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The 53 Best Payroll Services for Small Business Owners
Priyanka Prakash is a senior staff writer at Fundera, specializing in small business finance, credit, law, and insurance. She has a law degree from the University of Washington and a bachelors degree from U.C. Berkeley in communications and political science. Priyankas work has been featured in Inc., Fast Company, CNBC, and other top publications. Prior to joining Fundera, Priyanka was managing editor at a small business resource site and in-house counsel at a Y Combinator tech startup.
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Managing payroll andhuman resourcescan be tough for a busy small business owner. Every time you hire someone, there are forms to fill, checks to sign, taxes to pay, regulations to comply with, paid time off to track, and so much more. And if you make a mistake, you could wind up having to pay fines and fees.
Thankfully, there are plenty of payroll companies for small businesses that will take payroll management off your hands. From intuitive apps to accounting firms, youve got a huge selection of payroll solutions to pick from.
To help you decide, weve compiled a comprehensive guide to the best payroll solutions for small business owners. Heres our list of the53 best payroll services for small businesses. Well also give you some tips of what to look out for when shopping for a payroll solution.
There are thousands of payroll services, and choosing the right one for your company can be difficult. But one thing is clear: Even if you have just a handful of employees, its better to use a payroll solution than to try to do things yourself. The price for messing up is often much higher than the price of your payroll provider, so this is one situation where a small upfront investment can save you money and time down the line.
While every business is different, and you need to pick the right solution for your particular needs, there are a few factors to keep an eye out for when shopping around for the best payroll service for your business.
The price for payroll services for small business typically ranges from a $20 to $50monthly base rate, plus an additionalper-employeefee.
For example, you might purchase a payroll service for $39 a month, plus $6 per employee per month. Some companies offer free trials, which we recommend using to get a feel for the software or service. And companies often have multiple plans or tiers depending on what services you need.
Many companies that offerpayroll services for small business also offer other HR solutions, such as onboarding help and accounting services. As you might expect, youll pay more for all-in-one solutions, so purchase these services as a bundle only if you plan on using everything.
For some entrepreneurs, the whole point of purchasing payroll services for small business is so you dont have to pay any payroll tax fines or penalties.
Accordingly, there are certain payroll services that come with aguarantee. They promise you wont face any finesand if you do, the service will reimburse you.
Dont see a lack of a guarantee as a deal-breaker, though: it usually depends on how automated or manual the actual service is. If payroll uploading and submitting is all on you, then your taxes probably arent guaranteed.
If youre in an industry with specific payroll demands, youll want to double-check that your favorite service can handle those extra steps.
For example, restaurants need special payroll filings for tips. And if you hireindependent contractors, there are special forms you have to file. If the payroll service you selected cant handle those specific requirements, you should reconsider your choice.
What do youactuallyneed from a payroll service?If youve just got one or two employees, you might want to only pay for the basics: paying your employees, paying your payroll taxes, and filing your tax forms.
If you have dozens of employees or a fast-growing business, then some extra human resources-focused add-ons, such as recruitment and onboarding support, could be worth paying extra. Just know that the more you get, the more you payso when looking for your best payroll service, think about what you need now and in the immediate future.
Whether you end up choosing a mobile application, a desktop application, or a full-service firm, your payroll service should be easy to figure out. You dont want to spend as much time learning how to use your payroll service as you wouldve spent doing payroll yourself, after all!
So read reviews online, check out screenshots, and try a free trial if you can to make sure the payroll solution that youre considering make sense to you.
Can you reach this service by phone? Over email? With live chat support? Are their hours convenient for your business? Have you tried their customer service line a few times to test out whether theyre helpful?
Even with the best payroll services for small business, payroll is complicated. Its always important to make sure that you have the right customer service options in case something goes wrong.
Since there are literally hundreds of payroll services for small businesses, name recognition and reputation are particularly important. If a fellow small business owner has used a service with good results, then its worth looking into for your own company.
Thats why we began our list of payroll companies by speaking to small business owners to find out which payroll services they use and like. If you dont want to spend too much time researching and comparing products, purchase one of these payroll solutions:
A popular all-in-one payroll/HR/benefits system,Gusto(previously known as ZenPayroll) is a user-friendly, intuitive package that automates many of the boring, repetitive, and error-prone tasks that HR and payroll management often come with. From basic payroll to 401(k) and workers compensation, Gusto gives you everything in oneplus, they probably integrate with the software you already use for accounting, time tracking, and benefits administration.
