Gusto payroll pricing starts at $40/month (with an additional $6 per employee) for the Simple plan, $80/month (plus $12 per employee) for the Plus plan, and its Premium plan operates on a custom pricing model. Gusto also offers a subscription-free plan for businesses that hire contractors, rather than full-time employees.
While this might sounds expensive at first glance, we found in our independent research that Gusto is one of the best payroll software options on the market, and actually one of the cheapest payroll software brands out there. Even Gusto's lowest tier (the Simple plan) is generous in functionality – and you get even more features when you advance to the (admittedly more expensive) Plus plan.
There are two things to note. Firstly, while Gusto doesn’t offer a free plan, you can schedule a free demo with Gusto by contacting them through their website. Secondly, Gusto used to have a tier below the Simple plan, known as the Basic plan. However, this was discontinued in 2022, so if you see this elsewhere, know that you won't be able to enroll on it.
Read on for our complete breakdown of what you get at each Gusto pricing tier, and how it compares to competitors.
What Is Gusto?
Gusto is a payroll and HR software, designed to help small businesses manage their weekly, biweekly, or monthly employee compensation. Gusto offers all the typical functions of this type of software, from direct deposits to W-2s and 1099s for employees' annual tax filings.
Gusto stands out for plenty of additional reasons, however. It's a very user-friendly option, with plenty of resources, training, and support to help businesses get the most out of the service. It has an automated alert system, which proactively lets users know if they are breaching federal or state labor laws. Plus, it offers strong security measures, boasting robust SOC II and ISO 27001 certifications.
One downside to the software, however, is a lack of third-party integrations with big platforms in the space, such as SAP and Oracle. Gusto also lacks international payroll functionality, which might make it less attractive to ambitiously growing companies. On the whole, though, it offers many key payroll features, and all at a fair, transparent price.
How Much Does Gusto Cost?
Gusto payroll pricing starts at $40 per month, plus an extra $6 per user per month for the providers Simple plan. If businesses want unlock advanced payroll capabilities, they'll need to pay $80 per month plus $12 per user per month for Gusto Plus, while custom pricing is also available.
Scroll down to learn more about Gusto's pricing plans.
With Gusto, you’ll be able to pay employees across all 50 states by creating employee profiles for anyone you’ve hired. Gusto has three pricing tiers, with an extra tier for those who rely on contractors instead of standard employees.
These plans are Simple, Plus, and Premium. In 2022, Gusto retired a very similar set of plans (Core, Complete, and Concierge) in favor of the current ones, so don't be confused if you see outdated articles discussing those plan names.
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$39/month + $5/employee
$40/month + $6/employee
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Our research found that Gusto's strongest rival is Rippling, because it lets businesses build custom HR packages to fit their specific needs. The provider offers impressive payment controls, employee-focused features and in-depth training material – helping it secure its edge over the competition and an overall research score of 4.6/5, making it the best payroll provider we've reviewed.
We also like ADP’s RUN payroll service. It includes most of Gusto’s features, only missing out on small things like the Gusto Wallet or included time-tracking. And unlike Gusto, their pricing is custom quote-based, meaning you only pay for what you want. However, you’ll only know the price point after you put the plan together, so it might end up costing more than you’ll be able to pay.
Check out our comparison of Gusto vs ADP Payroll to find out which software is better suited to you.
Gusto Simple Plan
The lowest plan on offer is the Simple plan, which costs $40 a month, plus an additional $6 for every employee enrolled in the software. This means that a company with 15 employees would be paying a monthly $130 fee.
This package does more than just facilitate payments – it will also let you manage your employee’s time off (vacation and sick pay), company health insurance, and worker’s comp. These are all crucial for businesses, as they help you keep track of your company’s complex financials.
The Simple plan lets you pay your employees with two days. While this may not be as fast as Paychex — the only provider we reviewed to offer real-time payment options — Gusto's standard plan provides faster payment times than Rippling and Onpay, whose standard packages both feature payment windows of two to four days. Still, Gusto Simple has a two-day delay for direct deposits, even when using the Autopilot feature, which means you need to plan ahead when it comes to managing your employees’ pay.
Gusto can help new employees who will be in need of W-4 and I-9 forms by creating and aiding with the filling out of these forms. Users of Gusto’s software will also be able to use the phone, email, and live chat support options, as well as the Gusto video support library, to effectively set up and manage their account.
This plan also offers useful accounting add-ons with providers like Freshbooks, Xero, and Quickbooks to help users with their bookkeeping needs, and time-tracking integrations with Homebase and TSheets.
Check out the competition with our Paychex pricing guide.
Gusto Plus Plan
Gusto's Plus package costs $80 a month, with an additional $12 for each employee paid through the software. This means that a company with 15 employees would be paying a monthly rate of $260. Gusto has increased this plan's price by 25% since the start of 2023, when it was just $60 per month plus $9 for each employee.
On top of everything included in the Simple plan, the two-day direct deposit becomes next-day direct deposit, allowing you to keep a tighter schedule. You’ll be able to manage time-off requests, both of which will help you relate more effectively with employees. Live support still isn't 24/7, but this isn't unusual for payroll software: Of the top options we've researched, only Paychex has around-the-clock support.
As far as new toys to play with in return for the higher cost, the Plus plan gives you access to advanced onboarding tools like job post capabilities, application tracking systems, customizable offer letter templates and tailored onboarding checklists.
