Gusto Payroll Review 2024: Everything You Need to Know

Our Verdict

Gusto payroll is a versatile option for small US businesses

Our Gusto review revealed that this leading payroll software is best for small, single-state US businesses with hourly workers.

Gusto offers a broad range of employee compensation and management features at a competitive price. Small business owners can perform all the tasks they need to without stretching their budget or their resources. As they grow, Gusto’s comprehensive list of integrations lets them connect to other apps.

While other payroll providers have lower starting prices, not many can rival Gusto on value for money.

Pros:

  • Wide range of integrations
  • Flexible pricing plans
  • Support for contractors
  • Range of HR features

Cons:

  • Time tracking not included in the lowest tier
  • No free trial

Gusto Payroll Plans & Pricing

Gusto offers a choice of four plans with a range of features. Some users may be deterred by the fixed rate plus the charge per employee but this pricing structure is typical for payroll software.

Simple Plus Premium Contractor Only
Monthly Cost $40 per month plus $6 per person $80 per month plus $12 per person Custom pricing $35 per month plus $6 per contractor
Free Trial 6 months free
PTO Management ❌ but you have the ability to view PTO reports N/A – Contractors aren’t entitled to PTO
Expense Management ✅ but only support for one-off reimbursements ✅ but only support for one-off reimbursements
Reporting Custom payroll and time off reports Custom payroll, time off and workforce costing reports Custom payroll, time off and workforce costing reports Custom expense reports
Customer Support Call, email, or chat support Option to add priority support with a direct line to the Gusto customer service team Dedicated customer success manager Call, email, or chat support

Simple – Starts at $40 Per Month and $6 Per Employee

At $40 per month, Gusto’s starter price falls into the middle of the range. It’s not one of the most expensive software but some solutions like Paychex and Homebase have lower costs.

The Simple plan is a great option for small, local businesses that need support with a range of payroll and HR functions. You can access everything from tax filing and benefits administration to hiring and onboarding tools.

We would’ve liked to see a tracking tool in the Simple plan as it’s essential to payroll management. Having a built-in time clock means you can automatically generate timesheets and convert them into wages. However, Gusto does let you integrate with several tracker apps like ClockShark and WhenIWork instead.

Plus – Starts at $80 Per Month and $12 Per Employee

Medium-sized businesses that operate across different locations may prefer the Plus plan. You can run multi-state payroll and access more workforce management tools.

We were happy to see the time clock and leave management features in Plus. If you oversee multiple locations, you can’t always be there to monitor punctuality and attendance. Gusto’s geofencing time clock means you can verify what time employees arrive from afar.

The best feature of the Plus plan was the optional HR and priority support add-on for an extra $8 per person. Growing businesses can begin to scale their HR department without committing to the highest cost plan.

Premium – Custom Pricing

As your workforce grows and you require extra support, you can upgrade to Gusto’s Premium plan. You get tailored pricing and discounts at volume to offset the per-employee fee. There’s a also tax credit feature to help you save more money.

We thought the compliance alerts were a nice addition. Gusto updates you when changing federal or state laws may impact your business. They also provide curated resources to help you understand the issues and stay proactive with compliance which we haven’t seen with many other providers.

Contractor Only – $35 per month and $6 Per Worker

We were happy to see that Gusto recognizes the growing gig economy and includes support for contractor payments. You can pay employees anywhere in the US and file their 1099 tax forms.

Gusto is one of the few payroll providers to offer a separate plan for contractors. If you only hire freelancers, you won’t have to pay for employee features you won’t use.

None of these plans have a free trial. However, you can create an account and you won’t get charged until you run payroll. You can cancel and delete any of the plans from within the Gusto settings.

Gusto Payroll Overview

Starting price $40 per month plus $6 per person
Best for Small businesses looking for simple, all-in-one HR and payroll software
Customer support Phone, email, and web chat
App integrations Over 100 including Microsoft, Asana, and QuickBooks
Security & Compliance Data encryption, multi-factor authentication, and fraud monitoring
Reporting & analytics
Mobile app ✅ but only for employees
Auto-alerts and reminders
International Payroll 120+ countries
Digital Payslips

Gusto’s Standout Features

You can find a range of different features on Gusto to help you with employee management, accounting, and HR. Let’s look at the main ones in more detail.