You can try a free demo of Gusto for one month, and afterwards its a flat rate of $39, plus $6 per employee per month. Pretty good for a comprehensive payroll service for small business!
We have well over 150 clients using Gusto, and highly recommend it. Our firm, Kruze Consulting, runs HR and accounting for over 175 venture-backed startups, and we recommend Gusto for a number of reasons. Federal and state payroll taxes are a BIG deal Gusto automatically takes care of payroll taxes, so you dont have to worry. Gusto also has an autopilot feature, so it runs payroll automatically. You want to be busy running your business, not your payroll! Finally, the cost is pretty reasonable; you can get going for $45 per month ($39 base fee plus $6 per employee).
Most people know Intuit as a provider of accounting software, but they also have payroll solutions for small businesses,Intuit QuickBooks Payroll. They offer three different small business payroll plansranging from the payroll basics to white glove automated payroll and tax managementand a host of combination packages with their popular accounting software,QuickBooks Online.
Depending on the plan you choose, you can pay a flat rate of anywhere from $24 to $87 per month, plus $4 per employee per monthbut try the free 30-day trial out first to make sure its what you need. Theres also a payroll option that links up with QuickBooks Desktop, for businesses that already use that as their accounting software.
I use Intuit Payroll to process payroll weekly. I operate a growing salon with 17 employees and chose Intuit based on ease of use and cost. Ease of use was one of the top decision factors. I really like that I can access and run payroll from anywhere in the world in less than 15 minutes for 17 employees.
QuickBooks Online comes [with the payroll product] at an attractive price, which was my second determining factor when selecting a platform. One downside of the QuickBooks Online version I have is that I need to submit tax forms manually via e-file. There are sometimes issues with this, and I have to manually print and mail documents. But overall, I am very happy with Intuit Payroll / QuickBooks Online and have been using it for over two years now.
If youre looking for a fast, easy, intuitive, and tech-friendly solution to payroll processing,its hard to beatSquare Payroll, available in all 50 states. This is especially effective for retail businesses that already use Square point of sale and hire contractors or hourly employees. Your hourly employees can clock in and out from the Square app, wherever they are, and taxes are taken care of for you. All in, Square Payroll will run you $29 per month, plus $5 per employeeless expensive than many competitors. The price is especially reasonable, given that Square Payroll integrates with a full suite of benefits providers so you and your employees can access health insurance, 401(k), and more.
I researched several options before choosing Square, and they were the most transparent about their pricing and services. Square published all the information we needed on their website. They offer all the services we needed and at a much more affordable cost to us than their competitors. Square won our business by not being painful to get necessary information and have kept it by making it easy to automate payroll and taxes.
My only complaint about their service is that I cant schedule my employees to receive their paychecks on the 1st and 15th of each month. Payroll runs on those dates, but the money doesnt get put into their accounts until a few days later. My employees rent apartments, and their rent is due on the 1st of each month. It would be slightly more convenient for them to know that theyre receiving the money they need for rent precisely as they need it each month.
AlthoughPaychexincludes payroll services for any business, their small business productPaychex Flexis definitely worth considering. If you have one to 49 employees, its a great solution for payroll and taxes, business insurance, 401(k)s, and HR management. Paychex is a cloud-based, mobile-friendly service that comes with a high-quality support team, available 24/7, to help you out with any complex questions or issues.
I started a marketing and branding firm 17 years ago and have usedPaychexfrom the start. The main benefits are convenience and cost. Like many small business owners I run payroll sporadically (not every otherFridayor last Monday of a month). There have been times I needed to do it every few weeks and other periods when I am chasing down checks and need a few more days. They have been flexible and easy to work with over the years.
It is definitely cheaper to pay their fee than hire someone to run my payroll. Also I have dozens of people all over the place andPaychexgets the tax paperwork out right away in January. Everyone always tells me my tax info is the first one to arrive (thanks toPaychex). Knowing I can depend on them and do not need to manage the situation is great. One less thing on my to do list.
-Paige Arnof-Fenn, founder and CEO,Mavens & Moguls
ADP, or Automatic Data Processing, is the one of the oldest and best-known names in payroll. Over 600,000 businesses across the country rely onADP Payrollto pay their workers. They offer payroll software to businesses of all sizes, whether youve got just a handful of employees or are a multinational corporation.
