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How to Choose a Paystub Generator

By
Matt D'Angelo
,
business.com writer
|
Oct 22, 2019
Natnan Srisuwan / Getty Images
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Finding the right paystub generator is an important part of processing payroll.

If you run a small business and don't partner with a payroll processing company, you have to process payroll manually. This means understanding your state's laws, finding your employer identification number, calculating employee hours and handling deductions. It's also crucial that you provide paystubs to your employees. Paystubs allow your employees to track important financial information, like taxes paid, and help you keep payroll records.

Generating paystubs can be time-consuming, especially if you have a lot of employees. Paystubs are a necessary part of payroll, so it's important to develop a system to quickly churn them out. Spending all your time calculating paystubs and running payroll defeats the purpose of running a small business – you should be focused on business decisions, not administrative work.

Luckily, there are many options for paystub generators. There are free versions where you can easily input your company data and get a usable, respectable paystub. There are also some paid sites where, for a few dollars per month, you can get quality paystubs with some added features. The right solution for you depends mainly on your business's size. If you're only paying two employees, a free version probably makes the most sense. If you run a dynamic small business with 10 or 20 workers, you need a reliable system to produce paystubs for your workers.

Below is a breakdown of both free and paid paystub generators, how they work, and why you should consider using them. The main difference between free and paid paystub generators is that the paid generators help you with the calculations. The free ones require you to do the calculations on your own and input your results into a paystub template.

 

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Free paystub generators

Free paystub generators are a great resource for very small businesses. They work quite simply: You calculate your payroll based on state and federal taxes and deductions, then you enter your results into a paystub template. The online service will then generate a paystub for free.

Free paystub generators are not as robust as the paid versions, but they are still extremely useful for small businesses. If you're used to processing payroll on your own, a free paystub generator is a quick way to get paperwork done.

Here are two examples of free paystub generators worth trying for your small business.

  • Pay Stubs Online: This is a straightforward paystub generator, with several sections related to employee paychecks. You can toggle between hourly and salary employees. Once you've filled in each aspect of the template, you can click "view your stub" to download a PDF draft. If you want extra features, you can pay to download a separate PDF version.
  • Shopify Pay Stub Generator: Shopify provides a free paystub generator tool for small businesses. Whether you have a Shopify account or not, you can use this free paystub generator. Enter your employee's information, click "create pay stub," and you're good to go.

While there are some solid free paystub generator options, there are far more paid options. Generally, companies charge per paystub, or they provide a bundle of paystubs for a certain cost. The right pricing model for you depends on your business's needs and volume. Also, you should only sign up for one of these generators if you're processing payroll on your own. If you partner with a payroll service, paystubs are part of your overall service.

Some paid services allow you to customize the color or theme of the paystub. You may also be able to put your company logo on the paystub as a watermark. You should know all the features a paid paystub generator offers and which ones you want before you decide to build it into your payroll process.

Here are a few examples of paid paystub generators to consider.

  • PayStubCreator: PayStubCreator offers paystubs for $7.99 each, which is a pretty standard price. It breaks down the paystub creation process into four simple steps. Instead of just telling you to fill out information on a paystub template, PayStubCreator takes you through the process.
  • Check Stub Maker: Check Stub Maker provides paystubs for $8.99 each. It offers a 100% money-back guarantee if you're not satisfied, which not every paystub generator provides. This paystub generator is more template-based than others – you input your company and employee information directly into the paystub. Once you purchase the paystub, your company watermark is added to it.
  • Pay Stub Direct: Pay Stub Direct provides single paystubs for $7 each, or unlimited access for $30. This type of plan access makes it a flexible alternative for companies that process payroll for many employees. It also offers 24/7 support and a 100% money-back guarantee. Like Check Stub Maker, the paystub creator is based on a template.

Paystub templates

All paystubs follow very similar templates. If you don't want to use a paystub generator, you can download paystub templates and fill them out on your own. If you use a template or create a paystub template on your own, here are some important details to include:

  • Company name
  • Company address
  • Employee name and address
  • Hourly rate
  • Hours per pay period
  • Deductions
  • Year-to-date pay
  • Social Security
  • Employee ID number
  • Pay date

How to create a paystub

Between paystub generators and template downloads, you have many options to create a paystub. The most basic would be downloading a free template and inputting each employee's information. Paystub generators are a good option for companies with several employees. There are also some other options. Microsoft Excel, for example, provides its own paystub template. You can crunch numbers directly in Excel using its free template spreadsheet. This is the best way to process payroll on your own and create quick, simple paystubs. [Interested in online payroll services? Check out our reviews and best picks.]

Creating a paystub is as simple as filling out your company and employee information. If you're skilled in Microsoft Word or Excel, you could create your own template, but with so many free template out there, it's worth it to download Excel's at the very least. Make sure you include all the important information listed above in each paystub you create.

Paystubs are essential for any small business. You need them for your records, and your employees may need to refer to them for tax purposes. From free templates to paid online generators, there are services to meet whatever your business needs to produce paystubs. Make sure you do your research and find the solution that works best for your company. When it comes to paystub generators, finding something that works on a long-term basis is essential, as you'll have to run payroll (usually) twice a month for the entirety of your business's existence.

Matt D'Angelo
Matt D'Angelo
Matt D'Angelo is a staff writer covering small business for Business.com and Business News Daily. After graduating from James Madison University with a degree in journalism, Matt gained experience as a copy editor and writer for newspapers and various online publications. In addition to his writing and reporting, Matt edits articles. He reviews small business services, including PEOs, small business loans and GPS fleet tracking services. He's been with Business.com and Business News Daily since 2017.
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