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GoCo Review 2019: Is It Right for Your Business?

Christine Aebischer

Editor at Fundera
Christine Aebischer is an editor at Fundera. Previously, she was an editor at the financial planning startup LearnVest and its parent company, Northwestern Mutual. She has written for print and online on topics ranging from personal finance and insurance to luxury real estate and interior design. She has a degree in journalism and English from The College of New Jersey. Email: christine.aebischer@fundera.com.
Editorial Note: Fundera exists to help you make better business decisions. That’s why we make sure our editorial integrity isn’t influenced by our own business. The opinions, analyses, reviews, or recommendations in this article are those of our editorial team alone.

If you run your own company, it’s more than likely that you can’t seem to shorten your to-do list no matter what you try. The agenda never gets shorter and, in some cases, a few items end up consistently falling to the bottom. This phenomenon is particularly prone to affecting HR for small businesses, since these tasks can take up a ton of time when other urgent matters are at hand. If you’ve found yourself in this situation, an HR software may be the perfect solution to take these time-consuming to-dos off your plate. And that’s where a solution like GoCo comes in.

A human resources information system (HRIS) like GoCo manages your company’s typical (and occasionally atypical) human resources tasks. The best HRIS platforms do this with minimal fuss and frustration, as they help you outsource as much of this work as possible. In some cases, this means computer automation. In others, it means having your HRIS provider help you manually with a team of experts. Regardless of how the work gets done, HRIS apps help you get your human resources work done in ways that are designed to beat going it alone. 

There are a ton of factors (and options) to think about when you’re in the market for an HRIS platform for your company. In this GoCo review, we’ll explore the platform’s features, pricing, pros and cons, as well as what users have to say about it. We’ll also provide some GoCo alternatives so you can find the best HRIS for your small business.

GoCo: The Basics

GoCo is one of several HRIS providers out there that is designed specifically for small businesses. In the past, most outsourced HR offerings were for medium-sized or large businesses. These options were cost prohibitive for most entrepreneurs, and came with high minimum requirements in order to get bulk pricing per employee in the program. Others that did specifically target small businesses were less sophisticated or intuitive than some of the bigger players, which all but precluded smaller companies from finding creative solutions to their HR demands. 

GoCo, on the other hand, was designed specifically to help small organizations with the ins and outs of their bookkeeping, payroll, employee tax information, and benefits administration. GoCo is a relative newcomer to the HR management space, and has set out to help small businesses manage talent acquisition and retention, benefits and payroll administration, as well as staffing and time off requests.

Think of GoCo as a digital HR department: Instead of having to hire people to manually manage day-to-day people management (or, worse yet, have to administer it yourself), the cloud-based platform securely keeps records online, doing away with mountains of files and the risk of lost paperwork. Best of all, GoCo also provides companies with real-life HR professionals to help tackle complex questions or large-scale challenges.

coastal payroll

GoCo Features

GoCo provides a comprehensive tool for small businesses to manage their human resources tasks, all while doing so with an intuitive and easy-to-use user interface. The platform collects all of the common HR tasks together under one roof, acting as a one-stop-shop for all things relating to your company’s workforce and payroll. Plus, you can manage onboarding new employees as well, assigning them with specific tasks to complete as part of their first days a new team member. 

With GoCo you’ll also have the ability to track your employee’s PTO requests, as well as performance with employee feedback tools. You can also create an interactive org chart and run custom reports. Managing benefits is also made easy with GoCo—their self-service portal allows employees to compare plans, make their elections, and make changes when needed, all of which will be automatically reflected in payroll. And GoCo integrates with all major payroll software providers, including ADP, Paychex, Paylocity, and QuickBooks.

Put it all together, and GoCo offers a comprehensive suite of tools to take the confusion out of administering your company’s HR needs. All without having to hire extra staff just to get the job done. Sometimes, however, you’ll need the expertise that comes with having a real-life person on the other end of the phone to help you through trickier HR questions. That’s where GoCo excels, as it offers experts on benefits and compliance to help companies work through their more complicated questions.

There’s a lot to like about GoCo as the small business HR solution for your company. But before you take the plunge, let’s go over some other core considerations to consider. 

GoCo Pricing

GoCo keeps their pricing simple—which isn’t always the most common approach within the world of HRIS platforms. Unlike other, large-scale software companies, GoCo offers upfront pricing for their platform, and even a free version for those who want to give the system a spin before paying for more features. 

The free version of GoCo includes many of the platform’s core features, which includes time off tracking, two onboarding task entries, two custom documents, two custom entry fields for employee records, and a year of feedback history tracking between team members. This version focuses more on the recordkeeping component of things for new and existing employees, rather than features that help small business owners take control of their payroll and tax form creation needs.

