Gusto Payroll Review

Are you looking for the best small business payroll program that won’t break the bank? Here’s why you need to try Gusto Payroll services.

Finding the best small business payroll service isn’t always easy or cheap. It takes time to research the best programs, find the features you’ll actually use, and then stay tax compliant.

I take the time to test out different accounting programs, payroll software, and productivity tools so you can stress less and earn more money.

I want you to be able to make the best decision for your business, without overspending.

What is Gusto?

Gusto is an online small business payroll program that’s easy to use, budget-friendly, and offers a wide variety of services.

In the past, small business owners would have to hire an accounting firm or payroll service to process employee payroll and company benefits.

But thanks to Gusto, you can easily set up payroll, tax reporting, and other benefits for your company or S Corp — even if you’re the only employee.

Processing payroll with paid time off (PTO), bonuses, and reimbursements are easy and affordable with Gusto.

One of the best features of Gusto that’s very attractive to small business owners is the fact that Gusto calculates and pays all of your payroll taxes automatically.

As someone who used to process payroll taxes for companies in Texas, I know how time-consuming and confusing this can be!

Here’s a quick overview of how to get started with Gusto Payroll.

Getting started with Gusto

Throughout my testing and use of Gusto, I really like how focused they are on helping small business owners be tax compliant while simplifying the payroll process.

This can be one of the most complicated parts of running a business, and Gusto takes away this headache.

1. Sign up using a free trial

Getting started with Gusto is easy and for free when you sign up through their one-month trial period. No credit card required.

You can also sign up to access the free demo account so you can test out the software before committing to paying every month.

2. Set up your business and personal details

When setting up Gusto you’ll need to confirm your business and personal information, like your business name, address, and the preliminary information for each employee or contractor.

If you need to call customer service you’ll have to verify your personal identity with your Social Security number (which is separate from your EIN), date of birth, and phone number.

Make sure you fill in this information under the Account Preferences section.

3. Use the payroll tax compliant checklist

One of the best reasons to use Gusto is to process payroll filings and taxes on your behalf — yep, you don’t even have to think about it!

You’ll have to put your EIN, type of business, federal deposit schedule, and the form you use to file income taxes.

You’ll then set up your payroll tax filing schedule, test the link to your bank account, and any other tax-related details.

They have a free compliant checklist inside the dashboard.

4. Find payroll and tax documents

Under the Documents section, Gusto Payroll has a wide variety of forms and templates for employees and contractors. You can choose from one of their many templates, or upload your own documents.

They focus on being mobile-friendly so you can have new hires fill out and sign these online.

Some of the main tax forms that Gusto offers include, Form W-4 for tax withholding, Direct deposit authorization, and Form 8655 which authorizes the company to pay and file federal taxes on the contractor or employee’s behalf.

5. Set up company benefits

Gusto recently rolled out their complete HR Service program which allows for much more extensive company benefits.

This includes benefits such as health insurance, 401(k) retirement plans, worker’s comp insurance, 529 college savings plans, and spending accounts like HSA and FSA.

6. Invite an accountant to collaborate

To complete the process of setting up your Gusto small business payroll account, you can add a team member to your account.

You can share reports and financial documents with your accountant, bookkeeper, assistant, or other team members by inviting them to collaborate. This can be found under the Settings and Collaboration sections.

Gusto Plans and Fees

The great thing about Gusto is that you can try out their software free for one month, and if you like the service you can expect to pay the following pricing plans.


For smaller businesses, you can sign up for the Gusto Core plan, which will cost $39/month plus $6/month per employee.

What Gusto Core Includes:

  • Full-service payroll
  • Health benefits administration
  • Employee self-service and profiles
  • Accounting and time tracking integration
  • Employee benefits


For growing businesses that are ready to create a rewarding workplace for their employees, Gusto Complete will be your best fit. The plan will cost you $39/month plus $12/month per employee.

What Gusto Complete Includes:

The Gusto Complete plan includes everything from the Core plan plus:

  • Next-day direct deposit
  • Time tracking and PTO Management
  • Project Tracking and Workforce Costings
  • Hiring and onboarding
  • Team management tools


For larger, busier businesses who need to keep up with compliance for their employees, the Concierge Plan will be your best fit. The plan will cost you $149/month plus $12/month per employee.

What Gusto Concierge Includes:

The Gusto Concierge plan includes everything from the Core and Complete plan plus:

  • Certified HR Pros
  • HR resource center
  • Compliance alerts
  • Dedicated best in class customer support

There are no hidden fees, no setup fees, or annual contracts. What you see is what you get with Gusto!

Gusto Features and Services

You can make Gusto Payroll as streamlined or as complete as possible. You can use it for just 1 employee, which is great if you’re the only employee of the S Corp. However, you can use it for a large business of up to 150 employees or more.

The main Gusto features include:

  • Automated payroll taxes
  • All 50 states, plus local and federal taxes
  • Automatic filings W2s and 1099s
  • Time-off tracking, sick pay, and bonuses
  • Paychecks and direct deposit
  • New hires and online employee setup
  • PDF reporting
  • Digital signatures and paystubs
  • Compliance checklist
  • Health insurance benefits
  • Workers comp insurance
  • And more!

Basically, there isn’t much that Gusto can’t do when it comes to payroll and tax reporting services for your employees or contractors.

Gusto Third-Party Integrations

In addition to an extensive list of features and services that Gusto Payroll offers, it also integrates seamlessly with other accounting and bookkeeping software.

  • Xero Accounting
  • FreshBooks Cloud Accounting
  • Quickbooks Online
  • QuickBooks Online
  • T-Sheets
  • And more!

Can Gusto work if you don’t have employees?

As a business owner, you can use Gusto to help streamline your processes and save money by avoiding expensive hires.

nd you can use Gusto even when you don’t have employees.

Gusto is great for getting started with just a few contractors or paying yourself a salary as an S Corp or LLC.

You can process payments every month, or every week, and Gusto will issue 1099s for you at the end of the year.

Click here to read more about how much to pay yourself as a small business owner.

Gusto vs QuickBooks Online Payroll

Should you use Gusto or Intuit QuickBooks Online Payroll? If you’re simply comparing pricing plans, then Gusto is going to be the cheapest option.

Gusto’s base services will cost $45 per month ($39 + $6 for every employee), while the QuickBooks Online Payroll Full Service costs $81 per month for the first 6 months ($79 + $2 for every employee).

While Intuit QuickBooks Payroll does offer cheaper options, they require more work on the behalf of the business owner. The Full-Service option is more comparable to Gusto’s offerings.

Gusto offers many of the same features as Intuit QuickBooks Online Payroll, so really it comes down to your preference and what kind of accounting process you have with your business.

The benefit of using QuickBooks Online Payroll over Gusto is if you use other QuickBooks products (like TurboTax Self Employed or QuickBooks Self Employed). You’ll save a lot more money in the long run by bundling your services with Intuit.

To read more about bundling your services with QuickBooks Self Employed, click here to read our in-depth review.

Is Gusto Payroll Best For Your Business?

After filing to become an LLC in 2017, and as a small business owner myself, it’s my personal opinion that Gusto is a very budget-friendly option for getting started with payroll.

You can test it out free for one month to see if you like it (no credit card required). Plus, the service can grow with you as your business expands, and you add more contractors or employees.

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