With ADPs small business packages (designed for one to 49 employees), you receive payroll and tax filing software, time and attendance tracking, benefits planning, insurance services, and more. While you might find the price tag a little large, especially compared to some competitors on here, ADP is a powerful tool for any entrepreneur looking for a bit more organization in their lives. Small businesses can get two months free upon sign up.
We have been with ADP since day one. The real benefit comes from their ability to grow with our small business, a true turnkey solution. They offer payroll, retirement services (401K, IRA, and more), company benefit plans (medical, dental, and vision), and company insurance plans (workers comp, liability and others). ADP has a user-friendly dashboard and interface. On top of all of this, their customer support is five star. Over the last ten years, theyve always gone the extra yard to make sure were happy.
While payroll services for small business often come with other additional features, like HR management tools or regulation compliance, these can be pricier options with steeper learning curves.
Fortunately, all of the popular payroll companies we mentioned above have a basic tier, which handles just payroll and not much else. In addition, there are other good bare-bones payroll services for small business. With the companies below, youll get just the basics, without sacrificing quality.
OnPay is a straightforward payroll planning, reviewing, and submission tool (plus tax filings and payments). With unlimited payroll processing, an intuitive and mobile program, and a transparent monthly pricing scale,OnPayis a great option for your basic payroll needs. They guarantee all payroll and tax filings. Pricing starts at $36 per month, plus $4 per worker.
PrimePayoffers an online payroll system for the computer-savvy or a completely hands-off payroll system run by a dedicated client success representative. They offer 30 day trials of each. Beyond helping with federal, state, and local taxes, theyll also file your W-2s and make sure youre 100% compliant. Cost starts at $40 per pay period, plus $2.40 per check.
Want no-stress payroll services for small business? Try outWagepoint. Their focus on easy setup and simple tools lets you focus your time or energy back on your business. This has all the basics downdirect deposit, payroll taxes, year-end reporting, filing for W-2s and 1099s, and online paystubs. Theyll even calculate commissions, bonuses, or other pay structures automatically. The cost starts at $20 per month, plus $2 per employee.
Paylocityis all about efficiency and data. They will take care of payroll and compliance for you, and they offer an array of reports to help you understand your companys payroll better. If you need a little extra power from them,Paylocityalso has online integrations with retirement providers, wellness plans, and point-of-sale systems.
From direct deposit to tax services,Big Fish Payroll Servicescan handle all of your small businesss needs. In addition to time tracking, human resources programs, and payroll reports, Big Fish Payroll Services also allows your employees to view, edit, manage, and verify their own personal information. That saves you the time of having to input employee information yourself.
For just the basics,IOIPayhandles payroll processing and taxes for businesses of any size. Although they also offer packages for hiring, HR, and employee self-service, their comprehensive payroll plan is straightforward and easy to manage. If youre looking for no-frills payroll services for small business, IOIPay might fit the bill.
Which do you prefer for payroll: calling, faxing, emailing, or online submissions? No matter what your answer is,CBIZs Flex-Pay Payroll Servicescan help. Customer service is a particular value of CBIZ. If you have any questions, issues, or need to make changes to your payroll partway through the year, CBIZ has a dedicated representative to help.
Client Solutions Groupspayroll processing system is an online solution to all your payroll problems, from the basics (previewing and processing payroll) to the advanced (earning and deductions codes, local check printing, and industry-specific customization). Also,CSGencrypts their data and backs it up with dedicated disaster recovery plans.
Optimumsfocus is on handling your payroll quickly and accurately. The company includes tax filing and direct deposits, PTO tracking, form preparation and mailing, and a dedicated site for employee and manager review.Optimumalso offers job costing services, so you can estimate how much a project is going to cost your company from a labor stand point.
WithPaySmart, you can process payroll on a recurring schedulefrom weekly to annually, depending on your needs. Whether youre looking for direct deposit, tax filings, employee benefits, or workers compensation, this is one of those no-nonsense payroll services for small business. When you first sign up with PaySmart, a representative will ask a series of questions about your business that will help them put together a customized package for you.
Premier Payroll Serviceswill help with direct deposit, printing and delivering payroll checks, quarterly tax returns, W-2 filing, new-hire reporting, and more. Their software is made by iSolved, which handles payroll records for over 3 million employees. Plus, their sister company, MW Group, handles accounting and tax services for small businesses, so they can basically handle all of your financial needs.
If youre looking for a small business that helps small businesses, thenIntegrated Payroll Servicesis for you. As an independent, family-owned company, IPS can offer customized payroll reports and relationship-oriented service. You can preview payroll records in real time and view historical payroll records. Get the basics with a touch of familiarity here.
