ADP is a great all-in-one solution for growing businesses actively hiring new employees. With comprehensive HR services, tax compliance and full-service payroll, the software can automate and streamline your small business accounting processes.
However, ADP’s high cost and extra fees for additional payroll runs and year-end reporting might be a deal-breaker for small businesses low on funds.
Tip: Read our reviews of the best online payroll services to learn even more about payroll services, features and pricing.
|Feature||Gusto||OnPay||Paychex Flex||QuickBooks Payroll||Rippling||Square||Wave||Zenefits|
|Monthly price||Starts at $39 + $6 per employee||1 fee: $36 + $4 per employee||Starts at $59 + $4 per employee||Starts at $45 + $4 per employee||Starts at $8 per employee||1 fee: $35 + $5 per employee||Starts at $20 + $6 per employee||Starts at $10 per employee|
|Free trial||1 month||1 month||No||1 month||No||No||1 month||No|
|Unlimited pay runs||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||No||Yes|
Whether you work with employees, contractors, or a mixture of both, Gusto can provide you with an easy-to-use interface and powerful features.
Gusto doesn’t have any contracts, so you can feel confident giving it a try. Gusto offers free support if you need to migrate data from another payroll provider.
Here’s a look at Gusto’s key features and pricing. For more information, read our in-depth Gusto Payroll review.
Key features of Gusto
- Unlimited payroll: Do you run payroll daily or at random times? Gusto can handle your payroll no matter the schedule without extra costs.
- Onboarding: Using staff to onboard new employees can be cumbersome and inconsistent. Gusto helps with onboarding best practices, starting by sending a job offer letter to your potential employee and then cycling them through the onboarding process once they’ve accepted the offer. Gusto can communicate with the new hire to complete I-9 and W-4 forms, relay initial company information, and self-onboard payroll.
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- Benefits: Gusto provides its users with licensed insurance brokers to help you find the best employee health benefit plans. Add, remove and edit employees’ health insurance benefits via cloud software. Other supported employee benefits include 401(k)s, commuter benefits, dental, vision, paycheck splitting and workers’ comp.
- Taxes: Gusto can automatically file and pay your federal, state and local payroll taxes. Plus, Gusto auto-generates W-2s and 1099s so that you and your employees will have digital copies at the ready.
- Employee portal: Gusto is just as intuitive for employees as it is for employers. With a self-service portal, workers can see the breakdown of individual paychecks and time-off requests.
- Contractor: $6 per contractor per month (no upfront fee; only for working with contractors)
- Core: $39 per month, plus $6 per employee per month (basic features)
- Complete: $39 per month, plus $12 per employee per month (includes next-day direct deposit, time-tracking and project management tools)
- Concierge: $149 per month, plus $12 per employee per month (includes HR resources)
Tip: If you want to compare Gusto directly to ADP, read our complete ADP review to learn the service’s features and pricing.
OnPay Payroll is one of the best ADP payroll alternatives for businesses that mainly work with hourly and contract employees. Since hours and projects can vary, keeping payroll for these workers is more complex than running payroll for salaried employees.
OnPay can also scale with your business, as it caters to companies with one to 1,000 employees. There are no wasted fees; OnPay charges you only for the employees you pay in a given month. Its cloud software isn’t automated, giving you the freedom to run and edit payroll as often as needed.
Here’s a look at OnPay’s key features and pricing. For more information, read our in-depth OnPay Payroll review.
Key features of OnPay
- Unlimited payroll: Run payroll anytime and pay only for the employees you’re paying in a given month.
- Multistate payroll: Run payroll in multiple states? Take advantage of OnPay’s multistate payroll feature.
- Employee portal: Workers can self-onboard and access tax documents, paycheck stubs and company documents.
- Taxes: OnPay has a 100% accuracy guarantee and will take the blame for tax errors, including covering fines if they were responsible for the mistake.
- Benefits: OnPay is a licensed healthcare insurance broker in all 50 states and can help you select and manage a plan. The software can also add retirement benefits, such as a 401(k) plan.
- Straightforward fee: $36 per month, plus $4 per month per person
FYI: As an example of OnPay’s pricing, if your company has five employees, your cost to use OnPay would be $56 ($36 + $4 + $4 + $4 + $4 + $4) per month.
3. Paychex Flex
Paychex Flex caters to businesses with 10 to 49 employees. However, if your company already has more than 49 employees, you can sign up for Paychex Flex Pro or Paychex Flex Enterprise.
