Written by Zara Chechi Reviewed by Heleana Neil Updated on November 22, 2021 On this page 1. OnPay 2. Gusto 3. Deluxe 4. ADP Payroll 5. QuickBooks Payroll 6. Paychex Our Methodology: How Did We Find the Best Payroll Services? Expert Verdict FAQs Expand Payroll companies increase efficiency and streamline your business’ operations. Using a payroll service can free up your time to focus on other aspects of your business, whilst feeling confident that your payroll process and taxes are taken care of. You might be wondering what the best payroll software for your business is – but don’t fret, because we’re here to give you the lowdown. We’ve collected the best payroll companies, from a top payroll provider with integrated HR solutions (Deluxe) to the best platform for full-service tax management (Quickbooks Payroll). Whatever your business needs – we have you covered. You can also use our free comparison tool to help make your search easier. We’ll match you up with trusted payroll providers using some brief details, such as the size of your business and your current provider. You’ll be contacted by payroll companies with no-obligation quotes to help you make the best decision for your business. Payroll companyBest for Price (per month)Trial Our expert rating OnPay Small Businesses$36 + $4 per employeeOne-month free trial 4.5/5Gusto Cloud-Based Platform$39–$149 + $6-12 per employeeDemo available 4/5Deluxe Integrated HR Solutions$39 + $7–$12 per employeeNo trial 3.5/5ADP Payroll Scaling Your BusinessAround $10–$15 per employeeDemo available 4/5Quickbooks Payroll Full-Service Tax Management$22.50–$125Free 30-day trial 3.5/5Paychex Employee Benefit ManagementContact provider directly Demo available 3/5 1. OnPay Best for Small Businesses OnPay is an affordable full-service payroll platform that promises an easy-to-use system. We love OnPay because it’s been designed for a variety of industries, including NGOs, startups, and hospitality. OnPay is able to cater to your unique small business needs, such as providing a great benefits package, onboarding for new hires and multiple pay schedules. Because it’s a straightforward platform, implementation is easy: the OnPay team will set up the service, at no extra cost to you. So there’s no need to worry about the implementation and complexity of a new system.OnPay offers a one-month free trial to help you decide if this is the best platform for your business. OnPay allows for integrations including Xero, streamlining your business processes from one platform. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Pros Unlimited payrolls Flexible frequency Easy for employees to use Simple, intuitive platform Cons No automatic payroll OnPay’s Pricing:$36 per month, plus $4 per employee, per month 2. Gusto Best Cloud-Based Platform We recommend Gusto to startups that are keen to use a simple, easy to use, cloud-based platform. If you’re new to payroll services, you want a platform that’s easy to understand and set up, and that’s just what Gusto provides. As a full-service payroll platform, Gusto has all the necessary tools to run payroll and manage taxes. Gusto offers automated payroll, and once set up, you can have payroll run automatically, as long as no changes are required. This gives you peace of mind, and is one less thing to worry about. Gusto sends timely reminders on payroll and tax updates, ensuring you stay compliant. It provides comprehensive tax management, ensuring tax calculations, filings, and payments are made correctly and on time. Gusto being cloud-based means you can run payroll from anywhere in the world. Plus, if you’re moving state or country, Gusto can help you calculate and file taxes for your new location, keeping your business compliant. Employees have access to their own platform, where they can access payslips, W2s, and even request an advance on pay. You can also integrate with Gusto with other platforms, such as Quickbooks, which can help your business increase productivity and efficiency. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Pros Unlimited payroll runs Easy-to-use platform One-month free trial Cons Poor customer service Gusto’s Pricing:Let’s talk numbers:Core plan: $39 per month, plus $6 per employee, per monthComplete plan: $39 per month, plus $12 per employee, per monthConcierge plan: $149 per month, plus $12 per employee, per monthThe Core plan is affordable for small businesses, and Gusto accommodates your business growth, as you can easily switch to the Complete plan or even the Concierge plan, which includes HR solutions. 3. DeluxeBest for Integrated HR Solutions Deluxe is a full-service payroll platform that also provides HR solutions, including hiring processes. It offers a unique feature called Text to Apply, where potential employees can easily apply to any of your open roles, and you’re able to easily track any applications, including those from other sources, from the Deluxe dashboard. You’re also able to easily post job openings on relevant social media or job boards, making hiring the right people easier and more streamlined.Deluxe’s customizable onboarding tools make it easy to bring your new talent on board, with relevant tax documentation. Payroll processes are also a breeze with this easy-to-use, intuitive platform. That said, there is limited customization, which can be a problem if you want a platform that’ll work to your exact specifications. However, all of the necessary functions are available. Deluxe provides tax filings for all 50 states and ensures you’re kept up to date with any relevant legislation changes. You can run payroll from anywhere in the world, as well as change your payroll date, which is helpful if you need this kind of flexibility. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Pros Full-service payroll provider Integrated HR solutions Offers digital onboarding and hiring Payroll can be processed from anywhere in the world Cons Lacks customizability No free trial Deluxe’s Pricing:Lite Package (payroll and HR essentials): $39 per month, plus $7 per employee, per monthThe Works Package (payroll and full HR solution): $39 per month, plus $12 per employee, per month 4. ADP PayrollBest for Scaling Your Business ADP Payroll is an OG of the payroll industry, providing full-service payroll software with HR solutions. ADP offers a number of integrations with third-party providers such as Wave, ClockShark, and Cornerstone, creating a seamless experience for you to manage various business processes. The hiring solutions ADP offers make it easier for you to manage potential and new hires. You can run background checks, schedule interviews, send out offers of employment, and access thousands of job boards. The reason we love ADP for businesses that are predicting rapid growth is that you won’t need to change platforms as your business grows – instead, you can change plans as you scale, as the ADP packages are designed to accommodate this. ADP allows you to only pay for what you need, meaning you don’t need to waste money and resources on features you don’t use. ADP’s pricing is flexible, as you pay per employee, per month meaning you don’t need to limit yourself in a contract. