In-Depth Homebase Payroll Review 2024: Tested and Compared

Our Verdict

Practical payroll tracking that feels made for mobile

We’re having mixed feelings about Homebase. It’s a cracker when it comes to time tracking and scheduling, but its payroll functionality leaves something to be desired.

Payroll is only available as an add-on and adds considerably to the monthly bill. On the upside, the Homebase payroll module is packed with features like automated tax filings and payments, deductions and garnishments, paperless onboarding, and unlimited payroll runs.

The software feels designed for mobile workers, and with cool features like automatic break and overtime calculations, it’s easy to see why US restaurants and other service businesses love it. For others, the benefits may be less clear.

Pros

  • Free plan (for scheduling and time tracking)
  • Made for mobile first
  • Integrations with complementary HR and payroll solutions
  • Perfect for businesses with hourly employees who work on the move

Cons

  • Payroll is an add-on rather than a core feature
  • Limited features on Basic and Essentials plans
  • Mainly for US businesses
  • Time racking errors are difficult to correct

Homebase Plans & Pricing

Homebase’s pricing structure starts with an entry-level plan that’s free forever. From there it’s three steps up, all escalating in price and functionality. That makes it easier to assess value and ramp-up capabilities when you grow and your needs expand.

One thing becomes apparent quickly: Homebase is, at heart, a scheduling and time tracking solution. Payroll is always an add-on to the base monthly fee, and costs an additional $39 per month plus $6 per employee per month.

Basic Essentials Plus All-in-one
Monthly Cost Free forever $24.95 per location per month $59.95 per location per month $99.95 per location per month
Free Trial
Employee limits For one location with up to 20 employees Unlimited employees Unlimited employees Unlimited employees
PTO Management
Expense Management
Reporting Standard Payroll Reports (journal, summary, W-2 preview, pay statements) Standard Payroll Reports (journal, summary, W-2 preview, pay statements) Standard Payroll Reports (journal, summary, W-2 preview, pay statements) Standard Payroll Reports (journal, summary, W-2 preview, pay statements)
Customer Support Email, telephone help desk (8AM-7PM CST), YouTube channel with tutorials, free knowledge base Email, telephone help desk (8AM-7PM CST), YouTube channel with tutorials, free knowledge base Email, telephone help desk (8AM-7PM CST), YouTube channel with tutorials, free knowledge base Email, telephone help desk (8AM-7PM CST), YouTube channel with tutorials, free knowledge base

Basic – Free forever

Homebase’s Basic plan is free for one location with up to 20 employees. It comes with time tracking, scheduling, availability snapshots, timer clock, point-of-sale (PoS) integration to track hours against sales, and hiring tools. Payroll is available as an add-on. It costs an additional $39 per month plus $6 per employee per month.

Essentials – $24.95 per location per month

Moving up to the Essentials plan gives you everything in Basic plus team messaging, performance tracking, advanced scheduling and advanced time tracking. It costs $24.95 per location per month. That drops to $20 per month is you sign up for an annual subscription. Payroll is available as an add-on for an additional $39 per month plus $6 per employee per month. Onboarding is easy and ‘just looking around’ is encouraged. You can take a 14-day free trial and no credit card is required.

Plus – $59.95 per location per month

At the Plus level you get everything in Basics and Essentials plus the ability to manage labor costs and budgets, manage personal time off (PTO), set different user permissions and share company policies and handbooks to keep employees up to date. It costs $59.95 per location per month, dropping to $48 per month with an annual subscription. Payroll is an additional $39 per month plus $6 per employee per month.

All-in-one – $99.95 per location per month

Homebase’s top-tier plan offers everything in the previous three tiers then wraps in HR tools like new hire onboarding, management of employment documents, and regulatory tools to ensure your processes are compliant with US labor law. It costs $99.95 per location per month, dropping to $80 with an annual sub. Add the payroll module for another $39 per month plus $6 per employee per month. There’s a fuss-free 14-day trial with no demand for credit card details.

Homebase for Payroll Overview

Starting price Free
Best for Service businesses with hourly employees who work on the move
Customer support Email, telephone help desk (8AM-7PM CST), YouTube channel with tutorials, free knowledge base
App integrations Square Payroll, Shopify, Quickbooks, Gusto, Wells Fargo, Bank of America, and more
Security & Compliance TLS encrypted data, 2FA, regular security audits, bug bounty programmes with security vendors
Reporting & analytics
Mobile app
Auto-alerts and reminders
International Payroll USA only
Digital Payslips

Standout Features

Payroll

Homebase offers a payroll automation feature

On first pass it might seem like Homebase has relegated payroll to extra status, but what an extra it is. The module comes with a host of automated, time-saving benefits like dedicated employee app, automated tax filings, support for multiple pay rates, paperless onboarding for new hires, break and overtime calculation, deductions and garnishments, and essential paperwork like (US) W-2s and 1099s. For a small business with one location and up to 20 employees, signing up for the free Basic plan and then adding Payroll for $39 plus $6 per employee could be an attractive option.

Time Tracking

Effortlessly track time with this feature

If only every solution chose one thing to do effortlessly well and build on it. That’s the route Homebase took, and its killer app is time tracking. It lets employees quickly punch in, switch on an automatic shift time clock, or tap-in hours manually from their smartphones. Setting up a new team member is simple. Once the employee profile is created you can set permissions and send a dedicated email with a tracked link to the Homebase app. Each staffer can install their own and start tracking time on the iOS or Android app, or use Homebase’s mobile browser app.

Geofencing

To keep things honest, Homebase allows business to establish a geofenced ‘perimeter’ outside of which its impossible to clock-in or enter hours from the mobile app. You can set a radius as wide as five city blocks or as nearby as 150 feet. If you try and clock-in for a shift before you’ve entered the geofence area, and error message is displayed that tells you how many yards away the business location is. Once you enter the geofenced zone, everything works seamlessly again.

