Gusto offers businesses a full-service payroll software that is best for businesses with less than 100 employees. Its top features and services include automated payroll processing, tax filings, direct deposits, PTO management, insurance and benefits administration, and cash-out (on-demand pay) for hourly workers. Monthly fees start at $39 plus $6 per employee.
Gusto Pros and Cons
One of the lowest cost full-service options
Insurance benefits not offered in all 50 states
Serves as an insurance broker, so all administration and management is handled through Gusto
Not ideal for over 100 employees
Very intuitive and straightforward interface
Occasional system glitches
Integrates with accounting and time tracking apps seamlessly
Steep pricing scheme
Reports are detailed, clear, and concise
Who Gusto Is Best For
Small and startup businesses: Gusto offers payroll packages that include all the features a small business needs, including tax support, 1099 forms, and payments. On top of that, it streamlines benefits management, provides direct access to HR experts, and more.
Accountants and bookkeepers: Gusto provides support to accountants, bookkeepers, and their clients in growing their firms.
Gusto’s pricing page shows three plans: Core ($39 base fee + $6 per user, per month), Complete ($39 base fee + $12 per user, per month), and Concierge ($149 base fee + $12 per user, per month). The main difference between these is access to premium features such as time-tracking, time-off requests, employee directory and surveys, and an HR resource center.
Under the Core plan, for 10 employees, it would cost $1,188 per year for all the requisite payroll features. That is less than $120 per employee, per year. No upcharges mean you can plan and stick to your payroll budget.
Tax Payments and Filing
Health Benefits Administration
Employee Offers and Onboarding
Paid Time-off Requests and Tracking
Employee Directory and Surveys
Gusto offers add-on services at an extra cost. These services include college savings ($18 per month minimum + $6 per participant, per month), health savings account ($2.50 per participant, per month), 401(k) retirement (starts at $39 per month + $8 per participant), and more. To view the complete list of add-ons, you may visit its website.
If you have contractors, then Gusto can help you process their payroll. For a monthly fee of $6 per person, you get unlimited contractor payments, form 1099 creation and filings, and a contractor self-service tool.
Core is a user-friendly payroll for small teams who need a simple and straightforward system. It offers solutions for full-service payroll, employee self-service and profiles, and paid-time-off (PTO) policies, as well as functionalities for health benefits administration and workers’ compensation administration.
The Complete plan offers a payroll package that is inclusive of all the features in the Core plan plus additional features for employee offers and onboarding, simple time tracking, employee directory and surveys, and time-off requests.
This plan has all the aforementioned features in the Core and Complete packages. Concierge, however, offers certified HR professionals with actionable feedback, employee relations advising, HR compliance help, and unlimited certified pros phone and messaging support. Moreover, the plan includes an HR resource center with HR templates, harassment prevention training, custom employee handbook, and more.
Gusto Alternatives 2020
Small organizations/businesses in niche industries (churches, households/nannies, agriculture) that have unique payroll needs
Companies using QuickBooks for accounting that are legally required to offer health insurance to their employees
Startup businesses that need many customization options and want to scale with a long-standing industry leader
Small businesses that seek professional payroll services and dedicated customer service for their changing payroll needs
Gusto handles all of the basic payroll processes and tax compliance that any business may need such as running payroll each pay period, calculating deductions and net pay, and remitting payroll taxes. It provides new hire onboarding and reports new hires to the state. Here are some of Gusto’s most notable features:
Gusto has several features that are designed to make payroll easier. Users can automate their payroll so that employees receive their paychecks at regular intervals via direct deposit. They may also run an “autopilot” payroll—wherein Gusto will process and deposit paychecks every regular pay period automatically. Administrators can run unlimited payrolls without paying extra.
If you’re interested in on-demand payroll, then its Cashout option may appeal to you. If eligible, then employees can cash out a maximum of half of their paycheck, up to $1,000, before payday.
Gusto automatically calculates, files, and pays federal, state, and local income taxes, all through the online system. It does not offer a tax accuracy guarantee, but according to the terms, Gusto pays if users get penalized for errors.
