Gusto vs ADP: Which Is the Best for Your Business

Gusto and ADP are both excellent payroll solutions for businesses of all sizes, in virtually any industry. That said, there are a few key differences between them, which we’ll go over in this guide.

To help you make an informed decision, we’ve compared Gusto and ADP’s core functionalities, pricing plans, integration capabilities, and customer reviews. Read on to learn how they measure up and see which one is a better fit for your business.

ADP vs Gusto At a Glance

Payroll Software Gusto ADP
Starting Price $40/month + $6/month per employee Custom quote
Free Plan
Tax Filing Federal, state, and local payroll taxes in all 50 U.S. states Automated tax filing for state, federal, and most local payroll taxes
Employee Benefits Management Health insurance, life insurance, commuter benefits, 401(k) retirement savings Retirement, workers’ comp, and health insurance as paid add-ons
Employee Portal Employee profiles and self-service included in every tier Employee ADP access included with all pricing tiers
Integrations Freshbooks, QuickBooks, ClickUp, Asana, Dropbox, HubSpot, Notion, etc. QuickBooks, Wave, Xero, Workday, Sage, FinancialForce, Deputy, ZipRecruiter, etc.
General HR Benefits administration, hiring and onboarding tools, time off reports Onboarding, background checks, employee handbooks, HR help desk, ATS, LMS
Customer Support Phone, email, Live Chat Live Chat, virtual assistant, phone support
Read Review Gusto Review ADP payroll review

Gusto vs ADP Pricing Compared

While ADP offers several pricing plans for SMBs and enterprises, the company doesn’t publicly display the prices. You will have to fill out a form on the ADP website to get a custom quote, which will vary depending on your needs and company size. As a frame of reference, when conducting our ADP payroll review we were quoted $59/month + $4/employee for the Essential plan.

Gusto, on the other hand, offers three distinct pricing plans to choose from:

  • Simple — $40/month + $6/month per employee
  • Plus — $80/month + $12/month per employee
  • Premium — Custom pricing

If you choose Gusto, make sure to do so when they have an offer available. The provider will regularly have incentives of 25% – 50% off for first-time users.

Gusto vs ADP Ease of Use

Winner: Tied

Both Gusto and ADP are rather intuitive, so you won’t have any trouble learning the ins and outs of either platform, even if you have no previous experience. Their dashboards are easy to navigate, with side-menu shortcuts that let you access payroll, taxes, time tracking, and benefits with one click.

What’s interesting about ADP is that it also features a built-in calendar, which displays a list of to-dos and upcoming payroll events, ensuring you never miss a crucial task and helping you make everything ready for the pay date.

Gusto’s advantage stems from the fact that it automatically syncs all hours worked, PTO, benefits, and other deductions during each payroll run. This ensures payroll accuracy and provides you with raw data you can refer back to in case of a payroll dispute.

Both platforms also offer excellent mobile apps, which enable you to run payroll on the go and allow your team to quickly clock in, whether they’re in the office or on the field.

Gusto vs ADP Key Features

Winner: ADP

The core functionalities of Gusto and ADP are quite similar, but there is one key difference you need to be aware of. ADP allows you to run multi-jurisdiction payroll, whereas Gusto only supports single-state payroll.

So, if you have multiple locations across different states in the U.S. or your team works on different sites in multiple jurisdictions, ADP is a better choice for your business.

Payroll

With ADP, you can run payroll for all your employees and contractors, including the ones that work in multiple states or jurisdictions in the same payroll period. The company will create and deliver all W-2s and 1099s for you, so you can focus on running your business. ADP supports direct deposits and checks as payment methods, with the latter being delivered to your business in time to hand them out for each payroll period.

Gusto, on the other hand, focuses solely on single-state payroll, as we’ve mentioned. The payroll functionality includes W-2 and 1099-NEC filing, as well as federal W-4s and I-9 forms. The platform also supports direct deposits and printable checks.

The major advantage of Gusto over ADP and similar solutions is that it lets you run payroll for salaried employees on autopilot. You can even set up multiple pay rates and schedules, and the platform will automatically calculate all deductions and deposit the money in your employees’ accounts on payday.

Tax Filing

ADP will automatically calculate, file, deposit, and reconcile your taxes. Moreover, the company will also respond to any inquiries from taxing agencies, giving you much-needed peace of mind. And, most importantly, if ADP makes a tax filing error, they’ll pay the resulting fines and penalties, so there’s absolutely no risk involved for your business.

Gusto can also file federal, state, and local taxes for you, but it doesn’t offer the same guarantee when it comes to potential tax filing errors.

Time Tracking

Gusto offers built-in time and attendance functionality, but only on its Plus and Premium plans. This feature allows your employees to easily clock in from their mobile devices. It also features geolocation, which prevents buddy punch-ins and ensures that every employee is on the correct job site.

ADP, on the other hand, offers time and attendance as a paid add-on. If you opt for this functionality, you’ll be able to track hours worked, manage schedules, and manage time off for all your employees.

Benefits Administration

When it comes to benefits administration, Gusto includes health insurance administration, spending and savings accounts for your team, and the Gusto Wallet employee app on all pricing plans. Add-ons include workers’ comp, health insurance broker integration, 401(k) retirement savings, and commuter benefits.

With ADP, you’ll be able to offer health insurance, workers’ comp, and retirement plans as benefits, but they are all paid add-ons. This makes Gusto a slightly better option for benefits admin, provided that all your employees work in a single state.

