Comparing 7 of the Largest Payroll Outsourcing Companies

There seems to be no shortage of payroll outsourcing companies, so how do you know which one is best for you?

Every business has to take care of some of the same basic things in order to

  • stay in business:
  • serving customers,
  • making a profit,
  • paying taxes,
  • managing payroll, etc.

However, every business is definitely not the same once you get past the fundamentals.

All across the nation and around the world, business owners operate companies of all sizes in every imaginable industry with anywhere from 1 to 2.3 million employees (the largest private employer is Walmart, in case you were wondering).

With that much variety in the marketplace, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to meeting everyone’s payroll needs. As a result, multiple payroll companies have sprung up over the years…another example of what makes our economic system great!

As of September 2021, there are 517 HR & Payroll businesses in the U.S. To help guide you through what could be a confusing pile of options, we’re highlighting a few of the most highly recommended payroll services.

Top Payroll Outsourcing Companies in 2021

1. ADP

Pros: ADP is probably the industry leader when it comes to payroll companies. They have been around a long time, and they have a good reputation with a lot of brand recognition.

Cons: ADP tends to be one of the more expensive companies in this space, and with a company that size it’s easy to feel like “just another client”. They don’t list any prices on their site. You need to contact them to get a custom quote.

Packages: They are a trusted company with packages to suit companies of any size. Their RUN Payroll packages are:

  • Essential – for basic payroll
  • Enhanced – partnering with Ziprecruiter for job postings plus background checks
  • Complete – adds basic HR support
  • HR Pro – includes the kitchen sink

Their add-on services also go beyond payroll into timekeeping, talent acquisition, benefits & insurance, HR, retirement, workers compensation, and marketing.

2. Gusto

Pros: Gusto is a good online payroll option if you are looking for additional HR options such as managing PTO and health insurance.

Cons: They only offer a few health insurance options, and do not have any retirement or educational savings options.

Packages: They offer 4 packages:

  • Core – $39/mo. plus $6/mo. per person. Provides full-service payroll, health benefits administration, and time tracking for small businesses
  • Complete – $39/mo. plus $12/mo. per person. Core package plus direct deposit, PTO management, and hiring/onboarding help for growing businesses
  • Concierge – $149/mo. plus $12/mo. per person. Core and Complete plus access to HR professionals and compliance alerts.
  • Contractor – $6/mo. per person. Help with 1099 creation and the ability to pay freelance workers as often as you like.

3. Paychex

Pros: Paychex is another one of the big payroll companies. They are reported to cover 8% of U.S. workers in the private sector. Even with their entry-level package, they automatically take care of everything related to local, state, and federal taxes for each registered employee.

Cons: Payroll specialists are often busy, so response times can be slow. Additional payments like bonus checks can be confusing to create. They may occasionally try to upsell you to additional services.

Packages:

  • Paychex GO – $39/mo. plus $5/per person. Online payroll, tax help, time tracking, new hire reporting, direct deposit, automatic W-2s and 1099s
  • Paychex Flex Select – custom pricing. GO package plus a dedicated payroll specialist and HR forms
  • Paychex Enterprise – custom pricing. GO and Flex plus garnishment services, onboarding, employee screening, and HR administration

4. SurePayroll

Pros: While it appears as a separate company, SurePayroll is actually a division of Paychex. It is specifically geared towards small businesses, nonprofits, and Nanny/Household worker employers.

Cons: They only offer 2 basic plans. If your business is more complex, they may not be robust enough for your needs.

Packages: Both packages include unlimited payroll runs, payroll deductions and taxes, direct deposit, and support on evenings and weekends.

  • Self-service – custom pricing. 4-day processing; includes new hire reporting; opts out of tax filing help.
  • Full-service – custom pricing. 2-day processing; taxes are filed on your behalf; HR compliance posters and forms

5. Intuit Quickbooks

Pros: This is another well-known company that has earned a good reputation. Choosing them for payroll services can be an easy transition if you’re already using Quickbooks to handle your business transactions.

According to their payroll services site, all of their plans include fast unlimited payroll runs, calculation of paychecks and taxes, automated tax form generation and payment, employee portal, management of garnishments and deductions, and payroll reports.

Cons: The prices on their site (listed below) are based on an introductory 3 month offer. The “non-sale” pricing is twice as much, making them one of the most expensive options. Additionally worth considering, there have been several complaints filed with the Better Business Bureau.

Packages:

  • Core – $22.50/mo. plus $4/mo. per employee. 1099 E-file and pay; next day direct deposit; 401(k) plans; health benefits
  • Premium – $37.50/mo. plus $5/mo. per employee. Same day direct deposit; expert reviews; HR support; workers’ comp administration
  • Elite – $62.50/mo. plus $10/mo. per employee. 24/7 product support; tax penalty protection; personal HR advisor

6. OnPay

Pros: OnPay has been in business for over 30 years, and is highly rated by Entrepreneur and PC magazines. They include all of their services for one monthly rate that is based on how many employees you have.

Cons: Employee profiles are reported as difficult to navigate, and other elements of the software aren’t intuitive.

Packages: One package for all customers includes:

  • Full-service payroll (unlimited monthly runs, tax filings and payments, multiple payment options, multi-state payroll, etc.)
  • Employee self-service (update information, see pay stubs and forms, control voluntary deductions, lifetime access)
  • Integration with common accounting software
  • HR tools (onboarding, forms, document storage, compliance audits)
  • PTO management
  • Health and dental benefits packages
  • 401(k) options

7. Square

Pros: Square is another company that has an established track record in another segment of the financial industry. Known for their payment processing platform, they are a reliable player in the payroll services arena as well.

Cons: Some features may not work properly if you aren’t also enrolled in other Square products. Their reporting capabilities seem to be limited as well. Also, if you’re planning to integrate Square’s payroll with other systems, you have to set it up yourself.

Packages: Similar to OnPay, Square advertises all-inclusive pricing. Their rates start at $35/mo. plus $5/mo. per employee. If you’re working with independent contractors, the price is a flat $5/mo. per person.

We Know Payroll Services for Small Businesses—And We Know You!

We get it. There are a lot of payroll outsourcing companies out there, and it can be a little overwhelming.

These 7 companies that we’ve highlighted are among the leaders in the industry, and they can certainly do a good job of getting your company’s payroll processed accurately and on time.

But sometimes you want to find a company that stands out from the rest.

One of the things we’ve learned in the 40+ years that we’ve been providing HR & Payroll Services for small businesses is that there’s no substitute for partnering with someone who knows you and your business.

The payroll companies we mentioned above do everything that we have been doing for our clients for years. We do it with the personal touch of people who are truly invested in seeing your business grow.

Schedule a call to find out how we can help with all your payroll needs!

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