Gusto automatically processes and direct deposits employees’ paychecks every pay period. On payday, it sends employees an email with a link to their full paystubs. Gusto also has a feature called Cashout. It offers employees access to money based on their estimated earned wages without the need to wait until payday. This feature is offered at no extra cost and is currently available in all states except AZ, MA, ME, WV, IL, NV, NH, NJ, ND, OR, PA, and VT.
Benefits and Insurance
Users can purchase medical, vision, and dental plans, as well as life and disability insurance for their employees, set up 401(k) retirement plans, or create college tuition savings plans. Gusto withholds deductions and provides reports so you know how much to pay the carrier(s). Health and commuter benefits are currently available in 27 states and territories, while the college savings plans are offered in all 50 states.
Use the map below to determine if Gusto offers health benefits in your state:
With Gusto’s Concierge plan, you can reach out to certified HR pros for any compliance-related questions. Gusto will also keep you updated with the changes in labor laws and regulations so you can remain compliant.
Along with Gusto’s three packages, the company offers several add-ons so that you can add extra benefits to any of the plans you ended up choosing. These add-ons include workers’ compensation insurance, 401(k) retirement plans, 529 college savings, tax-advantaged spending accounts with commuter benefits, flexible spending accounts (FSAs), and health savings accounts (HSAs).
Gusto Customer Service
Gusto’s customer support team is accessible via phone, live chat, and email from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific time, Monday through Friday. Plus, you may use the available resources on its website such as help center, Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs), interactive demo, and customer stories. If you are switching to Gusto from a different payroll provider and have more than 10 employees, it provides a dedicated team who will securely import all your data into Gusto.
We have tested Gusto’s customer service a few times over the past year. The wait time has improved, from an average of seven minutes to less than one minute. The first representative we spoke with was helpful and gathered as much information as possible before transferring us to a member on its sales team who answered our questions. They were not pushy and continued to answer any question we had regarding benefits and how to process retro pay.
What Gusto Is Missing
There is not much missing from Gusto, except that it is not currently able to offer group health benefits in all 50 states like some of Gusto’s competitors. At last count, it offers benefits in 26 states plus Washington, D.C., but it continues to work on adding more. Gusto also does not offer a PEO (professional employer organization) option like ADP. If you want those at some point, you may outgrow Gusto.
What Users Think About Gusto
Many small business users seem to love Gusto due to its ease of set up and use and the fact that it saves so much time by providing employees access to their own information. Some users complain that it lacks features employers may need as they grow past 100 employees, such as compliance reporting. It also does not print and mail checks for you like ADP does. For feedback from more users, proceed to our reviews section below.
Most Helpful Gusto Reviews
Users who gave Gusto reviews love that it is user-friendly—even for beginners and those who are not too proficient in using payroll management software. They also appreciate the accurate tax computations. Meanwhile, other users reported occasional glitches in the system.
Gusto makes payroll painless
“When I started my business, payroll seemed intimidating. As business owners, we just want payroll to work—that’s the primary goal. Gusto achieves that goal easily, and it never causes me any heartburn. The integration with QuickBooks Online also works flawlessly and allows a high degree of customization. They even have stellar customer service. I’ve never had any sort of issue, and if I have a question, it gets a quick reply.”
Occasional system glitches
“Gusto can be glitchy when uploading hourly employee pay data. It can also be glitchy when updating pay rates during a pay cycle. You also can’t get too detailed when building time-off policies.”
—Brittany Ann Martin
Gusto Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How does Gusto ensure correct tax computations?
When the annual federal and state tax returns are filed, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) will determine the tax liability of an employee. In order to give employees proper tax returns, employers must input the numbers as accurately as possible to avoid any undue penalties for their employees.
If there is a clerical error on Gusto’s part, then the user administrator should contact Gusto through its support page.
Does Gusto offer payroll in my state?
Yes, it does, since Gusto offers payroll in all 50 states of America.
Can I integrate Gusto with my accounting app?
Yes, you can. Gusto is designed to work with accounting software such as QuickBooks, Xero, and FreshBooks.
Our Top Payroll Software Picks
If you aren’t sure if Gusto is right for you, then this article on the best payroll software examines our top choices. Our payroll expert, Charlette Beasley, looked at a variety of solutions and narrowed down recommendations based on price, customer support, and features such as payroll tax calculations, electronic tax payments, and direct deposits.