OnPay is our choice as the best online payroll service for very small businesses. We selected OnPay from an initial pool of more than 70 payroll companies.
Learn more about how we chose our best picks, see the other payroll services we selected as best picks, read reviews of other top payroll companies, and see answers to online payroll frequently asked questions on our best picks page.
Unlike their larger peers, very small businesses have specific needs when it comes to payroll software. Typically, the owners of very small businesses are in charge of various tasks. One of those is usually handling payroll responsibilities. That's why it is important to find both an easy-to-use and comprehensive payroll solution.
Very small businesses first and foremost want payroll software that handles everything from payroll processing and direct deposits to calculating, filing, and paying payroll taxes. The last thing a microbusiness wants is to sign up for a payroll service only to realize it doesn't take care of all of their needs.
The software should also be very simple to learn and use. Since they are in charge of so much, very small business owners don't have hours on end to learn how to use new software. That's why it is imperative that the payroll software they select isn't complicated to learn. The interface should be uncluttered and clearly labeled. It should be simple to add employees, and payroll should be completed in just a few easy steps.
Cost is another important consideration for very small businesses when choosing an online payroll service. Many very small businesses don't have a lot of discretionary spending. That's why finding a solution that is affordable is of the utmost importance. The cost structure should give businesses the flexibility of running payroll whenever they want each month, and it shouldn't be cost prohibitive to add employees when new staff is added to the mix.
Finally, since running an accurate and timely payroll is so important, very small businesses should look for a payroll company that offers the level of support they need. Even though they are very small businesses, they want a provider who will treat them like a top client and not just a small fish in a big pond. The payroll company they select needs to offer timely support from representatives who care about getting your problems and issues fixed. In addition, they should offer an online help center that gives you the option of getting your questions answered without having to pick up the phone to speak with someone directly.
Overall, OnPay checks all of these critical boxes. It's a comprehensive payroll solution that handles all payroll responsibilities. With this system, businesses can run an unlimited number of payrolls each month and pay both W-2 and 1099 workers by direct deposit or printed checks. The service also takes care of all payroll tax obligations, including calculating, filing and paying payroll taxes on your behalf.
In addition, the cloud-hosted software is simple to use. Payroll can be completed in minutes, and the software's interface is all clearly labeled making it easy to understand and learn.
OnPay is also affordably priced. You pay a monthly base fee and a per-employee fee. With this, you can run payroll as often as you like for the same price. Specifically, OnPay has a base monthly fee of $36, plus $4 per employee. When new employees or contractors are added to the payroll, you're only increasing your costs by $4 each.
Finally, OnPay offers excellent customer service. The support we received from OnPay was among the best we received during our analysis of payroll providers. The representatives were all friendly and helpful and had detailed answers to every question we had. In addition, the website is filled with valuable resources.
OnPay Pricing and Service Plans
Unlike some payroll companies that offer multiple service plans that include different features, OnPay offers one service plan for all users. With this configuration, all OnPay users have access to every feature and tool the software has.
OnPay's pricing is based on monthly costs. With this type of payment structure, you can run payroll has many times as you want each month for the same cost. Some payroll providers have a per-payroll cost structure, so you're charged each time you run payroll.
OnPay's costs consist of two parts: a base fee that you pay no matter how many employees you have and then a charge for each employee. Specifically, OnPay's monthly base fee is $36. There cost for each employee is $4 per month. The base fee stays the same each month. It is the per employee costs that will increase or decrease depending on your staffing levels. An employee is defined as anyone you run payroll for. This includes all full and part-time W-2 employees as well as any 1099 contractors or freelancers that might be hired for specific project work.
There are no contracts with OnPay. You pay month to month and cancel at any time for no penalty.
The only other fee that you may incur is for year-end tax forms. While there is no cost to print W-2 and 1099 forms on your own, if you want OnPay to print them and either send them to your office or directly to each employee, there is an additional charge. OnPay charges $5 each (plus shipping) to have the forms mailed to your office to be distributed and $6 each (plus shipping) to have the forms mailed directly to each employee's home.