If you need something specific from a payroll services, chances are good thatDiamond Payrolldoes it. Theyll help with payroll checks, state and federal taxes, year-end tax forms, Affordable Care Act compliance, and other HR operations. In fact, Diamond Payroll guarantees that small business owners wont have to pay any payroll tax penalties ever again if they use the serviceso if youve got a bad habit of paying late, check them out. Their website doesnt look the best, but they offer nearly every basic service you could want.
If youre the type of entrepreneur who likes to manage on the go,Checkmate Payrollis a secure, trusted provider of payroll and HR services that caters to you. Whether youre consolidating reports, setting up alerts, or calculating payroll, Checkmate Payroll makes it easy to deal with your small businesss employees. They primarily work with companies in the manufacturing, high tech, hospitality, health care, government, retail, nonprofit, and financial services industries.
DM Payroll Serviceshas been helping businesses with payroll since 1962, and their services have evolved and expanded over time. Theyll assist with payroll management, taxes, reports, and compliance, but they also go the extra mile to help clients overcome specific payroll- or human resources-related issues by offering custom packages and top-notch customer service. If you like the idea of accounting professionals helping you with small business payroll, look into this payroll service for small business.
PayUSAspayroll services can help you out whether you have 1 employee, or whether you have 1,000. Its a flexible, adjustable partner that will help you process payroll, file payroll taxes, manage new hires, deal with workers compensation, and more. The cost is similar to competitors, at around $45 per payroll for a company of 25 employees. But if you want add-ons, like time tracking or onboarding, expect to pay extra.
Want to make sure your payroll information is absolutely secure?Heartland Payrolloffers industry-leading security protocols to keep your data safe, and caters to all types and sizes of businesses. Plus, they actually have an official Anti-Breach Warranty, so you can be sure youre in protected hands. Whether youre looking to make mobile payments or simply manage company payroll, Heartland Payroll is an option to pursue.
Payroll is just one part of managing your employees.If youre into the idea of an all-in-one HR package, combining payroll services for small business with benefits, time tracking, compliance, and more, then this list can help you find the right one.
Some (but not all) of these all-in-one solutions are certifiedprofessional employer organizations(PEO). Small businesses can outsource the bulk of employee management tasks to the PEO. The PEO and business both share in employer responsibilities, but the PEO handles most administrative tasks.
Here are the best payroll services for small business that offer all-in-one packages:
TriNetis a big name among PEOs. They combine extensive payroll processing with benefits, compliance, and more, so youve got an all-in-one package that fulfills all of your employee needssecurely in the cloud. They offer different recommended solutions based on your industry, as well as your size and location. If you want help with everything HR-related,TriNetis a great reliable choice for your business. Like most PEOs, prices dont appear on the website. You have to call and answer a series of questions about your business to get a customized quote.
Justworks is another big contender in the PEO space,recently raising $40 millionto help companies streamline HR management. They are very transparent about how they stack up against competitors, and withJustworks, the details matter. For example, they offer benefits, just like plenty of other all-in-one HR solutions do. However, they go the extra mile and team up with teledoc medical partners, biking companies, and gyms, so your business can offer a full suite of benefits to employees.
Calling themselves HR for humans,Namelypromises high-tech, forward-thinking HR solutions to classic problems. In addition to payroll, tax, compliance, and the usual set of tools, Namely also features a social news feed, organization charting, an employee database, workflow maps, calendars, and moreincluding a handy mobile app. If you need a bit of everything with a modern touch, check out Namely.
With the highest customer retention rate in the industry,Sageoffers a number of packages specially tailored to businesses of different sizes. For businesses with fewer than 10 employees, theres the Essentials product with just the basic payroll features. But businesses with more than 10 employees can sign up for Sage Business Cloud Payroll for a complete, custom package.
Fuse Workforce Managementrolls all the payroll, time tracking, and HR management features you need into one simple product. This helps your employees access all their relevant statistics in a single place, and it makes things easy for you, too.Fuse Workforce Managementis cloud-based and offers customizable payroll reports. They offer little details that are really helpful, such as red flag alerts if two or more employees scheduled paid time off on the same day.
Jumpstart: HRhas one focus: making sure small businesses get all the human resources help they need to stay on their game. From payroll management to compliance, background checks, HR strategies, and everything in between, you can rely onJumpstart: HRto take the pressure off your small business. Pricing depends on your businesss size. There are options where you can hire Jumpstart for a fixed number of hours each month, so they fit your budget.