Integrations

Homebase doesn’t have the longest list of app integrations, but its partner ecosystem looks well-rounded and strategic, hooking-up with established point of sale tools, payroll solutions, HR platforms and job boards. Pre-built integrations include Square and Square Payroll, Shopify and GoDaddy, Quickbooks, Gusto, Google, Indeed, craigslist, and US banks Wells Fargo and Bank of America.

Homebase Customer Reviews

Users on G2 give Homebase a cumulative score of 4.2 out of five. That puts it firmly in the good to very good range, though if you look at the ratings break down there’s a large proportion of 4-star reviews. That suggests many users like it, but think it could be better.

A review of Homebase

What is Homebase Good For?

Growing US-based businesses with hourly workers at one physical location should give Homebase serious consideration. Its free plan is good for up to 20 employees, suiting many small businesses — and restaurants in particular. It’s tiered pricing structure future-proofs businesses when they grow and their neds become more sophisticated. Best of all, adding the robust payroll option won’t break the bank. It’s designed for hourly workers and syncs with Homebase’s core time tracking to convert timesheets into wages with one click. It automatically calculates hours, breaks, overtime, and PTO, and processes payments to staff and tax authorities across the US at the state and federal level (e.g the IRS).

Homebase Payroll vs Top Competitors

Homebase Papaya Global ADP Remote
Best for Local businesses with a large proportion of hourly workers who operate on the move Mid- to large-size businesses with operations in multiple countries Large multi-nationals with strict payroll software procurement specifications Large firms looking for one employer of record (EOR) partner for multiple countries
Starting Price Free for one location with up to 20 employees. $25 per user per month Quote-based $29 per month (contractor plan)
Free Trial
Standout Features Geofencing, mobile time tracking, robust payroll module Premium support, multi-currency payments, global compliance tools More than 300 pre-built reports, and analytics presented in storyboard style for easy consumption Full-stack EOR provider with incorporated entities in each country
Reporting Standard payroll reports Sophisticated analytics dashboards Advanced Standard
Mobile App

Homebase vs Papaya Global

Papaya Global and Homebase seem to address very different markets. While Homebase is focused on local businesses where hourly time tracking is the basis for most paycheques, Papaya Global aims to provide small firms with a key to the world: manage locally while hiring internationally. In that sense it’s almost a chalk & cheese comparison.

Where there might be overlap is in Papaya’s support for freelancers and contractors who bill on an hourly basis. But even here, Homebase wants to help businesses like restaurants who have permanent employees but variable shifts. Papaya helps small businesses engage with gig workers in other countries. Not the same at all.

Homebase vs ADP

A face-off between Homebase and ADP feels like a local shop taking on a national retailer. Both can co-exist but the smaller player needs to maintain focus. As one of the biggest and most established names in payroll processing, ADP is a proven choice. It offers a full range of payroll features including benefits administration and HR Services. It also tries to address both the small business and large enterprise ends of the market. For our reviewers, casting the net so widely allows Homebase to edge ahead. In this case, staying laser focused on time tracking and building on those capabilities with a payroll add-on makes it the better choice — at least for small businesses with hourly employees.

Read our in-depth ADP Payroll review.

Homebase vs Remote

Signing up for Remote means you’re engaging it to be your worldwide employer of record (EOR), a firm that handles the hiring, paying, and ’employing’ international employees on you rbehalf. Homebase doesn’t do that; in fact, in its current iteration, our reviewers found it to be almost uniformly designed for the American market. For US small businesses that need a payroll and time tracking solution for hourly staff, Homebase is the easy winner.

Verdict – is Homebase Payroll Worth it?

The fairest way to assess a solution like Homebase is to ask how well it addresses the needs of its target market: small to mid-size local businesses that need a payroll solution for hourly employees. On that front, our reviewers say Homebase delivers the goods. It makes time tracking easy, its fully mobile, and allows managers to transform timesheets into paycheques at the push of a button.

We’d be more enthusiastic if Homebase moved to integrate its payroll module into the core offering. As good as it is, right now it’s an add-on. All in all it’s a mixed bag for Homebase when payroll is the priority.

How We Test Payroll Solutions

Techopedia is a leading authority on payroll and HR solutions. Our independent reviews of apps, platforms, and services are conducted with the needs of payroll pros in mind. Our goal is to give them practical market intel and support better buying decisions. When we review payroll software, we assess its quality in six areas:

  • Pricing – What are the different price tiers and what’s included/excluded
  • Features – Core features and those available at different price levels
  • Integrations – We look at how easily the solution could be integrated with the tools you already have in place
  • Automation – We ask how many repetitive, time-consuming tasks the product can take on
  • Ease of Use – We look at the interface, the range of menu options, the effort needed to roll it out, and how much training would be required for new users
  • Third-Party Reviews – We consider what hands-on users saying about the product on respected platforms like Trustpilot, Capterra and G2

How to Choose the Best Payroll Software

Choosing the right payroll solution can impact business outcomes — for better or for worse. If you’re thinking of trialing a new software or investing in one for the first time, here are some key considerations:

  • Ease of use – Is the interface and functionality intuitive, or will training be required?
  • Essential Features – Does the solution combine payroll with HR, time tracking, benefits management, and expense management?
  • Pricing – Is there a plan for my budget that offers all the capabilities I need? How easy is it to scale up or down if business needs change?
  • Integrations – Can the solution blend easily into my existing payroll workflow?
  • Customer Support – What levels of support are offered and do they differ by pricing tier?

FAQs

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Mark De Wolf
Tech Writer

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…