One benefit with OnPay is that the first month of service is free. This gives you the opportunity to get signed up and run a couple of payrolls to ensure you like software and that it meets your needs. If it doesn't, you cancel without penalty.
OnPay Payroll Features
In addition to its payroll processing and payroll tax services, OnPay offers a number of other features and tools that very small businesses will find valuable. Here is what OnPay has to offer:
- Payroll processing: The software automatically calculates the pay for each worker based on their pay rate and hours worked. All you have to do is enter the hours each employee worked, and any other bonuses or commissions they may have earned. The software handles the rest. It withholds the proper taxes and any other deductions, for things like health insurance or other benefits. You can run as many payrolls as you want each month. This gives you the ability to have different pay cycles for different employee types, which may be beneficial to businesses that are paying both full and part-time employees as well as freelancers or other contractors. Since you can run as many payrolls as you want, you can pay your W-2 employees every two weeks and your contractors whenever you like, such as monthly or weekly.
- Payroll deductions: You can set up the software to take care of all payroll deductions. The deductions are automatically calculated by OnPay and included on each pay stub. The payroll software allows for a range of deductions, including dollar amounts, percentages, goal or loan deductions that automatically stop, retirement plan contributions and health insurance deductions.
- Employee types: With OnPay, you can pay all of your employees and workers, regardless of what their tax status is. The software allows you to make payments to both full and part-time W-2 employees as well as 1099 contractors and freelancers. The software treats both types of employees the exactly the same. You simply need to designate which type of worker the person is in the software, and the correct taxes will be withheld automatically.
- Payment options: This online payroll service gives you options on how you pay your employees. You can pay employees via direct deposit, paper check or prepaid debit card. For direct deposit, paychecks are automatically deposited into each employee's bank account two days after payroll has been processed. If your employee would prefer a paper check, you can print them from your business's printer. No special software is needed; however, check stock is required. The third option is to have the money automatically deposited onto an employee's prepaid debit card. Once the money is deposited onto the card, employees have full access to the funds.
- Payroll taxes: OnPay handles all payroll tax responsibilities. The software automatically calculates your payroll taxes, fills out and files the required local, state, and federal forms, and pays the proper amount to each agency. OnPay also guarantees that the taxes will be paid on time and correctly. Should an error be made, OnPay assumes all responsibility. The company will fix the mistake and pay any fines resulting from the error.
- Employee self-service: OnPay allows employees to access the software to review their pay stubs and year-end tax forms. The employee self-service also allows employees to conduct their own onboarding. Employees can log into the system and enter their own personal details, such as their address and banking information. This is a huge timesaver for those in charge, as they won't have to spend time answering questions for employees. Instead, employees can fill in some of the information required on their own. Employees also have lifetime access to their accounts. This allows them to log in to review information from pay stubs or year-end tax forms even after they have moved on to another job.
- New hire reporting: OnPay reports all new hires to the government for each business. Each time a business hires a new employee, it is required to report that information to the state it operates in. States require the employee's name, address, and Social Security number as well as the employer's name, address, and federal identification number.
- Time off: This payroll solution manages paid time off accruals. The software tracks accruals automatically based on specific criteria. OnPay allows you to set accruals by pay period, hours worked or yearly. Employees can view the time they accrued on each of their pay stubs.
- Integrations: OnPay integrates with a number of popular programs and services that many businesses are also using. These integrations can be valuable in that they save time from having to input data into each separate program. The integrations allow OnPay to interact on its own with the other programs. Among the programs and services that integrate with OnPay are QuickBooks Online, Xero, Kabbage, When I Work, Humanity, America's Best 401k, Guideline, Zenefits, ThinkHR and PosterElite.
- Added services: In addition to the payroll software, OnPay offers retirement savings plans, workers' compensation insurance, employee benefits and an online HR library.
