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Do you hire, manage, and pay employees?
If so, you’re probably aware of how tough payroll and HR can be. There are forms to fill, checks to sign, taxes to pay, regulations to comply with, paid time off to track, and so much more. And if you make even a single mistake, you could wind up paying off those fines and fees. (1 in 3 business owners experience this, in fact!)
Thankfully, there are plenty of payroll services for small business trying to solve just this problem. From intuitive apps to firms of accountants, you’ve got a huge selection of payroll solutions to pick from. But what are the best payroll services for small business?
We’ve figured it out and compiled a comprehensive guide to the best payroll solutions for small business owners. Here’s our list of the 52 best payroll services for small business in no particular order. (To stay unbiased, we didn’t order them by price, popularity, or quality!) Which is right for you?
Before we get into our long list of the best payroll services for small business, let’s quickly review…
What separates an okay payroll service from a best payroll service?
While every business is different, and you need to pick the right solution for your particular needs, there are a few factors to keep an eye out for when browsing around for the best payroll service for your business.
Pretty straightforward—what’s the price?
Some payroll services for small business come with transparent pricing models right on their homepage. You’ll often have a base fee, which is a flat monthly rate, plus a per-employee fee, which is naturally the extra cost of each additional employee.
For example, you might purchase a payroll service for $39 a month, plus $6 per employee per month. And different services may have multiple plans or tiers, too—so look out for that, especially if you’re right on the line.
Other payroll services for small business will offer free quotes, though, since their systems depend on a few more factors. These require a bit more work from you to figure out whether you can afford them… And whether they’re better than the competition.
For some entrepreneurs, the whole point of purchasing payroll services for small business is so you don’t have to pay those payroll tax fees.
Accordingly, there are certain payroll services that come with a guarantee. They promise you won’t face any fines—and if you do, the services will handle them.
Don’t see a lack of a guarantee as a deal-breaker, though: it usually depends on how automated or manual the actual service is. If payroll uploading and submitting is all on you, then your taxes probably aren’t guaranteed!
Can you reach this service by phone? Over email? With a live chat box? Are their hours convenient for your business? Have you tried their customer service line a few times to test out whether they’re helpful?
Even with the best payroll services for small business, payroll is complicated. It’s always important to make sure that you have the right customer service options in case something goes wrong.
If you’re in an industry with specific payroll demands, you’ll want to double-check that your favorite service can handle those extra steps.
For example, restaurants need special payroll filings for tips. Does the payroll service you selected handle that? If not, you should reconsider your choice.
What do you actually need from a payroll service?
If you’ve just got one or two employees, you may want to only pay for the basics: paying your employees, paying your payroll taxes, and filing your tax forms.
If you’re handling more, then some extra human resources-focused add-ons could be worth your cash. Just know that the more you get, the more you give—so when looking for your best payroll service, think about what you need and how much you want to pay for it.
Whether it’s a high-tech mobile application, a desktop application, or a web-based portal, your payroll service should be easy to figure out. You don’t want to spend as much time learning how to use your payroll service as you would’ve spent doing payroll yourself, after all!
So read reviews online, check out screenshots, and try a free trial if you can to make sure the payroll services for small business that you’re considering make sense to you.
While payroll services for small business often come with other additional features, like HR management tools or regulation compliance, these can be pricier options with steeper learning curves.
What if you just want something simple?
You have a problem—payroll—and you want a solution: payroll services. If you’re not looking to widen your search, then check out this list of the best payroll services for small business that focus on giving you the basics (without sacrificing any quality).
PrimePay offers two different 30-day free trials: an online payroll system for the computer-savvy or a completely hands-off payroll system run by a dedicated Client Success Representative. Beyond helping with federal, state, and local taxes, they’ll also file your W-2s and make sure you’re 100% compliant.
Only want no-stress payroll services for small business? Try out Wagepoint. Its focus on easy setup and simple tools lets you focus your time or energy back on your business. It’s also got the basics down—like direct deposits, payroll taxes, year-end reporting, filing for W-2s and 1099s, and online paystubs.
Paylocity is all about efficiency: they focus on a seamless application with diverse online integrations from general ledgers to retirement plans, wellness plans, and point-of-sale systems. They also offer compliance checking with the Affordable Care Act, pre-processing review of payroll, and new hire templates.
From direct deposit to tax services, Big Fish Payroll Services can handle all of your small business’s needs. In addition to timetracking, human resources programs, and payroll reports, Big Fish Payroll Services also allows your employees to view, edit, manage, and verify their own personal information.
For just the basics, IOIPay handles the payroll processing and taxes for businesses of any size. Although they also offer packages for hiring, HR, and employee self-service, their comprehensive payroll plan is straightforward and easy to manage. If you’re looking for no-frills payroll services for small business, IOIPay might fit the bill.
Which do you prefer for payroll: calling, faxing, emailing, or online submissions? No matter what your answer is, CBIZ’s Flex-Pay Payroll Services can help. Their dedication to customer service is a particular value of CBIZ, so whether you need a one-size-fits-all payroll solution or a lot of guidance to help you along, consider this service.
