onboarding, lifetime access, and an online portal employees can use to view pay stubs and other documents.
Integrations, Support & Administration: Gusto Wins
The Gusto Complete plan nicely matches OnPay for administrative features like signatures and permissions. While Gusto’s customer service hours are more limited, it does offer dedicated support at its highest plan, something OnPay lacks completely. And if you need to integrate with other software, then Gusto is the clear choice, as it has more options in a variety of categories.
Gusto Complete Plan
$36/month + $4/month per employee
$39/month + $12/month per employee
Customizable - admin and manager
Checklists, task tracking, and delegation
Phone and Chat support
9 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET
Monday – Friday
6 a.m. – 8 p.m. ET
Monday – Friday
Online, in-app help
Dedicated support team
Direct Support line
Total accounting integrations
When I Work integration
Additional time tracking integrations
Clover POS integration
Total POS integrations
Total HR/business ops integrations
Magnify (for the agricultural industry)
Expense management integrations
OnPay Payroll and Gusto Reviews
- OnPay: Our user-reviewers give OnPay 4.7 out of 5 stars; users elsewhere rate it at 4.8 and 4.9 stars. Comments include “easy,” “affordable,” and “best return on investment.” The complaints include a desire for a mobile app and occasional trouble getting a feature to work.
- Gusto: This software earned 4.8 of 5 stars on our site and 4.4 to 4.8 stars from users reviewing on other sites. Both employers and employees praise its intuitive user interface. Complaints ran the usual: software glitches or problems with slow customer support response.
When To Choose OnPay Over Gusto
- You are a growing business with a strong HR need.
- You are an agricultural business with workers on H-2A visas or a need to file Form 943s.
- You are a nonprofit, church, or clergy. OnPay makes it easy to skip federal unemployment taxes, Social Security and Medicare, and parsonage allowances that you are exempt from.
- You are in need of health insurance in a state not covered by Gusto.
- You are looking for the least expensive option for salary or hourly employees.
When To Choose Gusto Over OnPay
- You deal only with contractors.
- You want a next-day direct deposit.
- You want to let employees be able to take advances on pay (Gusto Cashout).
- You need dedicated HR advisers.
- You need integration support.
To get more help with finding a good payroll provider, check out our guide on choosing the best payroll provider for your business.
If deciding between Gusto and OnPay, then list your must-have features and those you are willing to pay a little more for, and then weigh them against your budget. Also, consider how you will grow and which payroll software will grow best with you. OnPay is best for those on a budget or who have a large number of employees because its one plan includes all of its features and it’s also slightly cheaper than Gusto. Gusto, on the other hand, offers a few more features, dedicated HR support, and many software integrations, but its plans are more expensive.