Cheap Payroll Software for Small Business

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If you are the owner of your business, you surely know the importance of maintaining it smoothly. You should always be alert because there are numerous things that need to be taken care of. However, there is no need to get anxious because today there are a number of services available online for this purpose, and one of them is payroll services.

Payroll is one of the biggest expenses any business will encounter. Most small businesses are self-employed with few employees, but that doesn’t excuse you from having to meet your payroll needs. The only difference is that the margins are usually much thinner for small business owners.

Square Payroll

Foodservice and retail business owners who invest in their brick-and-mortar locations, as well as their online stores, should be eyeing Square’s payroll solution with interest. Square Payroll integrates with the Square POS software and its credit card processing services to create an all-in-one online payroll service that costs only $29/mo with a $5 per-employee fee and no flat subscription price. Restaurants and retailers who already use Square can look forward to an easy setup as well as multiple benefits from Square’s integrations and equipment such as tip calculations, timecard syncing, and even employee management from mobile devices.

When it comes to crunching numbers, Square Payroll makes things much quicker with automation. Automated tax management means that business owners with their hands full can sit back while Square automatically calculates withholdings and payment amounts. Square also automates its tax submissions to federal and state contacts so that businesses don’t forget about deadlines and incur fees. Square Payroll takes care of quarterly and year-end filings as well, as long as you remember to keep your business and employee information up-to-date in your software. The payroll software protects the information it processes with industry-leading data security and privacy standards that include HIPAA and PCI compliance.

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User reviews tend to praise Square Payroll and its ease of use, especially for restaurants and retailers who already use Square, as well as its transparent and straightforward pricing. Square’s positive reception is reflected in its 4.6/5 star review on Capterra (based on 500+ reviews), which we cover in more detail in our Square Payroll review. Square Payroll isn’t without fault, though, and limits owners who are looking for a more expansive set of payroll functions like benefits administration, reporting, and schedule management for larger businesses.

The pros and cons of Square Payroll include:


  • Easy integration with the Square POS
  • Automated tax support and filing
  • HIPAA and PCI-compliant security standards
  • Huge amount of integrations with Square equipment


  • Limited features for larger businesses
  • A relatively small range of payroll functions


It provides simple and straightforward modeling for payroll requirements. With only one or two employees, every small firm requires this type of low-cost payroll service.

It can perform an endless number of calculations, pay runs, filings, and deposits all at once. It also checks to see whether there’s anything to print every now and again.

Unlike other low-cost payroll services for one person, it provides a mobile-friendly user interface with no learning curve.

If you have a medium-sized organization, you can include at least 10 employees in their basic package.


Gusto offers a comprehensive HR platform that includes payroll processing. It now provides services to over 100,000 enterprises throughout the world.

Core, Complete, Concierge, and Contractor are the four service options offered by Gusto.

For the first six months, the Core plan is $19 per month, plus $6 per employee. The initial charge climbs to $36 per month six months after you sign up. The total cost of the plan is $36 per month, plus $12 per employee. The most expensive package is the Concierge, which costs $149 per month + $12 per employee.

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The Contractor plan is designed for companies who work with contractors and freelancers, and it costs only $6 per contractor each month, with no monthly minimum. is a well-known free payroll software for companies with fewer than 25 employees. Payroll and taxes are calculated, PTO accruals are tracked, paychecks are printed, and free direct deposits are provided if you use your own bank. Year-end tax reports (W-2s and 1099s) are also handled by the software, which provides you with pre-formatted paperwork to transmit to the authorities. You must pay $15 per month to have file your tax forms.

QuickBooks Payroll

Best for: QuickBooks accounting users

Most people know Intuit as a provider of accounting software, but they also have payroll solutions for small businesses, QuickBooks Payroll. They offer three different small business payroll plans—ranging from the payroll basics to white glove automated payroll and tax management—and a host of combination packages with their popular accounting software, QuickBooks Online.

If you’re not sure which plan is right for you, you can try any plan for free for 30 days first to make sure it’s what you need (though you won’t get any promotional pricing after the trial). There’s also a payroll option that links up with QuickBooks Desktop for businesses that already use that as their accounting software.

Pricing: Depending on the plan you choose, you will pay either $45, $75, or $125 per month respectively, plus a smaller amount per employee per month. The base-level plan, Core, starts at $45 per month, plus $4 per employee per month.


  • Integrates seamlessly with QuickBooks
  • All plans include full-service payroll with automatic tax calculations, health benefits administration, and a workforce portal
  • User-friendly


  • Much more difficult to manage if you don’t use QuickBooks for accounting
  • Limited HR and recruiting features, even with higher-tier plans

Wave Payroll

Best for: Payroll from a free accounting software provider

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Wave offers multiple financial products for small businesses, and their commitment to smaller companies shines through. For businesses in large states like California and New York, Wave offers full-service payroll. With smaller states, they’ll handle payments for you, but you’ll need to file tax paperwork on your own.

You can expect year-end filing, tax liability tracking, pay stubs, and W-2s available on an employee portal, and backups and encryption, all on top of the usual selection of direct deposit and check to print. Plus, this small business payroll service integrates with the rest of Wave’s free accounting software as well, so it’s definitely one of the best options for keeping your payroll in the same place as your accounting and invoicing.

Pricing: $20 per month plus $6 per person for self-service; $35 per month plus same per person fee for full-service


  • Automatically integrates with Wave Accounting, Invoicing, and Payments
  • Includes live chat support during the week, as well as email assistance
  • Offers time tracking in addition to direct deposit and employee self-service portal


  • Full-service payroll only available in 14 states
  • Not a great option for those who don’t use Wave accounting software
  • Limited advanced payroll and HR features


Small business payroll software can be expensive; it’s often hard to understand what you need and there are endless options to choose from. But, you don’t have to break the bank to get the software that will make running your business easy and efficient. Payroll is a common pain point for small business owners and there are simple solutions out there to make it manageable.

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