Disclaimer: This resource contains affiliate links, which means if you click on one of the product links, I will receive a small commission.
Are you a small business owner and looking for a payroll provider? Are you tired of doing all the payroll management manually and wasting hours of your precious time as a business owner? Well you’re in luck, there are…..okay, this isn’t a mid-television channel informercial so let’s just cut to the chase. Odds are you may have heard of Gusto, Square Payroll, and maybe a few other options to assist with your employee management. But let’s explore the pros, cons, must-knows, and my recommendation between those first two: Gusto and Square Payroll.
What Is Gusto?
Gusto is a modern human resource and payroll platform that prioritizes small businesses and their needs. While there is some bias on my side because I personally use Gusto to pay myself a salary, they also serve over 200,000 other small businesses too.
Beyond payroll, Gusto offers many other services as part of their product:
- Time tracking: Time-off requests, simple time tracking, and PTO policies
- Employee benefits: 401k, HSA, FSA, and insurance (dental, medical, vision)
- Onboarding and hiring: Checklists, offer letters, and more
What Is Square Payroll?
Square’s that company that got popularized by that credit card reader that plugged into the aux port of phones and then they developed into those point of service accessories at restaurants or coffee shops. So they have that business, but they also have a payroll business. Square Payroll is fairly similar to Gusto in the sense that is, in fact, a payroll platform for small businesses. However, Square Payroll is more specified to just that, payroll, thus lacking some of the other features Gusto has but in turn, has a lower cost. Here’s what’s included:
- Automated payroll taxes: accurate and on time tax filings
- Automatic time tracking: import time cards from other Square services or 3rd party partners
- Payroll specialists: support from payroll customer service to help every step of the way
Gusto: Pros and Cons
Price and quality. Gusto is going to be one of the most affordable options on the market. There’s also a $100 Visa gift card when you sign up and run your first payroll, so make sure you click here if you’re ready to commit.
Quality, quality, quality. I think I can speak for most small business owners where what we’re looking for is something streamlined and easy to use, thus saving us more time on a rather tedious activity as payroll is as our time is most likely best used elsewhere. As I like to say “The best payroll platform to me is the one I have to rarely touch.” Gusto does just that for me.
It’s very seamless especially when running payroll: there’s not a bunch of hurdles you have to jump over. Essentially, you click a button and it completes the process. Gusto is a bit more involved than just the payroll as well: it takes care of my taxes, withholdings, reporting, and more.
With any platform, there will be shortcomings. The first thing I found was there was a decent amount of complaints about customer service. Now, personally, I have used their customer service maybe 5 times total, whether it was for moving my business one state to another, or come tax time I had some questions. What I found was their customer service was fairly responsive. However, they don’t respond on weekends so if your business needs rely on 24/7 support, you may want to reevaluate.
Another con is they’re not free (not that any of these platforms are free, but still). The “free” alternative is to do it all manually, but how “free” is that really if you’re spending hours and hours on that. Specifically, Gusto is $40 per month plus $6 per month for every employee after. For me, I’m the sole employee so my cost is just $46 per month. A pro within this con, is they don’t actually start charging you until you start running your first payroll. I actually took full advantage of this when I started!
Square Payroll: Pros and Cons
Companies that use Square as part of their business or don’t, can actually run payroll now through Square Payroll. The big advantage is price, price, price: $35 per month for the service and $5 per month for each employee (so $40 per month). They also do have a very nice integrated system particularly partial to those who are already using other aspects of Square like their hardware.
While they do offer it, Square’s priority isn’t payroll, it’s more like a side business within the larger entity. So with that comes less functionality, a less streamlined platform, and less features. While it’s nice if your small business already uses other aspects of Square, if you’re using 3rd party softwares and systems it can be kind of a headache trying to integrate it all together as it won’t be as streamlined.
Take a look at my in-depth side-by-side comparison between Gusto and Square Payroll below!
Gusto vs Square Payroll: The Verdict?
Well, if you’re a small business owner with some employees or even a ‘solopreneur’ like myself, you’re going to need a payroll provider. So who wins: Gusto or Square Payroll? After hours of research, personally, I landed with Gusto for the reasons above plus it being a more comprehensive employee management platform and being more streamlined thus making my life easier. While it does cost a bit more than Square Payroll, the value seems worth it in my eyes.
However, for the more “brick and mortar” coffee shop places, Square Payroll does have its advantages especially where you’re using the Square hardware already.
So if you’re in the market for a payroll provider, I really do recommend Gusto as a tried and true option that I personally use myself. If you’re ready to sign up, do so here and make sure you get that $100 Visa gift card!