Maintaining a small business requires significant effort—not only do you have to focus on growing and adapting your business—you also have to establish processes for everyday tasks, such as payroll management.
Luckily, there are many payroll software systems out there that allow you to fully automate your payroll so you don’t have to invest significant portions of your time managing this important business function.
That said, you may have heard of the top payroll providers Patriot and Gusto. Although these two payroll platforms offer similar services, you’ll want to consider key features, pricing, plans, and customer reviews when comparing Patriot vs. Gusto in order to determine which is a better fit for your small business.
Patriot Payroll vs. Gusto Comparison
|Best For||Patriot Payroll||Gusto|
Basic payroll services at a low cost
Time tracking (and overtime management)
Customer service support
Unlimited payroll in all 50 states
Patriot vs. Gusto: Features
Before you can commit to any payroll platform, it’s important to take a hard look at what features and functions your business needs to thrive. Is automatic payroll important to you? Would you like your employees to have access to paycheck portals? You’ll want to decide which factors are must-haves before diving further into this review.
The good news is, Patriot Payroll and Gusto both offer the top payroll features small businesses need to effectively manage, maintain, and automate in-house payroll. Both Patriot and Gusto are cloud-based platforms that allow business owners and employees to access their payroll accounts from anywhere.
In addition, both platforms offer integration options (such as POS, accounting, and time tracking platforms) to help your business’s software better communicate and enhance other programs.
With that in mind, let’s explore the key features that each of these top competitors offers to begin to understand the differences between Gusto vs. Patriot Payroll.
Patriot Payroll Features
Patriot Payroll is a great first option for startups or expanding small businesses new to payroll management that want basic functionality and a large number of features to choose from.
Patriot offers different payment plans and pricing options which we’ll explore in depth later on in this comparison review. These tiers make it easy to find a plan that best suits your business’s individual needs.
Let’s explore some of the main features Patriot Payroll offers:
- Unlimited payroll: Patriot Payroll allows you to schedule and automate payroll to be performed on specific days or times per month. It also allows you to adjust this schedule as needed and run payroll an unlimited number of times per month.
- Free setup process: Establishing a payroll system may seem daunting, but Patriot will work with your team to quickly integrate and set up your new system.
- Some tax compliance services: Depending on your plan, Patriot will automatically calculate, withhold, file, and pay your payroll taxes, file year-end paperwork, and ensure tax accuracy.
- Free employee portals: Allow your employees full access to their pay stubs, tax documents, and other key information through employee portals.
- Workers compensation integration: This allows you to set up workers compensation benefits and policies with Patriot’s software.
- Additional payroll features: Choose from direct deposit or paper checks, manage payroll for multiple business locations, access your account from your smartphone, manage multiple pay rates, and establish PTO policies with Patriot.
- Integrate some accounting software: You can integrate Patriot Payroll with Patriot Accounting or QuickBooks accounting programs.
Gusto Payroll Features
Like Patriot, Gusto Payroll also offers comprehensive payroll features and options, specifically tailored to make managing payroll easy and efficient for small businesses.
Gusto provides a few different pricing plans small businesses can select to best meet their needs and budgetary requirements. In addition, Gusto also offers HR tools and resources that can be helpful to small HR teams or businesses without a formal HR department on staff.
Let’s explore some of the main features Gusto offers:
- Unlimited payroll: Schedule your payroll to run a set number of times per month, weekly, or on custom days with Gusto. In addition, you can also change your payroll rules at any time and run payroll an unlimited number of times without incurring additional fees.
- Automatic tax compliance services: Gusto will not only handle all of your company’s payroll taxes (including calculating, withholding, filing, and submitting), they will also issue and file new employee reports, W2s, 1099s, and more.
- Free employee portals: Your employees will be able to access their payroll information on the go, gaining access to paystubs, available PTO hours, and tax documents.
- Employee profiles: Employee profiles help your small business organize employees into departments, teams, and managers, and also offer insights and information on each employee.
- Enhanced benefits management: You’ll be able to establish and manage both health insurance and workers compensation employee benefits and policies with Gusto.
- Additional payroll features: With Gusto, you can select direct deposit or paper checks (or a variety of both), manage multiple pay rates and employee types, calculate bonuses, commissions and establish wage garnishments, track PTO hours, and establish PTO policies.
- Integrates with top software: Gusto easily integrates with many top platforms for POS, accounting, and time tracking (QuickBooks, FreshBooks, Homebase, Xero, and more).
- Reporting options: Create and run reports to gain access to insights for payroll, tax information, employee details, and benefits information.
Gusto vs. Patriot Payroll: Pricing
When comparing Patriot vs. Gusto payroll services, you’ll want to look at how much the functionality you need will cost. Both Patriot and Gusto offer different tiers of service at different price points.
We explore the key differences in plans and pricing for each platform below:
Patriot Payroll Pricing
Patriot Payroll offers two different payroll plans to help small businesses only pay for the features important to their company’s success. Patriot does cap their services at 100 employees, which means they aren’t an option for small businesses with more than 100 employees.
