Gusto Payroll Review: Pricing, Features and Benefits

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Explore Gusto and find out if this payroll provider is right for your business

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  • User-friendly
  • Simplifies payroll services
  • Well-priced


  • Customer service can be slow
  • Can be laggy
  • Lowest plan does not include time tracking features
At a glance: Gusto is a simple, user-friendly, full-service payroll platform. The intuitive interface and helpful features make it a great option for startups. 

Gusto is a top favorite for many, taking the time-consuming and complex task of payroll and turning it into something (fairly) fun. It does this with an intuitive and friendly interface, which makes setting up and running payroll a breeze. Quite literally, it takes just a few clicks to pay your staff, and if payroll stays the same every month, you can even set it to auto run. 

Price-wise, Gusto is fairly affordable and doesn't bind you to a fixed-term contract. Because of this, it made our experts' ranking of the best payroll software for small businesses. Also, if you don’t have much experience with payroll or don’t need tons of customizations or involvement, Gusto is a great way to run payroll with ease. 

What are Gusto’s features and benefits?

✓ Easy Setup

If you’re starting from scratch, you’ll need to provide Gusto with your company details, such as your name and address. But the great thing about Gusto is that you can have your employees provide all the necessary information about themselves. Just click a button and your employees will receive an email asking them to provide their details. 

You’ll also need to provide tax-related information, such as your business type and your Employer Identification Number (EIN). Then, you’ll have to provide state-related information, which can be a little complicated. But Gusto simplifies this by providing helpful information and links throughout the process. 

If you’re moving from another provider, you’ll also need to hand over your payroll history. Gusto makes this as straightforward as possible by providing assistance throughout the process. This process can become very complicated if you make an error, so this help from Gusto is super handy. Its user-friendly interface also makes things less daunting. 

Gusto doesn’t offer a smartphone app, but you can access the desktop version via your cell phone browser. This can be limiting, as apps tend to be easier to use and navigate, whereas Gusto’s mobile version is designed to mirror the desktop experience. However, having a mobile version at all does mean you can access the platform at any time, and run payroll from anywhere in the world.  

✓ Auto Payroll and Tax Filing 

gusto interface

Gusto calculates your payroll automatically and gives you an easy-to-understand overview of the payroll run. You can view the employee pay date, and the total payroll amount plus the debit amount. You can download a file of all of the payroll data for your records. 

Each run, Gusto sends you prompt reminders to run payroll. If your payroll stays the same each month, you can actually set it to autorun. This means you just need to set it up one time, and Gusto will automatically run it each month. You’ll just have to approve it. 

Gusto automatically calculates, files, and pays your local, state and federal payroll taxes. It also issues W-2’s and 1099s, and sends them out to your employees and contractors – at no extra cost. Some payroll providers charge extra to carry out this task. 

Gusto also deals with state tax registrations in all 50 states – even if your employees are scattered around the US. This means you can easily run payroll across multiple states. 

Keeping up to date with changing tax legislation can be a pain. Gusto doesn’t just file your taxes for you, it also keeps track of legislation updates to ensure your business stays compliant. 

✓ Great Benefit Management 

Gusto has made it easy to provide workers comp in a simple and budget-friendly way. It partners with AP Intego to provide accurate deductions for each payroll. The great thing about this is that it saves time and money, and reduces the risk of errors. Your premium is spread out over the year, avoiding any large down payments or surprise end-of-year fees. 

Gusto also partners with Guideline to provide you with 401(k) plans. With no setup fees or minimum number of employees, contributions are automatically deducted from payroll each month. From early 2022, Gusto promises to provide the ability to integrate your existing 401(k) plans with the platform. Employees can set up their own 401(k) and, with help from Guideline, they can easily adjust their contributions. 

How much does Gusto cost?

PackagePrice (per month)What you’ll get
Core $39 + $6 per person 
  • Full-service payroll for W-2s and 1099s
  • Employee self-service
  • Accounting and time-tracking integrations
  • Employee benefits
  • Gusto brokered health benefits administration 
Complete $39 + $12 per person Everything above, plus:

  • Next-day direct deposit
  • Hiring and onboarding tools 
  • Project tracking 
  • Time tracking and PTO policy management 
  • Team management tools 
Concierge $149 + £12 per person Everything above, plus:

  • HR resource center
  • HR experts
  • Compliance alerts
  • Direct line to dedicated support 
Select Contact Gusto for pricing Everything above, plus:

  • Customizable features for your business
  • Direct line to dedicated customer success manager
  • Full-service payroll migration 
  • Waived fees and exclusive pricing 

Gusto’s Core package is great for startups and small businesses as it contains all the necessary features to run payroll, file taxes, and provide employee benefits. Core and Complete are well-priced, especially considering the features provided. 

The higher-priced packages are more suited to larger businesses, both price- and feature-wise. As your business grows, you’ll find that you can easily scale up to these plans. 

If you want to broaden your search horizon and find out exactly how much payroll is likely to cost your business, you can use our free comparison tool to receive free, tailored quotes from trusted payroll providers. This way you can compare prices between a range of providers that have been matched to suit your needs. 