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Pros Has a dedicated small business platform Includes HR solutions Offers app integrations Well-established Cons Pricing is not clear Added cost for a lot of the features ADP’s Pricing:You’ll need to contact ADP for a direct quote – however, pricing is around $10 to $15 per employee. 5. QuickBooks PayrollBest for Full-Service Tax Management QuickBooks payroll packages are all full-service, which is rare for payroll companies, as packages tend to be limited depending on cost. All of QuickBooks’ packages include unlimited payroll runs, automated tax calculations, filing and payment, direct deposit, and an employee portal.As well as providing great tax management, QuickBooks provides a tax penalty protection. If an error with the software leads to a tax penalty, QuickBooks offers up to $25,000 to cover the penalty. If you want a service that deals with your taxes and prevents you from being hit by a big fine, QuickBooks is the provider for your business. If you use other QuickBooks platforms, this payroll software is a great way for you to seamlessly integrate several aspects of your business into one program. QuickBooks offers various plans for its payroll service, including online plans, desktop plans, and a plan that brings together both payroll and accounting software. These various plans can accommodate various business needs, and you can opt for the plan that suits your business best. QuickBooks allows for unlimited payroll runs, meaning you can pay employees using different pay frequencies. This can be helpful when you have both full-time employees and independent contractors. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Pros Integrates well with QuickBooks Online and QuickBooks Time Auto payroll and tax filing and payments Offers tax penalty protection Cons Higher tiers are on the pricier side QuickBooks Payroll’s Pricing:Core plan: $22.50 per month for the first three months, then $45 per monthPremium plan: $27.50 per month for the first three months, then $75 per month Elite plan: $62.50 per month for the first three months, then $125 per month 6. PaychexBest for Employee Benefit Management One of the main reasons you may be using a payroll service is to ensure your employees are able to receive healthcare and insurance benefits. This is one thing Paychex does well, alongside the usual payroll services and tax management. You can automate federal and state tax filings and payments with Paychex, and make use of hiring tools, including background checks, and the ability to contact Paychex HR reps for professional advice. Paychex also provides easy digital forms that improve the onboarding process. Paychex’s cloud-based time tracking system means you can accurately track employee hours without needing a third-party provider, or having to integrate another platform. The time-tracking solution can also be accessed by employees to ensure transparency, and can be accessed from anywhere, providing flexibility. Paychex effectively manages employee benefits, and provides a way to seamlessly integrate 401k deductions and contributions into your payroll runs. With Paychex, you can offer employees group health insurance plans, which include their families, as well as workers comp and property insurance. All of this is integrated into the payroll service, allowing you to easily manage these various benefits. A unique feature with Pachex is solutions for the self-employed. Namely that, if you’re self-employed, Paychex provides features for dealing with retirement, and working out taxes. One of Paychex’s drawbacks is that, because it offers so many solutions, it can be hard to get to grips with the platform, making the learning curve very steep indeed. ★ ★ ★ ★ ★ Pros Solutions for the self-employed Free training webinars Provides an app Cons Steep learning curve User experience could be smoother Paychex’s Pricing:Paychex does not have a public price list. You’ll need to contact the company directly, providing them with some brief details about your business, for a free quote. Our Methodology: How Did We Find the Best Payroll Services?Five researchers carried out in-depth research into payroll services according to a comparison framework designed by our research team leader. For each provider we've asked these questions:What accreditations and industry recognition do they have?How easily can your employees engage with and access the payroll process?How compliant are they with data security and privacy?Are they a scalable service that includes other HR functions should you grow to need them?We've factored all these questions into our rating system and come out with a ranking of the best payroll services. Expert VerdictOur guide has something for everyone, and we hope you’ve been able to narrow down your best choices for a payroll company. Each business is unique, and comes with its own challenges, and so the best provider for you depends on the kinds of solutions you need. Did you know that just over half of all employees are unhappy at work because of the software they’re using? This is why it’s important to choose the right payroll provider. If you’re still struggling to make up your mind, you can use our free quote-finding tool to get matched up with the best payroll providers for your business. FAQsDo Small Businesses Need Payroll Services?Yes. Although it may seem like software reserved for larger businesses, small businesses benefit massively from using payroll services. Providers can calculate, file, and pay your payroll taxes, increase your efficiency, and provide your employees with access to their own portal. By outsourcing this important task, you can be confident that your taxes and employee wages are in safe hands. You can free up room to focus on other parts of your business, without stressing over legislation and deductions. How Much Do Payroll Companies Cost?This really depends on the size of your business, your needs, and the provider you choose. For the providers listed above, pricing is around $39 to $149 as a monthly base fee. Most companies will then charge a rate per employee on top of this base fee. We suggest doing your research and setting a clear budget in mind so you know exactly which payroll companies are an option for your business. You should also consider making use of a free trial or demo, if your chosen provider offers one, in order to take the software for a test drive before taking the payroll plunge. Written by: Zara Chechi Business Services Expert 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.