Precision Payroll of Americamakes payroll processing and taxes easywhile also giving you some help in the HR department. Use their online tool to quickly search for employee withholding forms, insurance, and more state-by-state, as well as to check on your Affordable Care Act compliance.
Pro iPay, from ProData, is a web-based payroll service for small business that helps you process payroll, integrate HR data, and cleans up your to-do list. They work with small businesses and large corporations alike, so no matter your size,Pro iPaycould be the right solution for you.
One of the 5,000 fastest growing privately-owned companies in the U.S.,TelePayrollcombines tech-forward solutions with an experienced customer success team to meet all of your businesss payroll needsno matter whether youre five, 50, or 500 employees strong. With a 97% client retention rate, customers have been relying on TelePayroll for a long time.
Advantage Payroll Servicesis geared more towards medium-sized businesses, but if youre aiming to grow soon, this payroll service might be ideal. While they offer a whole set of productsfrom tax filing and workers compensation to new hire reportingyoull want to pay special attention to Instant Payroll. This feature lets you deal with payroll completely online, on your browser, instantly and securely.
Alliance Payroll Servicesfocuses on a seamless, paperless payroll experience with AllPay. AllPay consolidates all of your employee management data and tasks into one integrated database, so you wont have to enter in redundant information or deal with messy paperwork. It also can connect with other third-party apps. Whether youre looking for timekeeping, new hire onboarding, human resource programs, benefits, or payroll processing, this is among the best payroll services for small business.
Kelly & Associates Financial Services offersKELLY Payroll, an online service that combines payroll and benefits. This single point of entry makes accessing your payroll and benefit information extremely simple and convenient. If you are in hiring mode or growing very rapidly, KELLY even offers HR audits and training to make sure youre in compliance with all laws.
The online payroll system offered byCoastal Human Resource Groupmakes payroll simple: theyll handle direct deposit, but if you prefer checks, theyll actually print and deliver them on time for your employee payment schedule. They also offer a wide range of HR-related programs, from employee benefits to compliance assistance and workers compensation insurance. Employees can trade shifts or volunteer for shifts, making this a collaborative software.
PayNorthwest customers can accessPayLumina, which fits right in with the ranks of web-based payroll services for small business. It houses all of your payroll and HR information in a single databaseand lets you set up different levels of permissions for employees to view sensitive information (or not). Their system is also optimized for businesses with seasonal employees because you only have to pay for an employee once they begin working.
AmCheckis another 100% cloud-based payroll solution for filing and reporting, with 24/7 live support and a whole suite of additional products to help you manage your employees. You can set up custom reports, sync AmCheck with your accounting software, and keep track of time and attendance.Plus, AmCheck is rated highly for brand loyaltywhich means its customers are generally very satisfied with their choice!
APS, orAutomatic Payroll Systems, is regularly rated as a top performing payroll solution. APS offers a cloud-based suite of payroll and HR services that you can access from anywhere with an internet connection. They have special services for businesses in certain industries, such as healthcare, hospitality, and education.
Newtekoffers small businesses the standard selection of payroll and HR tools, including nice-to-haves like 401(k) plans, online pay stubs, workers compensation, and more. They go above and beyond with payroll account review, though: their tax specialists review each one and deal with taxes at every level. And compared to ADP and Paychex, two big players in the payroll service space,Newtekis less expensive.
If youre in need of a proven payroll and HR solution, thenHarpers Payroll Servicescould be worth a look. They operate in all 50 states, offer direct deposit for any ACH-participating financial institution in the US, automatically issue company checks, assist with compliance and new hire reporting, and more. They even offer some unique services that you wouldnt expect from a payroll solution, such as background checks on new hires.
If you manage between 10 and 5,000 employees,Insperitycould be the one of best payroll services for you. Whether youre just interested in payroll and a few HR-related tools, or you want the whole suite of management technology, Insperity offers it. These extra features include organization planning, retirement benefits, expense management, and more.
JetPayis a well-known name in the payments space. The company offers payroll processing tools, as well as options for credit card processing and prepaid cards. Plus,JetPays payroll package comes with a few human resource-oriented features, like job posting, applicant tracking, and review storage.
MMCis a true all-in-one payroll/HR package, tailoring products to fit your specific business. Need help with payroll and taxes? Compliance? Vacation and time tracking policies? Benefits? Employee training? Risk management? Get a free quote to see what youd need to shell out for all o