Client Solutions Group’s payroll processing system is an online solution to all your payroll problems, from the basics (previewing and processing payroll) to the advanced (earning and deductions codes, local check printing, and industry-specific customizations). Also, CSG encrypts their data and backs it up with dedicated disaster recovery plans.
OnPay is a straightforward payroll planning, reviewing, and submitting tool (plus tax filings and payments). With unlimited payroll processing, an intuitive and mobile program, and a transparent monthly pricing scale, you can’t go wrong with OnPay for your basic payroll needs.
“When it comes to payroll, you want it done fast, and you want it done right.” That’s the Optimum promise, and it includes tax filing and direct deposits, PTO tracking, form preparation and mailing, and a dedicated site for employee review.
With PaySmart, you can process payroll on a recurring schedule—from weekly to annually, depending on your needs. Whether you’re looking for direct deposit, tax filings, employee benefits, or workers’ compensation, this is one of those no-nonsense payroll services for small business.
Premier Payroll Services will help with direct deposit, printing and delivering payroll checks, quarterly tax returns, W-2 filing, new-hire reporting, and more. Their software is made by Pay Choice, one of the fastest growing private companies in the United States.
If you’re looking for a small business that helps small businesses, then Integrates Payroll Services is for you. As an independent, family-owned company, IPS can offer customized payroll reports and relationship-oriented service. Get the basics with a touch of familiarity here.
If you need it, Diamond Payroll does it (for payroll services for small business, at least). They’ll help with payroll checks, state and federal taxes, year-end tax forms, and other HR operations as well. And in fact, Diamond Payroll guarantees that small business owners won’t have to pay any payroll tax penalties ever again if they use the service—so if you’ve got a bad habit of paying late, check them out.
If you’re the type of entrepreneur who likes to manage on the go, Checkmate Payroll is a secure, trusted provider of payroll and HR services that caters to you. Whether you’re consolidating reports, setting up alerts, or calculating payroll, Checkmate Payroll makes it easy to deal with your small business’s employees. (Plus, they’ll help you with your year-end tax forms and reciprocity tax withholdings.)
DM Payroll Services has been helping businesses out since 1962, and they don’t plan on stopping anytime soon. They’ll assist with payroll management, taxes, reports, and compliance, but they also go the extra mile to help clients overcome their specific payroll- or human resources-related issues by offering custom packages and top-notch customer service. If you like the idea of accounting professionals having your back for your small business payroll, look into this payroll services for small business option for sure.
PayUSA’s payroll services can help you out whether you have 1 employee, or whether you have 1,000. It’s a flexible, adjustable partner that will help you process payroll, file payroll taxes, manage new hires, deal with workers’ compensation, and more.
Want a simple, online service that syncs with your accounting software? MyPayrollHR could be your solution, especially if you’re currently outgrowing your old, small-scale payroll system. You can set up your payroll system with custom schedules, deductions, and payment types, too. Plus, there’s a guarantee that you won’t pay any late payroll fees!
Want to make sure you’re payroll information is absolutely secure? Heartland Payroll offers industry-leading security protocols to keep your data safe, and caters to all types and sizes of businesses. Plus, they actually have an official Anti-Breach Warranty, so you can be sure you’re in protected hands. Whether you’re looking to make mobile payments or simply manage company payroll, Heartland Payroll is an option to pursue.
Payroll is just one part of managing your employees—and maybe you want solutions for those other parts, too.
If you’re into the idea of an all-in-one HR package, combining payroll services for small business with benefits, timetracking, compliance, and more, then this list can help you find the right one.
Here are the best payroll services for small business that offer all-in-one packages:
When it comes to the best payroll services for small business, it doesn’t get more tried-and-true than Intuit. With 3 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 famed accounting software, QuickBooks Online, you can’t go wrong with Intuit.
Depending on the plan you choose, you can pay a flat rate of anywhere from $20 to $80 per month, plus $2 per employee per month—but try the free 30 day trial out first to make sure it’s what you need.
A popular all-in-one payroll/HR/benefits system, Gusto (previously known as ZenPayroll) is a smooth and intuitive package that automates many of the boring, repetitive, and error-prone tasks that HR and payroll management often come with. From basic payroll to 401(k) and workers’ compensation, Gusto gives you everything in one—plus, it could integrate with the software you use for accounting, timetracking, and other human resources.
You can try a free demo of Gusto for one month, but afterwards it’s a flat rate of $39, plus $6 per employee per month. Pretty good for a comprehensive payroll service for small business!
If you’re on the hunt for the best payroll services for small business, you’ve probably come across TriNet before. It combines extensive payroll processing with benefits, compliance, and more, so you’ve got an all-in-one package that fulfills all of your employee needs—securely in the cloud. They offer different recommended solutions based on your industry, as well as your size. If you want help with everything HR-related, TriNet is a great reliable choice for your business.
Calling themselves “HR for humans,” Namely promises high-tech, forward-thinking HR solutions to classic problems. In addition to payroll, tax, compliance, and the usual set of tools, Namely also features a social news feed, organization charting, an employee database, workflow maps, calendars, and more—including a handy mobile app. If you need a bit of everything with a modern touch, check out Namely!
