Gusto Review – Everything to Know in 2024

Anyone running a small or mid-sized business knows that you need to focus on essentials – driving sales and making customers happy. But without a big team behind you, how do you stop human resource management issues from becoming a distraction?

One way is to use HR software solutions like Gusto. This award-winning SaaS solution can manage all your people issues as well as automate time-consuming payroll runs, tax filings, and retirement benefits like 401k(s).

Our expert-led Gusto review looks at the platform’s features, benefits, and potential drawbacks. We’ll also rate it against top competitors in the HR software sphere.

Before we get into the details of our Gusto review, here’s our take on the key points:

Pros:

  • No limits on payroll frequency
  • Flexibility to move around price tiers
  • Support for domestic and international contractors
  • Automated US tax filings for federal, state, and local agencies

Cons:

  • Not yet available in the UK
  • No next-day direct deposit or time tracking on the basic plan
  • Limited functionality on the mobile app
Table of Contents Table of Contents
Table of Contents

Gusto Plans & Pricing

Gusto’s four service tiers run from the stripped-down Contractor plan – currently discounted to be free for the first six months – all the way up to the Premium tier, offering exclusive pricing for larger organizations based on specific needs.

In between the high and low end of the scale, Gusto’s model uses a base subscription price, then adds a per-employee fee on top.

While there are just three core tiers – Simple, Plus, and Premium – we found that they escalate substantially in terms of functionality and price:

  • Simple starts at a base subscription of $40 per month
  • Plus doubles to a base subscription of $80 per month

When we looked at payment options for all plans in our Gusto review, we came to find that Premium pricing is by request only.

Gusto Pricing Plans Compared

Plan Tier/Level Monthly Cost/Per user Reporting Customer Support Payroll Benefits Admin
Simple $40 USD per month plus $6 per person per month Basic (payroll and time off reports plus custom reports) Full support Yes Yes
Plus $80 USD per month plus $12 per person per month Basic plus workforce cost and employee surveys Full support Yes Yes
Premium Bespoke pricing available by request Basic plus workforce cost reports and employee surveys Priority call center support plus a dedicated customer success manager Yes Yes
Contractor Only Free for the first 6 months, but costs $6 per month per contractor New hire reporting Access to online knowledge base Yes (contractor payments) No

Contractor Plan

The least expensive service tier we came across in our Gusto review was the Contractor Only plan. The base price is currently $0 for the first six months, plus a $6 per-contractor, per-month fee. After your first six months, the base price jumps to $35 per month.

This tier offers unlimited payments for US contractors and 1099-NEC (non-employee compensation) filing. For an additional fee, you can pay international contractors in over 120 countries.

Simple Plan

Gusto’s Simple tier flat rate sits at $40 per month, plus $6 per employee per month. However, the business and its employees must be based in one US state only. This plan’s main functionality focuses on payroll processing along with relevant tools, records, and reports.

With this plan, Gusto offers a basic US employee benefits administration package, plus third-party integration options in areas like accounting, time tracking, and expense management. You’ll also get basic customer support.

Plus Plan

Gusto’s Plus tier is priced at $80 per month, with an additional per-employee per-month fee of $12. As the middle tier, it supports payroll services and benefits management for multiple US states and wraps in more HR features. We were particularly impressed by:

  • Advanced employee onboarding tools
  • Performance management
  • Next-day direct deposit
  • Additional reports for workforce costing

Premium Plan

Gusto’s top-tier Premium plan comes with bespoke pricing only. It delivers everything offered by the Simple and Plus plans, but you’ll also get exciting special features. Premium users can enjoy:

  • Consulting services from certified HR professionals
  • A dedicated account manager
  • Automated regulatory alerts
  • Full-service payroll migration and account setup
  • Health insurance broker integration

Gusto Review Overview

Starting price $35 per month (after six free months), plus $6 per contractor per month
Best for Mid-sized organizations that need a combined payroll, US benefits management, and HR solution
Customer support Support via chat, email, or phone. Help desk support from 07:00 to 18:00 Mountain Time.
App integrations Asana, Google Workspace, Microsoft 365, plus another 188 integrations.
Security & Compliance TLS v1.2, AES 256 encryption, Multi-Factor Authentication, and account-level access permissions.
Payroll Yes
Reporting & analytics Yes
Mobile app Yes
Employee Benefits Administration Yes
E-signatures Yes
Auto-alerts and reminders Yes

Gusto HR Features Available

Gusto presents some unique features that are hard to find among other HR software competitors. As the gig economy continues to grow, Gusto’s payroll module can handle different pay rates and schedules for both domestic and international worker categories.

