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Gusto HR Software Review

Skye Schooley
Skye Schooley

Gusto not only handles all of your payroll processing and payroll tax responsibilities, but it can also serve all of your company's human resources needs. This cloud-hosted solution is easy to use and available in multiple service plans. Gusto's HR services include health insurance administration, time tracking, paid time-off (PTO) management and access to certified HR pros, who can assist you with HR issues you run into. It is for these reasons and more that we selected Gusto as the best HR software for processing payroll.

Gusto HR Software

Gusto HR Software

The Verdict

Gusto is ideal for employers who want advanced payroll capabilities. Users can onboard new hires, administer employee benefits, track hours and paid time off, run payroll, and automatically file payroll taxes.

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Gusto HR software summary

Pricing/value 9.5
Features 9.6
Customizations, add-ons and integrations 9.0
Ease of use 9.7
Customer support 8.7
Editor's score 9.3

Gusto HR Software Pricing and Terms

Unlike some payroll services that offer one or two plans to choose from, Gusto gives businesses a choice of four service plans. Each plan includes payroll processing and payroll tax services, but beyond that, the plans differ in the number of HR features and tools they include.

The pricing for Gusto's plans is as follows:

  • Contractor: $0 per month, plus $6 per month per contractor
  • Core: $39 per month, plus $6 per month per employee
  • Complete: $39 per month, plus $12 per month per employee
  • Concierge: $149 per month, plus $12 per month per employee

Having access to multiple service plans can be beneficial for businesses that don't have a full-time HR team. The benefit your business gains with the multiple options is that you can switch plans at any time as the size and needs of your business grows. For example, you can start with the Concierge plan to get specialized help creating an employee handbook and job descriptions. When you no longer need those services, you can easily change to one of the less-expensive plans.

TipTip: One benefit of Gusto is that since you're not bound by any long-term commitments, you can test the service for a couple of payroll runs and cancel without incurring any penalties if it isn't meeting your needs.

Other costs you may incur are for Gusto's added services that you elect to include with your Gusto plan. Below are those services and their associated costs:

  • Health insurance: Again, you won't pay administration fees, just the premiums.
  • Health reimbursement: If you want to help reimburse your workers for their health insurance premium and out-of-pocket costs, Gusto gives business owners a very reasonable option ‒ $15 per month per employee ‒ to do so. You determine the monthly contribution amount you want to provide for your workers.
  • 401(k) retirement savings plans: Even though your business may be small, you can competitively offer the benefits that larger companies offer, including a 401(k) retirement plan. Gusto charges a base rate of $39 per month, plus $8 a month per participant. There are no setup fees.
  • 529 college savings plan: Employees can set aside a portion of their earnings for their children's college funds. Gusto charges $6 a month per participant, with an $18 monthly minimum. There are no setup fees.

  • Health savings account (HSA): Gusto doesn't have a minimum if you want to offer an HSA with your other insurance benefits. The cost is $2.50 per month per participant.
  • Commuter benefits: Commuter benefits are pretax dollars your workers can take advantage of to pay for transportation to your workplace. Gusto charge $4 per month per participant. There is a $20 minimum.
  • Service charge: If you opt for the HSA, FSA and commuter benefits, in addition to the per-employee monthly rates, Gusto charges a $200 annual service charge for all three tax-advantaged account types.

Gusto does not require you to sign a long-term contract; you pay month-to-month. There are no setup fees or penalties for canceling.

Gusto Features

As we mentioned earlier, Gusto offers multiple plans; the exact features available to you are going to depend on the specific plan you subscribe to. However, there are some critical features Gusto offers that many small businesses will find especially valuable. Below is an overview of those features.

Recruiting and Onboarding

Gusto will help simplify and streamline your hiring and onboarding process. Its onboarding tools include offer letters and e-signature documents, employee directories, organizational charts, custom onboarding checklists, software provisioning, and document management.

Adding a new candidate is easy with Gusto's candidate funnel.

Depending on which plan you subscribe to, you may get advanced features like employee relations advising, custom employee handbooks, job description templates, HR guides and policy templates, and harassment prevention training.

Payroll

Gusto has a ton of features to help businesses quickly and accurately run payroll for their employees. You can use Gusto to pay full- and part-time W-2 employees, as well as freelancers, consultants, and other 1099 contractors. Gusto allows for multistate payroll, as well as multiple pay rates and schedules.

  • Payroll processing: Once you've entered all of the pertinent information – pay rate, hours worked, deductions, etc. – into the software, the system automatically calculates payroll. Each pay period, the only new information you need to input are how many hours (hourly) employees worked and any bonuses or commissions they earned.

    After clicking the "Submit Payroll" link, you receive a confirmation that the money is being sent via direct deposit or that you can print checks for those who need it.

