1. Gusto

Gusto has a special appeal for small businesspeople new to payroll because of its usability. Even experienced payroll administrators will appreciate Gusto for its solid set of payroll setup, processing, and reporting tools.


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  • PROS
    • Excellent user interface and navigation system.
    • Flexible, thorough employee records.
    • Offers good automation.
    • Can create separate payroll for contractors.
    • Good preview options.
    • Strong reports.
  • CONS
    • Limited to four pre-scheduled payrolls.
    • No weekend support.
    • Weak dashboard.

Gusto, still relatively young in a crowded field of established payroll services, still stands out in a number of ways. It distinguishes itself by providing a smart set of commonly used payroll tools for small businesses. The site has always offered an exceptional user experience through a clean, easy-to-use, attractive interface and an understandable navigation scheme. Those are critical attributes for payroll, a decidedly complex, time-consuming process. Gusto has steadily improved, and it continues to provide excellent support for the complicated tasks it enables. It’s the Editors’ Choice for payroll services.

Gusto relaunched last year with an even better user interface and a three-tier pricing scheme. We reviewed Core again this year ($39 per month, plus $6 per employee per month), which is focused primarily on payroll processing. Complete ($39 per month, plus $12 per employee) adds HR tools. The top Concierge level ($149 per month, plus $12 per employee) makes certified HR pros and dedicated support associates available to subscribers. The two upper-tier account levels now offer integrated time tracking. Payroll-on-demand is available for those levels in Texas at this writing, though it should eventually roll out to other states.

Gusto Core is comparable with most of the competition in terms of price, though Patriot Software offers a Basic version for $10 per month; the base cost for Patriot’s full-service edition is only $25 per month.

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