Is Gusto right for my business?

“I need to pay freelancers”

Classifying your employees correctly is an important part of staying compliant. Gusto makes it easy to do this and pay your freelancers,  as contractors self-board online so you can set them up easily and ensure you have all their relevant details. 

Gusto automatically generates and files 1099-MISC forms when needed, and will email them to your contractors. Any new hire reporting required by your state will be carried out by Gusto. You can easily keep an eye on and track all payments to freelancers in Gusto, which is handy as paying freelancers can get confusing – especially as 1099 workers deal with their own federal and state taxes. With Gusto, you just need to focus on paying them for their services. 

“I’ve never used payroll before”

Gusto provides tons of help and support along the way, from setup to employee benefits and payroll taxes. With Gusto, you’ll find its user-friendly interface makes it easy for you to navigate your way around and get to grips with everything payroll. Gusto provides tons of assistance along the way, but some users have complained about customer support, as getting answers from the team can prove a slow process. 

Gusto is much more suited to startups and small businesses because of how easy and straightforward it is. Larger businesses may need a platform that’s more customizable and comprehensive. 

Use our free quote tool to compare payroll providers

What do Gusto customer reviews say?

Find out what Gusto users have to say about their experience: 

“Gusto is easy to use. I have been using Gusto for two years now and it does a great job of notifying us of work anniversaries, paydays, and paperwork deadlines. It has an easy-to-use interface and also has a wallet feature that allows you to manage your money better. I have yet to be disappointed by the tool. Gusto also provides a strong tax management tool, if you're moving it helps calculate your new state or county taxes and connects you with tax software in an easy and guided way. Though we do not use Gusto for 401ks, it keeps track of your paycheck deduction and allows you to make changes to it as needed. You are also able to get additional benefits if you recommend Gusto to other organizations and employers, which are nice incentives.

“Gusto can be a little over informative. The tool tends to send you redundant emails that can clutter your inbox. However, this is not often the case, just a one-off issue around major deadlines. Also, because the tool is often improving, information moves around and can at times be difficult to rediscover.”

  • Kathleen J , Gusto customer
“We love how easy it makes onboarding new team members. It's also a fantastic tool for managing a small team's PTO, health benefits, birthdays and work anniversaries. We also appreciate how easily Gusto can integrate with TurboTax.

“As long as you stick to the basics, you'll probably be fine. However, a lot of our team has experienced a little frustration when reaching out to customer support.”

  • Rick M, Gusto customer

Our Methodology: How Did We Decide on the Best Payroll Software?

Five researchers carried out in-depth research into payroll software platforms according to a comparison framework designed by our research team leader. For each provider we've asked these questions:

  • How much control does it give you over your payroll process?
  • How secure is it? What security measures does it take to protect your data?
  • How much help and expertise does it offer when it comes to taxes and compliance?
  • How scalable is the product? Can it grow alongside your company?
  • How helpful is its customer support offering?

We've factored all these questions into our rating system and come out with a ranking of the best payroll software platforms.

Expert Verdict

Gusto is great for startups and small businesses, as its intuitive interface and user-friendly experience make it a fantastic choice for those new to payroll. Gusto walks you through all the necessary steps, and provides a simple way to run payroll, manage employee benefits, and file payroll taxes. 

Gusto suffers a little in the customer service department, with users being frustrated by lengthy response times. But there’s tons of assistance along the way in the form of information and helpful links. If you do have a specific problem or need to speak to someone, you might find yourself waiting a while for a response. 

Finding the right payroll provider can make this painful part of running a business that much easier. Gusto is a great option, but there are tons of other payroll providers out there offering various features and services. Use our free comparison tool to get matched with those that are best for your team, and receive no-obligation quotes from those trusted payroll providers. This will enable you to compare prices and providers to find the right fit for your business. 


Do I need to Outsource Payroll Services?

Outsourcing payroll helps ensure your business stays compliant. You can run payroll in-house but you might struggle especially as costs can add up and any mistakes will mean your business is liable. Many payroll providers offer a tax penalty protection which means they will cover any fines if they make  a mistake filing your payroll taxes. 

Outsourcing payroll also means you can be confident that your employees will be paid accurately and on time. 

How Much Does Outsourcing Payroll Cost?

This will depend on various factors but you’ll likely pay around $20 to $149 as a base fee, plus a fee per employee of around $4 to $12. These fees are monthly and the per employee fee means you’ll be charged based on the number of employees you have. 

Written by:
Zara Chechi
Zara is a Payments Expert, specialising in writing about Point of Sale systems. With a Law Degree from City University of London, she has used her legally-honed research and analytical skills to develop expertise in the Business Services world. Featured in FinTech Magazine, she quickly became an expert in payroll, POS systems, and merchant accounts.
Reviewed by:
Heleana Neil, Business Services editor
Heleana Neil specialises in Business Services, managing the strategy and production of content for SMBs, helping businesses with the challenges and opportunities they face today. Covering everything from payroll to payment processing, Heleana uses her expertise to help business owners make better, informed decisions and grow their companies.