Gusto’s Wallet mobile app helps employees track payments and hours worked, no matter their location.

Aside from this distinctive feature, our Gusto review also found other quality, albeit more standard, HR software features:

  • Onboarding
  • Payroll
  • Time tracking
  • Tax compliance
  • Benefits management
  • Reporting
  • Employee self-service

Employee Onboarding

Gusto makes onboarding new employees very easy

Gusto helps you quickly process new joiners regardless of whether they work in-office or at home. It streamlines standard background checks and benefits enrollments thanks to a built-in e-signature function and online tax registration for each US state.

Payroll

Run Gusto's payroll as many times as you want

Our review found that payroll processing on Gusto was close to frictionless. We also loved the fact that you can customize payroll services to suit unique business needs. You can set employee profiles with a salary level or hourly rate, while automatically running regular payroll runs in the background (on a fixed schedule).

Time Tracking

Gusto's time tracking feature

Gusto’s time management module offers both time-tracking and time-off functions. If you don’t have rules in place already, the platform suggests often-used policies for PTO. Its range of suggestions includes policy for:

  • Sick leave
  • Paid time off
  • Paid holidays

Of course, you’ll also have the flexibility to create policies of your own.

Tax Compliance

HR teams can use Gusto to calculate and file US payroll taxes automatically. Employees can access their pay stubs using their personal Gusto logins and receive an email reminder to let them know their money is on the way.

For an additional fee, employers can receive regulatory updates about any changes to employment law.

Benefits Management

A list of Gusto health benefits

For US customers, Gusto offers a robust benefits administration module that goes beyond what HR solutions typically offer. We tried out the management of extended benefits like:

  • College savings
  • Financial wellness
  • Charity matching

The Gusto HR platform can even recommend regular benefits such as life insurance, healthcare, commuting, and retirement, all based on an employee’s profile. It truly feels like a future-ready platform.

Reporting and Analytics

Gusto data and reporting view

You can generate reports from a library of options using different metrics. With these tools, managers can easily analyze payroll, time tracking, and contractor activity.

During our Gusto review, we tried selecting from a list of variables – it was easy to create reports tailored to organizational needs.

Employee Self-Service

Employees can self-manage their own information with a personalized Gusto login. On the Gusto mobile app and desktop version, employee self-service includes being able to:

  • Access their profiles to view payday data
  • Change tax details
  • See how much PTO they have left
  • Record their working hours

Integrations with Gusto HR

Gusto integrations

With payroll being at the forefront of Gusto’s HR responsibilities, you can expect seamless integration with popular accounting platforms like Xero, FreshBooks, and QuickBooks.

Gusto also boasts third-party integrations with hundreds of applications commonly used to streamline small business workflow. These include time tracking, collaboration, training, and performance management. Among its 188 integrations, three important apps are:

  • Asana
  • Google Workspace
  • Microsoft 365

If integration is your priority, there’s very little concern as to whether Gusto is right for you.

Customer Ratings of Gusto

In our Gusto review, we checked third-party opinions as well as gave our own views. Customers give Gusto top marks on review sites like G2, where it earned 4.5 / 5 stars and a ‘Top 50 HR Products 2023’ badge.

Gusto review on Trustpilot

An intuitive user interface and excellent customer service were two aspects mentioned in the majority of reviews. User-friendliness and the convenience of having so many HR functions in one place were also frequently cited. We did not notice any overarching themes in terms of negative reviews at the time of writing.

What is Gusto HR Good for?

It felt quite clear in our review that Gusto is aimed at startups and high-growth companies. It began as a startup itself, offering payroll solutions for businesses with a contractor-heavy workforce.

While it remains a top option for that kind of model, it has since extended its use cases to address wider business needs.

If your SMB employs a mix of FTEs and independent contractors, and you need flexibility in the plans and add-ons to suit your HR needs, you’ll fit right in using Gusto. It’s also a must for any SMBs that need seamless app integration.