The platform's recent integration with Gusto Recruiting extends its onboarding capabilities even further, allowing businesses to gather feedback on prospective hires through scoreboards. Due to these bespoke onboarding capabilities, Gusto's software is an asset for businesses looking to scale while maintaining full control of their recruitment process.
Gusto lets managers hire and onboard employees within the software interface.
This tier also lets managers create custom paid time off (PTO) policies, tend to PTO requests, customize holiday pay and automatically sync calendars and payroll features. You’ll also gain project and time tracking capabilities and an employee directory, letting you stay on top of your workforce. Time tracking is especially useful for a business with a lot of overtime, as it’ll mean you don’t have to work out different payments by hand every pay period.
Businesses using Gusto's Plus plan also benefit from their full customer support services, including access to extended live support hours. In our opinion, all of the added capabilities make the Plus tier well worth the extra $40 per month and $6 per employee.
Gusto Premium Plan
Operating on an exclusive pricing model, the price for Gusto's most comprehensive plan with vary on a case-by-case basis.
Since the package only offers custom pricing, you’d expect the Premium plan to be the absolute final frontier of payroll software – you’d be just about right, too.
By taking this leap, you gain everything included in the provider's Plus plan, with additional access to Gusto’s HR resource center. Not only does this unlock valuable training resources for staff, it also gives businesses access to unique features like regularly updated compliance notifications which automatically alerts users if they breach federal or local labor laws.
Since Gusto's HR resource center is a cut above the rest, the Plus plan is ideal for expanding businesses that are intent on developing their HR operations sometime in the future. While this may seem like a large investment for a single add-on, it means you don’t have to buy individual HR software, which can be a big money saver. This isn't unique to Gusto, however, as top options including Rippling, Paychex, and Zenefits all offer in-house HR and payroll bundles.
Using this, you’ll be able to create your own employee handbook. Users on Premium will also have access to a service that provides them unlimited access to a team of SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) and HRCI (Human Resource Certification Institute) professionals via phone and secure messenger.
By taking this leap, you gain access to Gusto’s HR resource center.
Gusto’s HR resources are pretty solid, covering all the HR essentials. They give you all the tools and information you need to comply with workplace standards, avoid costly lawsuits, and stay on top of changing regulations that could affect your business.
Aside from HR features, Premium users can benefit from full-service payroll migration and account setup tools, an R&D tax credit discount, waived fees and exclusive pricing, and a health insurance broker addon that lets you integrate your existing plans into Gusto's software.
Users on Premium will also be able to carry out anonymous and customizable team surveys to gain insights into their employees. As you can see, this tier manages far more than payroll and acts more as a one-size-fits-all HR and accountancy tool.
Gusto Contractor Plan
If you run a company that employs a lot of 1099 contractors (as opposed to regularly paid employees), this might be for you. Keep in mind that this doesn’t support W2 workers, just 1099 contractors, so you won’t be able to pay standard employees if you’re only using the Contractor plan.
When sale rates don't apply, businesses will need to pay a base rate of $35 per month, plus an additional $6 per month, per contractor.
However, thanks to Gusto's current discount, you'll only need to pay $6 a month for each contractor you employ for the first six months, with no limit to the amount of contractors. After the six months is up, you'll need to start paying the base rate, alongside the same fee per contractor. Features include:
- Unlimited contractor payments across all 50 US states
- 4-day direct deposit
- 1099-NECs at the end of the year
- New hire reporting (only if required in the state you operate within)
Keep in mind that you’ll be able to generate 1099 forms on every other Gusto tier – it isn’t unique to the Contractor plan. Every other top payroll software, from Rippling to ADP, will support payments for non-employees as well. So, only spring for this plan if you almost exclusively rely on contractors.
Gusto's interface lets users set up and modify benefits for employees on the company payroll.
Gusto Add-Ons and Extras
If you’re looking to stretch Gusto’s uses even further, you’re able to add a variety of extra features and capabilities to your core package. We list a couple of its main add-ons below:
- Extra users – you can add an employee to your payroll for $6 per employee on the Simple level, or $12 on the Plus level.
- Gusto Wallet – This tool helps employees track save and access payments and is free to use
- Broker services – This premium add-on allows businesses to integrate their existing brokers and eligible health plans.
- 401(k) – You can use this premium to sync your current 401(k) plan directly to Gusto.
- Workers compensation – This low-cost extra helps businesses protect their teams and stay legally compliant.
- Health insurance administration – This premium add-on gives businesses access to over 9000 health insurance plans for their employees.
Gusto also supports integrations with third-party platforms, granting businesses access to hundreds of accounting, time tracking, collaboration, and onboarding tools.
If you're considering the leading integration options, we can help you figure out their costs, too. Check out our guides to Shopify pricing if you need to independently run an online store, and read through our QuickBooks Online pricing guide if you're interested in managing all your financials beyond just payroll.
Verdict – Is Gusto Payroll Worth It?
As a reminder, those pricing tiers are:
- Simple at $49 a month (with an additional $6 for each employee)
- Plus at $80 a month (with an additional $12 for each employee)
- Premium which runs on an exclusive pricing system
Our recommendation is the Plus plan, which still offers a reasonably affordable flat rate while still adding a load of useful features, like permissions and time tracking. The Premium tier is nice, but for such a massive price increase, you’d want to know for sure that you stand to gain a lot from their HR resources.
Overall, Gusto is one of the cheaper options on the market, but it doesn’t skimp on features. Even the lowest tier has a lot of great stuff on offer, and doesn’t cut many corners to deliver.
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