Payroll

Gusto Payroll lets you shedule pays

Paying your team is easier with Gusto’s payroll automation and unlimited monthly runs. You can choose the pay frequency that suits you and your team. You’ll also find support for multiple pay rates and different types of workers.

We would’ve liked to see multi-state payroll available from the lowest-cost plan but we see why Gusto doesn’t. Instead, they’ve prioritized hiring, onboarding, and health administration so small businesses with one or two locations have all the features they need in one package.

Unlike some providers, such as QuickBooks and Homebase, Gusto supports international payroll. You can pay an extra fee to make transfers to freelancers in other countries.

Time tracking

Gusto's time tracking feature

We were disappointed to see the time clock isn’t in Gusto’s lowest-cost plan. As you can sync time sheets to payroll for more efficiency and accuracy, it’s a missed opportunity for many businesses. However, you can still integrate with apps like WhenIWork and TSheets.

The Gusto time clock uses geo-location to let employees clock in as standard. However, it also includes unlimited project tracking which you won’t find in every tool. Companies in the service industry can use this to track hours and how long projects take for a deeper look at labor costs.

HR tools

Gusto Payroll offers a wide range of HR tools

What differentiates Gusto from many competitors is its range of HR tools. Many competitors require you to integrate with dedicated platforms to access tools like surveys, performance reviews, and people analytics.

The versatility of each tool is also impressive. For example, the performance review feature supports one-on-ones, self-evaluations, and progress tracking.

We were especially impressed that you can consult on employee relations as well as compliance in the top-tier plan. It’s unusual to find such a big focus on people experience in HR software aimed primarily at small businesses.

For a closer look at these features, read our Gusto HR review.

Benefits administration

Manage employee benefits on the go

Gusto offers many types of benefits including health insurance, worker’s comp, and 401(k) plans from the lowest tier. That’s good news if you’re on a budget as competitors with similar offerings like QuickBooks and ADP have higher starting costs. There’s a choice of high, low, and no-cost plans to suit all types of companies.

We liked the extra Gusto Wallet feature. Employees can download the app to track and save their wages as they earn them. There are even budgeting tools to help them get better at managing different expenses.

Integrations

One of Gusto’s most standout features is its extensive range of integrations with popular tools. You can connect with software across the following categories:

  • Accounting and bookkeeping
  • Benefits administration
  • Business operations
  • Collaboration tools
  • Expense management
  • Hiring and onboarding
  • Data analytics
  • Learning management
  • Legal and compliance
  • Performance management
  • Point of sale
  • Rewards and recognition
  • Tax preparation
  • Workforce management

Of Gusto’s hundreds of integrations, some notable examples are Google Workspace, Clover, and Zoom.

Gusto Payroll Customer Reviews

Gusto reviews are generally favorable with an aggregate rating of 4.5/5 on G2 and 4.7/5 on Capterra.

Both businesses and their employees praise Gusto for its intuitive interface and versatility. Many users specifically complement the employee self-service features such as the wallet and informative digital pay stubs.

A review of Gusto Payroll

A few Gusto reviews note that, while the software is user-friendly, sometimes using it to manage complex teams can be challenging.

What is Gusto Payroll Good For?

Gusto is one of the best payroll providers for small businesses working from a single location or scattered across a few states. The all-in-one HR and payroll solution means you won’t have more tools to juggle as you manage your business. There’s also support for hourly workers and contractors which you’re most likely to hire as a small business owner.

Gusto Payroll vs Top Competitors

Comparing Gusto against other leading providers on the market can highlight where it’s outperforming competitors and where it’s falling short.

Gusto ADP SurePayroll QuickBooks Payroll
Best for Small businesses looking for simple, all-in-one HR and payroll software Companies that need scalable solutions Paying household employees Companies that already use QuickBooks for accounting
Starting Price $40 per month plus $6 per employee Custom pricing Custom pricing $45 per month plus $6 per employee
Free Trial ✅ but not for all plans ✅ – offer for six months free ✅ – 30-day free trial
Standout Features – Range of integrations
– HR and people experience features
– Payroll for solopreneurs
– Local compliance support
– Industry specific services
– Evening and weekend customer support
– Deep integrations with other QuickBooks products
– Tax penalty protection
Reporting Custom Custom Custom Custom
Mobile App ✅ but only for employees ✅ for employees and managers ✅ for employees and managers ✅ but requires you to buy QuickBooks Time to access all the features

Gusto Payroll vs ADP

Gusto and ADP payroll serve different target markets. While Gusto targets small to medium businesses, ADP has plans for everyone from solopreneurs to enterprises.