Gusto vs. Top Competitors

Provider Best for Starting Price Payroll Benefits Admin Reporting/Analytics Mobile App
OnPay Small businesses in need of streamlined HR with guaranteed error-free taxes $40 per month plus a $6 rate per user per month Yes Yes Standard Yes
TriNet Zenefits SMBs in heavily regulated sectors $8 or ca. £6.30 No No Standard Yes
ADP RUN Firms with under 50 employees $59 per month, plus fees for add-ons Yes Yes (as an add-on) Yes Yes

Gusto vs. OnPay

Like Gusto, OnPay offers all-in-one payroll and HR management. It seems to focus on small businesses too, but sets itself apart with an ‘error-free tax guarantee.’ OnPay also boasts robust benefits administration capabilities, similar to Gusto. P

ricing comes in straightforward bundles of popular features, but you cannot customize plans to specific company needs. Overall, these two solutions felt fairly similar.

Gusto vs. TriNet Zenefits

Like Gusto, we’d rate TriNet Zenefits highly for simplicity and ease of use. It offers comparable levels of robust functionality. The main difference is that TriNet Zenefits takes full-featured payroll and benefits administration beyond SMBs – it also targets larger organizations. Gusto firmly remains within the smaller business customer category.

Gusto vs. ADP RUN

Unlike ADP Workforce Now, designed for large enterprises, RUN is ADP’s solution for firms with under 50 employees. Like Gusto, it offers exceptional flexibility in pricing plans – you can customize plans to fit the needs of different sectors and sizes.

Notable features include automatic tax filing and reports, easy payroll, and upgrades like marketing and legal support. RUN’s pricing structure is more complex than Gusto’s, and extra fees can accumulate quickly.

Verdict – is Gusto Worth it?

After undertaking a detailed analysis in our Gusto review, we decided to recommend it as a solid option for SMBs and entrepreneurs based in the US.

There’s no doubt it’ll save you time by simplifying a range of HR processes – Gusto automates repetitive tasks across payroll, benefits, compliance, accounting, and people management capabilities.

We felt it was worth it for ease of use for your employees, too, as well as for the Gusto Wallet. There’s no need for much training or assistance before they can benefit from easy access to pay stubs and personal information without having to make a formal request to an HR team.

How We Test HR Software

Our expert reviews of human resource management software and online services are designed to help you make a smart choice before committing to a payment plan. When we review an HR software product, we assess its benefits and pitfalls in six key categories:

  • Pricing – We check price plans for HR platforms to ensure they can align with the budgets of small and large-scale companies.
  • Features – Core HR features must be available at a minimum, but we also want to see unique features at different price levels.
  • Integrations – We analyze integration capabilities with a plethora of popular apps for businesses.
  • Automation – Our experts expect to see a certain degree of automation in the features and functions of a quality HR platform.
  • Ease of use – There must be an accessible interface to allow both HR professionals and company employees to easily use the product.
  • Third-party reviews – We always check users’ feedback and testimonials about the software on respected platforms like Trustpilot.

How to Choose the Best HR Software

If you’re thinking of investing in an HR software solution, it must align with your unique needs. Our Gusto review showed that SMBs are set to benefit most from the platform – but what if you’re in another category? You need to check:

  • Type of HR software – You’ll need to establish whether the HR software suits your organization’s size, complexity, and location.
  • Essential HR features – If you need payroll as well as people tools like scheduling, time tracking, and performance management, then you’ll need a platform that’s a strong all-rounder.
  • Pricing – Before committing financially, study the pricing structure. Does it fit your budget constraints? Have you checked for hidden costs?
  • Ease of use – It should be easy to set up, upload data, and start using the product without much training. The key word here is intuitive.
  • Integrations – You’ll need to ensure the HR platform’s compatibility with any apps you’re already using, as well as any future plans. Make sure you avoid any potential data duplication.
  • Customer support – Choose software that offers customer support through multiple channels, like live chat, video, contact forms, email, and phone support.

Gusto HR FAQs

Does Gusto offer a free trial?

What type of company is Gusto HR software best for?

Does Gusto offer payroll functionality?

How much does Gusto cost?

Is there a Gusto app?

Mark De Wolf

Mark is a freelance tech journalist covering software, cybersecurity, and SaaS. His work has appeared in Dow Jones, The Telegraph, SC Magazine, Strategy, InfoWorld, Redshift, and The Startup. He graduated from the Ryerson University School of Journalism with honors where he studied under senior reporters from The New York Times, BBC, and Toronto Star, and paid his way through uni as a jobbing advertising copywriter. In addition, Mark has been an external communications advisor for tech startups and scale-ups, supporting them from launch to successful exit. Success stories include SignRequest (acquired by Box), Zeigo (acquired by Schneider Electric), Prevero (acquired…