The paid version of GoCo, known as Premium HR, builds upon the free version with some major functionality differences. You’ll get all of the same features as the free version in addition to unlimited custom fields, onboarding tasks, document creation, and team feedback history. If you choose annual billing, Premium HR costs $79.20 per month (and an additional $4 per month per employee); if you choose monthly billing this cost jumps to $99 per month, with an additional $5 per month per employee.

GoCo’s Premium HR makes it easy to integrate the platform into your company’s existing ecosystem of apps and providers, such as your payroll application. You’ll also need to opt for the paid version if you want to take advantage of GoCo’s employee benefits function.

Even as GoCo makes it easier for you to oversee your company’s HR needs, they also make it easier for your employees to take charge of their own requests, as well. The platform offers a robust self-service portal for employees, which means fewer requests need to land in your inbox and can be handled by people on their own instead.

GoCo Reviews

GoCo is big on usability. The good news is, most of their customers tend to agree. That’s not to say that GoCo isn’t without flaws, though. We explored GoCo reviews to see what users have to say about the HRIS platform. Here are some positive and negative things they had to say about GoCo. 

GoCo Pros

GoCo’s customers are pretty happy in their reviews, for the most part. This is particularly true with regard to the software’s intuitive design, which reviewers say is easy to use and fluid. Adding and removing employees from the company’s system is easy and hassle-free. The program also gets positive marks for their custom reporting and fields, which allow users to customize their software a little closer to their needs—particularly for employee records.

GoCo’s pricing is another compelling offer that gets some attention. The platform’s free version is relatively robust, even if not completely expansive. The core functionality is still there, but you won’t find integrations with payroll providers or other time-intensive tasks (also known as the kind of stuff you want in your HRIS platform). If anything, GoCo’s free version is a great sandbox for you to play in while you decide whether you like the feel of the program.

GoCo Cons

There are plenty of good things to say about GoCo, and customers have no trouble saying them. That’s not to suggest that the program is perfect, though. According to users, there are a few drawbacks to entering hours for employees who don’t work a set schedule. Some reviewers struggle with finding a simple way to account for these cases, and end up doing more manual work within the program than anticipated.

On the other hand, if you’re looking for a free program that gives you the moon and the stars, you’re not going to find it with GoCo. That’s for good reason: Good products require good people to be paid good money. There are cheaper options out there—even within a freemium pricing model—but few can offer the same low-hassle setup.

goco

GoCo Alternatives 

GoCo has plenty of competitors out there as the lucrative HRIS market only gets larger. Companies that were once too small for viable HR outsourcing are now able to get a solution that works for their specific needs. The number of programs has only grown as a result. Here are a few GoCo competitors and alternatives to help you narrow down your search.

BambooHR

One GoCo alternative is BambooHR, a popular option that delivers the goods on many of the same HRIS tasks as GoCo. This app is made to help small business owners take care of their HR needs, workforce oversight, and pay-related information. The user interface is also designed well, and makes it easy for novice users to enter and access employee records.

BambooHR is competitively priced, as well. The platform’s entry-level tier, known as BambooHR Essentials, starts at $6.19 per employee per month. BambooHR Advantage includes additional features and integrations, costing $8.25 per employee per month. BambooHR also offers discounts based on company size, which may alter what you’d pay for the service. 

Zenefits

Another option besides GoCo is Zenefits, a heavy hitter in the HRIS space that offers a suite of tools to help with finding and retaining the best talent on the market, getting them enrolled in benefits, and making sure they get paid. The platform has perhaps one of the more recognizable names in the space, but that’s not to say that there aren’t other software companies out there making a great product.

Zenefits offers three account tiers: Essentials offers the basic experience and minimum required components to manage your firm’s HR needs for $8 per employee per month. Zenefits Growth is the mid-level option, which includes more sophisticated tasks like compensation management and costs $14 per employee per month. Lastly, Zenefits Zen costs $21 per employee per month, and includes everything in Essentials and Growth in addition to wellbeing services. This pricing is based on an annual billing model, and will be slightly more expensive if you opt for monthly billing instead.

GoCo: The Bottom Line

HR management options for small business owners are not lacking on the web. There’s a big appetite for these services, and lots of providers from which to choose. This has resulted in a ton of diverse options that do a better job at one or several features, while others get high marks across the board. 

GoCo stands out with their usability and robust feature set. However, as far as free plans go, you’ll only get the basics—though this may be a good way to test out the product before committing to the paid version. Whether you choose GoCo or an alternative to manage your business’s HR needs, the most important thing is that you can free up your valuable time to focus on other responsibilities. 

Christine Aebischer

Editor at Fundera
Christine Aebischer is an editor at Fundera. Previously, she was an editor at the financial planning startup LearnVest and its parent company, Northwestern Mutual. She has written for print and online on topics ranging from personal finance and insurance to luxury real estate and interior design. She has a degree in journalism and English from The College of New Jersey. Email: christine.aebischer@fundera.com.

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