Paychex Flex comes with a payroll specialist who can answer all your questions about running payroll and filing taxes.
Here’s a look at Paychex Flex’s key features and pricing. For more information, read our in-depth Paychex Payroll review.
Key features of Paychex Flex
- Mobile app: The Paychex Flex mobile app is available for both administrators and employees.
- Integrations: Paychex can integrate with 190 apps, such as those from QuickBooks Online, Indeed, Xero, BambooHR, AIG, banks and health insurance companies.
- Payment options: Pay your employees with direct deposit, check or a Mastercard prepaid card.
- Payroll processing: Log your payroll hours via the website or mobile app. Not into data entry? Call your Paychex account manager with the information, and they’ll do it for you.
- Paychex Promise: For an additional fee, sign up for Paychex Promise, which protects against payroll interruptions by extending the collection of payroll funds from a business’s bank account for up to seven days.
- Self-service portal: Offerings include employee onboarding, benefits management, reports and same-day direct deposit.
- Taxes: Paychex Flex includes tax prep tools, tax forms and automated tax calculation and filing (federal and state).
Paychex Flex pricing
- Flex: $59 per month, plus $4 per employee per month
- Pro: Custom price (quote needed)
- Enterprise: Custom price (quote needed)
Most businesses are familiar with QuickBooks products, especially for general accounting. QuickBooks Payroll is a full-service payroll integration with unlimited payroll runs.
With QuickBooks, you can automate payroll and taxes, plus run reports so you can always know how many hours your employees are working and the labor costs going out.
Here’s a look at QuickBooks Payroll’s key features and pricing. For more information, read our in-depth QuickBooks Payroll review.
Key features of QuickBooks Payroll
- Unlimited payroll: You can easily see detailed labor costs and employee hours. Then, run payroll (automation is an option) as many times as you need with no restrictions.
- Taxes: QuickBooks Payroll auto-calculates and files federal and state taxes.
- Employee portal: Employees can log in to the system to view time off, W-2 forms and pay stubs, as well as garnishments and deductions.
- Powerful reporting: Create custom payroll reports for specific days, individual employees, bank transactions and more.
- Direct deposit: The Core plan provides a next-day direct deposit option. Both the Premium and Elite plans offer same-day direct deposit.
QuickBooks Payroll pricing
- Core: $45 per month, plus $4 per employee per month
- Premium: $75 per month, plus $8 per employee per month (includes same-day direct deposit, expert review, on-the-go time tracking, an HR support center and workers’ comp administration)
- Elite: $125 per month, plus $10 per employee per month (includes expert setup, 24/7 expert product support, tax penalty protection, personal HR advisor, an HR support center and workers’ comp administration)
FYI: Aside from accounting and payroll, QuickBooks business tools can help you with tax compliance, budget tracking and online payment acceptance.
Rippling boasts that, since all payroll information syncs with its system, you’ll have to commit just 90 seconds to run your payroll.
The software has standard payroll features, including a mobile app, automatic tax filing, employee onboarding, workers’ compensation, garnishments and time tracking. Rippling can also scale from small to large businesses, providing a quick way to pay employees in the U.S. and abroad.
Here’s a look at Rippling’s key features and pricing. For more information, read our in-depth Rippling review.
Key features of Rippling
- Global payroll: You can run payroll for all your employees, whether they’re stationed at the main office or working remotely in another country.
- Time tracking: Are you interested in creating a custom PTO policy? With Rippling, you can approve employee PTO requests with one click, and then the software will automatically sync any time off with the payroll run. Plus, use the time-tracking feature to track costs by location, client or task. When you promote an employee, change their pay rate within Rippling, and the software will automatically take care of the rest.
- Detailed reporting: Rippling was created with a variety of prebuilt reports. You can also create custom reports personalized to your business needs.
- Integrations: Rippling syncs with more than 400 apps. If you already use another software for accounting, time tracking, etc., it will most likely integrate with Rippling’s payroll, making it one of the more flexible ADP payroll alternatives.
- Starts at $8 a month per user (contact Rippling with the services you need for a custom quote)
Square is known for its point-of-sale system and mobile credit card processing, but it also specializes in an affordable payroll system for small businesses.
Square Payroll is a top pick for businesses with hourly employees, offering transparent pricing, benefits, tax support and a time-tracking app to help automate work schedules.