    If your payroll is pretty consistent, you can set the system so it runs on autopilot. With this setting, payroll automatically runs each pay period without any additional input from you. You can run payroll as many times as necessary each month for no additional cost. This flexibility is particularly valuable to employers who have both full-time and part-time employees and who also use freelancers. 
  • Payment options: Gusto provides several ways you can pay employees: direct deposit, prepaid debit cards and printed checks. With direct deposit, paycheck amounts are automatically deposited into each worker's bank account on payday. Prepaid debit cards work similarly: Paychecks are automatically deposited onto the cards on payday. If you prefer to pay workers with checks, you can print them right from your printer. While no special software is needed for this, you do need check stock paper.
  • Payroll taxes: Gusto handles all payroll tax responsibilities. The software automatically calculates your payroll taxes and fills out and files the required tax forms with each local, state, and federal agency. Gusto also makes all the required payroll payments on your business's behalf.

Did you know?Did you know? Gusto's autopilot feature is a great option if your business doesn't have any fluctuations in how much you pay employees each pay period. It runs payroll on your schedule without any additional input needed from you.

Time and Attendance

Depending on the service plan you select, Gusto can manage some or all of your tasks related to tracking employee hours and PTO. You can set up policies for vacation and sick time and then track employees' accruals and balances. Both the Concierge and Complete plans can handle time-off requests. Employees submit their requests in the software, and their managers can approve or deny those requests. What's more, select plans sync approved time off with your payroll and shared calendars.

Gusto makes it easy for managers to review and approve or decline PTO requests.

Benefits Administration

Gusto offers online benefits enrollment for employees, as well as licensed benefits advising and employee support. Additional benefits include 401(k) retirement savings plans, 529 college savings plans, health benefits, workers' compensation insurance, commuter benefits, HSAs and FSAs.

Legal Compliance

Gusto helps businesses maintain legal compliance on multiple fronts. For example, Gusto completes and files all of the required paperwork with the state for each new employee your company hires. The software also automatically generates all year-end W-2 and 1099 tax forms for your employees. It then sends digital copies of the forms to each employee and contractor. If you are administering employee benefits, Gusto also helps you comply with federal regulations like the Affordable Care Act, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, and ERISA (the Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974).

Reporting and Analytics

Gusto gives administrators and teams the ability to run a variety of valuable reports. You can download Gusto's standard reports, or you can customize reports based on what information you want to analyze. You can assess data on your team, taxes, payroll, time off and more.

Gusto users can run a variety of reports that are easy to read and break down.

Integrations

Gusto's HR software integrates with a wide range of popular programs for accounting, time and attendance, point of sale, business operations, tax preparation, learning and development, business insights, hiring, performance management, expense management, and more. Having such a variety of integration capabilities is highly convenient for businesses that want to sync all of their business applications to create a customized solution.

Ease of Use

Part of Gusto's appeal is how simple it is to use. The cloud-hosted service doesn't require you to install or maintain any special software; you can access the payroll system from any web browser. The Gusto platform is also accessible from any smartphone or tablet. 

The platform's homepage prominently features your to-do items, such as run payroll and time-off requests. You can easily see or edit employee details and be reminded about which contractors need to be paid.

Here is an example of what Gusto's dashboard looks like.

Gusto gives your employees and contractors their own login credentials. They can then access the software to see their paystubs, time-off accruals and year-end forms. Gusto offers lifetime access to these accounts. This means that employees can log in to their accounts even after they have left your company. 

Limitations

While there is a lot to like about Gusto, we uncovered a potential drawback during our research. Gusto's primary HR services don't include a variety of performance management features. The Complete and Concierge plans do give users the ability to send anonymous employee surveys and view survey trend analyses, but if you are looking for HR software that focuses primarily on employee performance management, you may want to read our review of BambooHR.

Customer Support

Gusto offers multiple ways you can reach customer support: You can contact a representative by phone, email or webchat. Members of the Concierge plan receive assistance from a dedicated support team and get a direct phone line for support. Concierge accounts also come with access to certified HR professionals who can offer help and advice on a range of HR and employee relations issues. The HR resource center includes custom employee handbooks, job description templates, HR guides and policy templates, and proactive compliance updates.

Gusto, in addition to offering personal guidance to its subscribers, provides several valuable tools on its website, like a help center and FAQs. One of its most impressive features is the demo of the payroll software. The website includes a fully interactive simulation of the software that you can test. You can see what the software looks like and browse every aspect of it. You can add new employees and test other important functions that pertain to your business.

Image Credit: fizkes / Getty Images
Gusto HR Software

Gusto HR Software

The Verdict

Gusto is ideal for employers who want advanced payroll capabilities. Users can onboard new hires, administer employee benefits, track hours and paid time off, run payroll, and automatically file payroll taxes.

Visit Site
Skye Schooley
Skye Schooley
business.com Staff
Skye Schooley is a staff writer at business.com and Business News Daily, where she has written more than 200 articles on B2B-focused topics including human resources operations, management leadership, and business technology. In addition to researching and analyzing products that help business owners launch and grow their business, Skye writes on topics aimed at building better professional culture, like protecting employee privacy, managing human capital, improving communication, and fostering workplace diversity and culture.