While ADP has more features in total, Gusto offers more streamlined services for business owners who have to multitask. Its features are designed to be intuitive and easy to learn so they don’t require a large time investment.

Check out our in-depth ADP Payroll review.

Gusto Payroll vs SurePayroll

Whereas Gusto has a wide application, SurePayroll offers some specialized payroll services such as household staff and clergy. That means it’s easier for people with one employee to pay their wages and handle their taxes.

Otherwise, Gusto and SurePayroll share many of the same features including automated payroll, tax filings, and HR tools.

Gusto Payroll vs QuickBooks Payroll

Although the two platforms have similar starting prices, Gusto has more features in its lowest cost plan. QuickBooks Payroll only has basic tools like automation, tax filing, and next-day deposit.

QuickBooks costs also add up faster than Gusto’s. You have to add other products to access dedicated HR and team management tools.

To explore other alternatives, read our list of the best payroll software on the market.

Verdict – is Gusto Payroll Worth it?

After a thorough Gusto payroll review, our verdict is that the software is one of the best on the market for small to medium businesses. The pricing may be competitive but you can still find a range of features and integrations across all the tiers. With the extra support for contractors and overseas workers, you can get Gusto to handle almost every payroll task you need.

How We Test Payroll Software

To ensure we get the most comprehensive look at each software, here are the steps we take:

  • Pricing – We analyze each software’s pricing plans, see which features they have, and compare them against competitors.
  • Features – With the help of the free trials and demos, we test all the different tools. We check how smoothly they perform and whether they get the intended results.
  • Automation – As payroll software’s main feature is auto calculation, we look at the efficiency and accuracy of the tool. We see how long it takes and how many bulk actions you can do then double-check the accuracy of any sums.
  • Integrations – We examine the provider’s list of integrations to ensure it connects with all the tools you’re likely to need.
  • Ease of use – First, we see how quickly and effortlessly we can run each feature. Then we look at what tools, resources, and support are available for inexperienced new users.
  • Third-Party Reviews – We research and analyze hundreds of customer testimonials across reputable sites like G2 and Capterra. Getting these insights reveals how the software performs in real scenarios over a long period.

How to Choose the Best Payroll Software

Choosing a payroll software is challenging when there are so many factors to consider. Take the following steps to help narrow down your options:

  • Price The first step is to check whether the software has plans within your budget. If yes, see if these plans include all the essential tools for your business setup.
  • Features – Determine whether the tools are well-suited for your context. For example, if you pay hourly, your ideal payroll software would support wages, not just salaries.
  • Scalability – As your business needs are likely to change, check how easily you can upgrade your plan to access more features. Also, consider whether you’ll get the same value for any higher-cost plans the software offers.
  • Ease of useTest the features using any free trials or demos. Great payroll software shouldn’t require much training to use and should save you time managing your business.
  • Integrations Compare the integrations you have against the ones the software provides. You should be able to connect most of your tools so you can automatically share data between them.
  • Customer supportYou may encounter issues, even if you have the best payroll provider. Look for providers that offer extensive support across different channels at times that suit you.

FAQs

Is Gusto payroll secure?

Is Gusto payroll expensive?

Which is better, ADP or Gusto?

Why choose Gusto for payroll?

Rhiannon Stone

Rhiannon Stone is an experienced web content creator with over four years in the industry and graduated with an MA in English. Before she began working with Techopedia, she traveled the world teaching Business English where her students worked in sectors such as banking, manufacturing, and telecommunications. After teaching Rhiannon joined a publishing house where she started her writing career. Now, Rhiannon is based in Greece and specializes in writing in-depth reviews and thought-out comparison content within SaaS, HR, and accounting to help Techopedia readers make fully-informed choices.