Ease of Use
OnPay is very simple to learn and use. The software's interface is all clearly labeled, which makes running payroll and using the software an easy process.
OnPay is a cloud-hosted payroll service. There is no software to install or maintain. You can access the payroll software from any web browser. This means you can run payroll from your office computer, from a computer at your home or from your laptop computer when you are on the go.
In addition, OnPay has a mobile-friendly website that lets those in charge log in from their smartphones and tablets. From the mobile-friendly website, administrators can see a payroll history, review and update employee information, enter hours, and calculate, review, and submit payrolls.
Once you log into the system, it is very easy to run your payroll. After clicking on the homepage's Payroll tab, you pick the employees you want to pay. You then add in the hours each employee worked, make sure the proper deductions are withheld, and add any bonuses or commissions they earned. OnPay also provides the option of making one-time pay rate or deduction changes. For salaried employees, all of their information is saved into the system, so you don't have to add in any of their hours.
Once that task is completed, the payroll software then calculates the payroll and allows you to review the totals. If the totals are accurate, the payroll will run and paychecks will deposit directly into your employees' bank accounts or prepaid debit cards, or you can print checks out on your own. After payroll has been run, the software sends an automatic email to employees letting them know when they can check their bank accounts or prepaid debit cards for the deposit or be on the lookout for their check.
Adding employees into the software is also simple. Administrators have the option of adding employees, or having the employees do it themselves. Among the information needed for each employee is their name, address, birth date and start date. In addition, for those using direct deposit, banking information can also be added. Once the basics are included in the software, those in charge can add in the employee's pay rate, how often they are paid, and the state and federal tax withholdings. After that information is saved in the payroll software, employees can then be paid.
For businesses transferring their information from another payroll company, OnPay transfers all of the employee information from the previous payroll provider into the OnPay software. This process typically takes three days to complete.
Once employees have access to the software, they can log in at any time to review their paystubs, check time off accruals and access their year-end tax forms. Employees can also log in from any web browser or access the mobile-friendly website from their smartphones and tablets.
We were extremely pleased with the level of support we received from OnPay. To test the service provided, we contacted the company numerous times by phone posing as a very small business owner in need of payroll software.
The level of service we received each and every time could not have been better. What impressed us most was the first time we called. Instead of a typical support or sales representative answering our call, we were greeted by a company executive. Upon hearing that we were interested in the software, he didn't pass us off to someone else. Instead, he spent more than a half hour on the phone with us explaining everything about the system and how it worked. He also discussed the history of the company and how it differs from other payroll companies. This was a level of service we have never received from any other service provider we contacted.
While all subsequent calls were handled by support and sales representatives, we still received top-notch service. Everyone we spoke with at OnPay answered each question clearly and thoroughly. Over the course of our calls, we discussed the pricing, how the software worked, the various features included, payment options, added services and customer support options. By the end of our calls, we always were left of a clear understanding of how the system worked and what it had to offer.
We were pleased that none of the OnPay representatives we spoke with tried to pressure us into signing up with the service. Unlike other providers that seemed more concerned about signing us up as a customer, OnPay's reps simply listened to our questions and answered them as best they could.
OnPay offers customer support over the phone between 9 a.m. and 8 p.m. (ET), Monday through Friday. Besides the live support, the OnPay website includes a knowledgebase that includes detailed answers to many frequently asked questions. This provides users with a quick way to get their questions answered, without ever having to pick up the phone.
Overall, we were highly impressed with OnPay. However, we did notice a couple of drawbacks depending on what your needs are. One thing OnPay lacks is a mobile app. While its website is mobile friendly, some mobile users prefer using an app.
Another drawback is the year-end fees OnPay charges. A number of other services don't charge extra for this service.
We were also disappointed that we couldn't find any record of OnPay with the Better Business Bureau. We would have liked to know what, if any, complaints had been filed against the company in recent years.
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