Gusto vs ADP Integrations

Winner: Tied

Both Gusto and ADP natively integrate with a myriad of third-party apps and tools.

You’ll be able to connect Gusto with your accounting, general HR, performance management, and analytics tools, and even your LMS (Learning Management System). Additionally, you’ll have access to the Gusto API (Application Programming Interface), which enables you to create custom integrations, so you can theoretically connect your entire existing software stack with the payroll software.

ADP also integrates with over 300 apps, including POS (Point of Sale) solutions, which is essential for the hospitality industry. It also offers a variety of industry-specific integrations, namely in the consulting, construction, manufacturing, and education niches.

Gusto vs ADP Scalability

Winner: Tied

Both platforms offer plenty of flexibility when it comes to choosing the pricing plans and selecting which add-ons you want to include with your account.

They also enable you to seamlessly add new users as your business grows, as well as upscale to a more expensive pricing plan if the need for advanced features and functionalities arises.

So, when it comes to scalability, there aren’t any notable differences between Gusto and ADP.

Gusto vs ADP Customer Reviews

When going through user reviews on trusted third-party review sites, like TrustPilot, G2, Capterra, and TrustRadius, we’ve noticed that the reviews for both platforms are mixed.

In Gusto’s case, most users praise the platform’s payroll functionality and automated tax filing, as well as emphasize its ease of use and the simplicity of benefits administration as Gusto’s strong points.

A customer's review of Gusto

That said, a good number of users are also frustrated with Gusto’s customer support, noting that they had to communicate with multiple support agents to get their issues resolved.

ADP’s reviews are also quite similar, in that half of the users love the platform’s payroll, tax filing, and general HR functionalities, with the other half voicing their disappointment in the platform’s customer support.

A customer's review of ADP

Another thing worth noting is that a handful of users mention issues with W-2 filing. However, these are not frequent occurrences and ADP takes full liability when it comes to any errors, so we don’t see this as a major downside.

Conclusion — Gusto vs ADP Which One Wins?

Gusto and ADP are fairly similar when it comes to their core functionalities like payroll, tax filing, benefits administration, and general HR.

The main difference between them is the fact that ADP lets you run multi-jurisdiction payroll, while Gusto is only viable for single-state payroll runs.

This makes ADP a better option for larger businesses like construction companies, where employees tend to work in multiple jurisdictions during the same payroll period. Another reason to opt for ADP over Gusto is that it takes full liability for any tax filing errors, meaning the company incurs any fees and penalties that may result from incorrect tax filing.

That said, Gusto is still a great solution for single-state payroll, especially if you need built-in time-tracking functionality and want to manage employee benefits. Another advantage of Gusto is that it comes with an ATS (Applicant Tracking System) and allows you to run background checks, so it’s a better option if you intend to use the platform for hiring and new employee onboarding as well.

How We Test Payroll Software

When testing and comparing payroll software, we focus on the following criteria:

  • Pricing — The overall value for money the platforms offer. This includes an overview of all pricing plans, paid add-ons, and any discounts and free plans.
  • Features — The core payroll and tax filing features, as well as additional functionalities that might be useful for businesses of all sizes, such as time tracking, benefits administration, and general HR.
  • Integrations — The number of native integrations with third-party accounting, bookkeeping, project management, benefits administration, general HR, and other tools and apps.
  • Automation — Payroll and tax automation, automated deduction calculations, and other general automations that minimize manual administrative work and free up valuable time.
  • Ease of use — The navigation and the UI (User Interface) of the platforms, their overall level of complexity, and the average time necessary to learn how to fully utilize all of their features and functionalities.
  • Third-Party Reviews — Reviews left by users on reputable third-party review sites, such as G2, TrustPilot, TrustRadius, and Capterra.

How to Choose the Best Payroll Software

When comparing multiple payroll software solutions and trying to decide which one is a better fit for your business, you should consider the following:

  • Budget — Determine your monthly budget for the payroll software and compare it against the pricing plans of different solutions. Keep in mind that the total price will include the platform subscription fee, the monthly fee for each employee on your account, and the fee for any add-ons you’d like to add to your account.
  • Key features — Consider which key features the platform must have on a pricing plan you can afford. It makes no sense to opt for a cheaper option that doesn’t have everything you need or to overpay for a solution that offers a dozen features you’re never going to use.
  • Ease of use — Determine how easy it would be for you, your accountants, and your other team members to learn how to effectively use the software. The best way to gauge this is through a demo or a free trial if one is available.
  • Scalability — Consider how easy it would be to scale the platform as you grow and expand your business. Most solutions let you easily add new users to your account and upscale to a premium pricing plan, and ADP and Gusto are no exceptions.
  • Customer support — Go over the available methods for getting in touch with customer support and their working hours. Also, consider what other users say about the response time and the overall quality of customer support in their reviews.

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Aleksandar Stevanovic
Software Reviews Expert

Aleksandar Stevanovic spent 10 years honing his craft as a freelance content writer. He has a degree in Economics, and extensive experience in software, crypto, and cybersecurity industries. He covers a multitude of topics, writing factual and informative articles, helping individuals better understand the intricacies of the online world. Over the last two years, his research focus shifted more towards tech and software content, as evidenced by his publications on CEX.IO, Business2Community, and Techopedia. He believes in simplifying complex topics and bringing them closer to like-minded individuals. His work is as detail-oriented as it is creative, and is designed to…