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Cheap Payroll Services for Small Business

Online payroll services make the typically time-consuming task of running payroll by yourself faster and more efficient. An intuitive payroll process is particularly important for small business owners who have no room for error when they need to pay their employees. Small businesses, therefore, require a payroll option that has a great balance of features and a price point that doesn’t break the bank.

Cheap payroll services for small business is a topic where you have to be careful of what you choose because there are a ton of options out there. You need to know things like what can a payroll service do for me, how much does a payroll service cost, and the list goes on. If you don’t fully understand how a payroll service works before making a decision, then it could cost you money unnecessarily if you get the wrong one.


When it comes to cheap and user-friendly online payroll services that still offer lots of features, Gusto reigns supreme. Gusto payroll software’s many features include a simple dashboard that displays upcoming payroll dates and deadlines, support for off-cycle payroll schedules and bonuses, and employee and contractor management to account for various deductions, earnings, and garnishments. Gusto’s four affordable plans are paid every month: ‘Basic’ starts at $19/mo and $6 per person; ‘Core’ at $39/mo and $6 per person; ‘Complete’ raises the per-person rate to $12/mo; and the top-tier ‘Concierge’ plan comes in at $149/month plus a rate of $12 per person for larger businesses that still want payroll software with competitive rates.

Gusto’s integrations with other popular software like TSheets, Xero, and QuickBooks allow for more advanced features such as time-tracking for contractors with multiple pay rates or job-costing calculations. With 60 integrations and an API for software developers, Gusto can cover everything from accounting and expense tracking to POS and project management. These integrations, as well as the core features that ship with Gusto’s software, are easy to set up and use for a high level of user-friendliness, which we discuss in more detail in our Gusto review. To keep calculations and the information it stores secure, Gusto uses 256-bit SSL Encryption, firewalls, and multifactor authentification as well as physical security measures to protect its data center such as anti-fraud measures.

Gusto receives high praise from users and maintains a rating of 4.7/5 stars on Capterra (based on 2,700+ ratings) and 8.8/10 stars on TrustRadius (based on 100+ ratings). Among the user reviews that do bring down Gusto’s average rating, complaints often center around a relative lack of reporting and time tracking capabilities compared to other online payroll services. The pros and cons of Gusto include:


  • Transparent pricing across all main plans
  • Integration options that enable many payroll features
  • Modern data security standards like MFA and 256-bit SSL encryption


  • Limited reporting
  • Limited time tracking


This is a software technology startup that provides small and medium enterprises with HR and payroll services.

Zenefits Payroll is only available as part of a bigger HR software package with three pricing options: Essentials, Growth, and Zen.

The Essentials plan is $8 per month per employee. The Growth Plan, which costs $14 per employee each month, is ideal for a rapidly expanding company. The Zen plan is $21 per month per employee. Payroll, on the other hand, is an add-on that costs $6 per employee every month.


Rippling is a software startup that has created a user-friendly employee management platform. It also sells HR and IT software, such as payroll processing software, which streamlines the administrative side of running a firm.

The system organizes and tracks critical business information including total staff hours worked and total labor expenses. You may also manage direct deposits and paychecks with it.
You must subscribe to Rippling’s Employee Management Platform, which includes onboarding, benefits management, promotions tracking, time monitoring, and device management, in order to use the payroll processing service.

Rippling’s payroll processing software can be tailored to meet your unique requirements. On various financial and business data, reports with visual aids such as graphs and charts can also be generated. Rippling’s price is tailored to your company’s specific needs, but plans start at $8 per month per employee.


Best for: Feature-rich payroll service at an affordable, all-inclusive price

OnPay is a straightforward payroll planning, reviewing, and submission tool (plus tax filings and payments).

With unlimited payroll processing, an intuitive and mobile program, and a transparent monthly pricing scale, OnPay is one of the best payroll providers for basic payroll needs. They guarantee all payroll and tax filings.

Pricing: Starts at $36 per month, plus $4 per person per month


  • Full-service payroll with accuracy guarantee
  • All-inclusive price includes HR tools like automated onboarding flows, compliance audits, and state new hire reporting
  • Customer support offers free account migration, help setting up integrations, and emergency email support on weekends


  • Limited third-party integrations
  • Reviews suggest some features could be more intuitive


Best for: Automated, full-service payroll with customized pricing

Owned by Paychex, SurePayroll is available for desktop or mobile, letting you adjust your small business’s payroll services 24/7. They provide a guarantee on federal, state, and local taxes, so you have peace of mind. And you can easily contact their staff by email, live chat, or phone.

SurePayroll is specifically oriented for small businesses by offering flexible payroll schedules, easy online reporting, a payroll tax guarantee, and options for contract hires.

You can easily run payroll and manage other functions from their comprehensive mobile app, which is convenient for small business owners on the go. It also has special options for paying childcare providers and home-based workers, if those apply to you.

Pricing: Quote-based pricing


  • Ability to choose between self-service and full-service payroll, as well as customize your plan for your needs
  • Live, U.S.-based customer support with weekend and extended hours
  • Range of proprietary add-ons, as well as a handful of third-party integrations


  • No upfront pricing for overall cost of service
  • Timeclock and accounting software integrations and tax filings require additional monthly costs


As a small business owner, there are many responsibilities that you will have to deal with. Having a good business accountant, coach or consultant can certainly make things easier on you. But this is not possible for everyone. So, if you’re a small business owner, then you can consider outsourcing your payroll processing to a professional payroll service company. The best cheap payroll services for small businesses will be able to help you improve your budget, processes and efficiency.

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