Key features of Square
- Team app: Square Payroll users get free access to the Square Team app, which provides employers with scheduling support. Employees add their work availability in the app, managers use the information to create a schedule and then employees receive their completed shift schedule via an app notification. Employees can even request a portion of their paycheck before payday (at no cost to the employer), which can be helpful if shift hours fluctuate.
- Unlimited pay runs: No matter how often you run payroll, Square Payroll can help. You can run payroll once a month, once a week, twice a month or every two weeks. However, Square also supports off-cycle pay runs, and according to their FAQ, you can pay contractors and employees unlimited times during the month and incur no additional fees.
- Taxes: Square Payroll automatically calculates taxes and sends W-2s.
- Tip importing: While cash tips are generally preferred, customers often don’t have cash on hand. If you frequently handle credit card tips, Square Payroll can automatically process those tips for W-2 employees. You can pay credit card tips directly to an individual employee or split them across a team. In addition, Square can pay out tips through the employee’s paycheck or via cash.
- Pause: Square will let you pause your payroll subscription for free. The ability to pause payroll service payments is a significant financial benefit for seasonal businesses.
- One pricing structure: $35 per month, plus $5 per employee per month
- Contractor plan: $5 per contractor per month (no monthly base fee)
Tip: If you use Square Payroll, consider adding Square’s mobile credit card processing service, which includes free POS software, hardware options, instant deposit and chargeback protection. Read our Square review for more information.
If you own a small business, you know how tight the budget can be. Wave Financial’s cloud software offers accounting and invoicing tools free of charge along with paid add-on services like Wave Payroll.
While the system isn’t as robust as ADP, practical features like expense tracking, endless collaborations, cash flow statements, unlimited invoicing and running multiple businesses under one dashboard can be a wise way to start.
Plus, Wave has a competitive monthly fee for its payroll add-on. However, Wave isn’t supported in all 50 states, so choosing Wave Payroll makes more sense if your state is one of the 14 tax-supported states.
Here’s a look at Wave Financial’s key features and pricing. For more information, read our in-depth Wave Financial review.
Key features of Wave
- Support for both employees and contractors: For one monthly fee, you can pay both employees and contractors.
- Taxes: Wave will auto-generate W-2 and 1099 tax forms. It can also pay and file federal and state taxes (only in 14 states: Arizona, California, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, New York, North Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin).
- Wave suite: Wave Payroll includes free accounting and invoicing cloud software, which provides unlimited income and expense tracking and invoicing.
- Employee portal: Employees can access their pay stubs and tax forms as well as edit their contact and banking information.
- Tax service states: $35 per month, plus $6 per active employee and $6 per independent contractor paid, in supported states
- Self-service states: $20 per month, plus $6 per active employee and $6 per independent contractor paid
Unlike most payroll software, Zenefits offers payroll as an add-on to its overall powerful accounting product. Zenefits has built-in time-tracking tools and offers unlimited pay runs, tax responsibilities and a streamlined employee portal.
If you’re looking for a payroll solution only, Zenefits doesn’t make the most financial sense. However, if you’re a growing business looking for industry-leading human capital management and benefits administration, Zenefits is worth looking into.
Here’s a look at Zenefits’s key features and pricing. For more information, read our in-depth Zenefits review.
Key features of Zenefits
- Mobile app: The award-winning all-in-one mobile app allows employees to clock in, request PTO, access insurance cards, update benefits and check performance reviews.
- Employee onboarding: You can sync Zenefits with popular applications such as Gmail, Salesforce and Slack to make onboarding a breeze.
- Zenefits Compliance Assistant: The assistant provides tax and COBRA deadline tracking so you can reduce errors and unnecessary fines.
- Zenefits People Hub: The hub provides employees with a straightforward hiring process, onboarding, benefits, performance reviews, engagement surveys and updated company information.
- Dynamic pay stubs: You can use the mobile app to add messages to employee paychecks to explain salary differences, bonuses and more.
Note that Zenefits has a minimum threshold of five employees, so even if you have only two employees, you’ll be billed for five.
- Essentials: $10 per month per employee
- Growth: $18 per month per employee
- Zen: $27 per month per employee
- Payroll add-on: $6 per month per employee to access Zenefits’ payroll features
- Advisory services add-on: $10 per month per employee
- Benefits admin add-on: $5 per month per employee (using your broker)