Let’s take a closer look at Patriot’s two plans and price points:
Patriot Basic Payroll: $10 + $4 per employee/contractor per month
- Full payroll services, including unlimited pay options, payroll setup, and multiple location management
- Employee portals
- Direct deposit (no turn times listed)
- Workers compensation administration
- PTO management tools
- Mobile-friendly interface
- Integrations with QuickBooks and other Patriot programs
- Expert customer service support
Patriot Full Service Payroll: $30 + $4 per employee/contractor per month
- All of the features included in the Basic Payroll plan
- Calculate, withhold, file, and submit local, state, and federal payroll taxes
- Year-end tax filing services
Gusto Payroll Pricing
Gusto also offers a variety of plans and options for customers to choose from, though their pricing is handled differently.
That said, Gusto can be a worthwhile option for small businesses managing only contractors, as they offer a simple plan that provides basic payroll assistance for $6 per contractor.
Let’s take a closer look at Gusto’s four plans and price points:
Gusto Basic Plan: $19 + $6 per employee/contractor per month*
- Complete payroll services for one state
- Employee profiles
- Employee portals
- Administration of workers compensation
- Direct deposit options (four-day turn time)
- PTO policy setup
- Access to customer support
*This plan is new and being beta-tested, so customers might experience a few hiccups.
Gusto Core Plan: $39 + $6 per employee/contractor per month
- Complete payroll services for multiple states
- Employee profiles
- Employee portals
- Direct deposit options (two-day turn time)
- Administration of benefits (health and workers comp)
- PTO policy setup
- Access to customer support
Gusto Complete Plan: $39 + $12 per employee/contractor per month
- All Gusto Core plan features, plus…
- Employee onboarding tools and new hire offer letters
- Direct deposit options (next-day turn time)
- Time tracking capabilities
- PTO policy setup and holiday pay management
- Ability to create company directories and feedback surveys
Gusto Concierge Plan: $149 + $12 per employee/contractor per month
- All Gusto Complete plan features, plus…
- HR tools and support
- Main HR resource center
Tax filings and payroll tax management is included in all four plans.
Patriot Payroll vs. Gusto: Customer Reviews
Next, we’ll want to turn from features and pricing to focus on comparing Gusto vs. Patriot Payroll in terms of their customer reviews.
To begin, we’ll look at their Better Business Bureau (BBB) ratings, then explore top review website data to better understand what customers have to say about their experience with these top payroll services.
Patriot Payroll Reviews
Patriot is fully accredited with the BBB and has an A+ rating. Patriot does have several customer complaints listed, but each time the company has responded to the customers to resolve all issues.
It is worth noting that Patriot also offers accounting software and this business listing includes both Patriot Payroll and Patriot Accounting as one business.
In terms of top review sites, Capterra, G2 Crowd, and Trustpilot all rate Patriot Payroll 4.8 out of 5 stars.
Overall, with a focus on ease of use, customer service, and affordability, Patriot Payroll reviews are generally positive.
Gusto Payroll Reviews
Unlike Patriot Payroll, Gusto is not accredited with the BBB. The company is poorly rated on the BBB website due to their failure to respond to complaints made through that platform.
Despite the BBB ratings, however, Gusto is highly rated by customers on online review websites. On Capterra, Gusto is rated 4.7 out of 5 stars, they’re rated 4.0 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot, and on G2 Crowd, they have 4.4 out of 5 stars.
Ultimately, Gusto is a top payroll competitor and although reviews suggest there are some issues with customer service, the platform’s integrations and intuitive interface are key reasons why this payroll service receives high praise.
Patriot vs. Gusto: Pros and Cons
So, now that you have a better understanding of the features, pricing, and reviews for both Patriot and Gusto, let’s walk through the advantages and disadvantages for each of these platforms to help you choose a payroll system for your small business.
Patriot Payroll may be a better fit for smaller businesses since their plans are generally more affordable than Gusto. In addition, they tend to be more payroll-focused and don’t offer as wide of a variety of advanced or tangential features.
Plus, if you already use Patriot Accounting, then this software will integrate seamlessly and will have an interface your company is already familiar with.
- Easy setup process
- Simple navigation structure for users
- Affordable price
- Accounting add-on features
- Intuitive employee portals
- No benefits management
- Charges extra to run payroll in multiple states
For small businesses with a larger number of employees or those looking for a wider range of payroll functions, while still receiving automatic tax filing service, Gusto might be the better fit.
Not only does Gusto offer more features included in their plans, but they also integrate with more programs that small businesses are likely to use.
- Unlimited payroll capability
- Payroll available in all 50 states
- Great user experience
- Time-saving automated features
- Customizable reporting tools
- Options for employee benefit management
- Lack of time management tools in basic plan
- Benefits not offered in all states
- Can get costly with higher-level plans and greater number of employees
The Bottom Line
Deciding between Gusto vs. Patriot can be difficult, particularly since both platforms offer similar payroll management services. Both have good customer reviews, affordable options, and all the benefits your small business will need to set up, manage, and automate your payroll.
At the end of the day, if you still have questions about your Patriot vs. Gusto payroll options, we recommend registering for a free trial of each, so you can fully experience the benefits of both options before making a decision.
Courtney Johnston is a freelance writer, specializing in finance, real estate, and small business. Her writing has appeared in The Chicago Tribune, Benzinga, Rocket Mortgage, BestReviews, Mashvisor, and MoneyGeek. She also teaches writing instruction at the University of Indianapolis. Courtney enjoys condensing complex topics into easily digestible content for readers.