With the highest customer retention rate in the industry, Sage offers a number of packages specially tailored to businesses of different sizes. Whether you’re fewer than 10 employees and want Sage Essentials, or need Sage Payroll Full Service for the total white-glove service, they have affordable options for every situation.
Fuse Workforce Management rolls all your payroll, timetracking, and HR management features you need into one simple product. This helps your employees access all their relevant statistics in a single place, and it makes things easy for you, too. Fuse Workforce Management is cloud-based and offers customizable payroll reports, as well as streamlining complicated and confusing processes, like determining shift-based pay and regional tax laws.
Jumpstart: HR has one focus: making sure small businesses get all the human resources help they need to stay on their game. From payroll management to compliance, background checks, HR strategies, and everything in between, you can rely on Jumpstart: HR to take the pressure off your small business. Pricing depends on your business’s size—and especially young businesses can get human resources consulting, too.
Precision Payroll of America makes payroll processing and taxes easy—while also giving you some help in the HR department, too. Use their online tool to quickly search for employee withholding forms, insurance, and more state-by-state, as well as to check on your Affordable Care Act compliance.
Pro HR+ focuses on 6 areas for small businesses: HR administration, regulations and compliance, benefits, risk management, liability protection, and payroll management. If you’re just looking for a new payroll system, they may not be for you… But if you want to get a whole bunch of tricky tasks off your plate, then they’re worth considering!
Pro iPay, from ProData, is a web-based payroll service for small business that helps you process payroll, integrate HR data, and cleans up your to-do list. They work with small businesses and large corporations alike, so no matter your size, Pro iPay could be the right solution for you.
One of the 5,000 fastest growing privately-owned companies in the U.S., TelePayroll combines a tech-forward solutions with an experienced customer success team to meet all of your business’s payroll needs—no matter whether you’re 5, 50, or 500 employees strong. And with a 97% client retention rate, you can be sure they’re doing something right.
Advantage Payroll Services is geared more towards medium-sized businesses, so if you’re aiming to grow soon, this payroll service might be ideal. While they offer a whole set of products—from tax filing and workers’ compensation to new hire reporting—you’ll want to pay special attention to Instant Payroll. This Advantage Payroll Services feature lets you deal with payroll completely online, on your browser, instantly and securely.
Alliance Payroll Services focuses on a seamless, paperless payroll experience with AllPay. AllPay consolidates all of your employee management data and tasks into one integrated database, so you won’t have to enter in redundant information or deal with messy paperwork. It also can connect with other third-party apps through its API (or Application Protocol Interface), Whether you’re looking for timekeeping, new hire onboarding, human resource programs, benefits, or payroll processing, this is one of the best payroll services for small business options around.
Kelly & Associates Financial Services offers KELLY Payroll, an online service that combines payroll and benefits to employers and employees alike. This single point of entry makes accessing your payroll and benefit information extremely simple and convenient. So if you’re on the search for straightforward payroll services for small business without paying for extra HR solutions, try KELLY out.
The online payroll system offered by Coastal Human Resource Group makes payroll simple: they’ll handle direct deposit, but if you prefer checks, they’ll actually print and deliver them on time for your employee payment schedule. They also offer a wide range of HR-related programs, from employee benefits to compliance assistance and workers’ compensation insurance.
PayNorthwest customers can access PayLumina, which fits right in with the ranks of web-based payroll services for small business. It houses all of your payroll and HR information in a single database—and lets you set up different levels of permissions for employees to view sensitive information (or not).
AmCheck is another 100% cloud-based payroll solution for filing and reporting, with 24/7 live support and a whole suite of additional products to help you manage your employees. You can set up custom reports, sync AmCheck with your accounting software, and keep track of time and attendance.
Plus, AmCheck is rated between Amazon and Apple in terms of brand loyalty—which means its customers are generally very satisfied with their choice!
Looking for the best payroll service you can take on the go? APS, or Automatic Payroll Systems, could be the solution for you. Most payroll services for small business tend to be computer-oriented, but APS offers a cloud-based suite of payroll and HR services that you can access on your mobile device, too.
Newtek promises 20% savings when compared to ADP and PayChex, two other payroll services for small business. If you’re looking for a good deal, then definitely start here.
Apart from their pricing guarantee, Newtek offers small businesses the standard selection of payroll and HR tools, including nice-to-haves like 401(k) plans, online pay stubs, workers’ compensation, and more. They go above and beyond with payroll account review, though: their tax specialists review each one and deal with taxes at every level.
If you’re in need of a proven payroll and HR solution, then Harpers Payroll Services could be worth a look. They operate in all 50 states, offer direct deposit for any ACH-participating financial institution in the US, automatically issue company checks, assist with compliance and new hire reporting, and more. There’s no frills or flash: it’s a payroll service for small business that just works.
If you manage between 10 and 5,000 employees, Insperity could be the one of best payroll services for you. Whether you’re just interested in payroll and a few HR-related tools, or you want the whole suite of management technology, Insperity offers it. These extra features include organization planning, retirement benefits, expense management, and more.
A publically-traded company, JetPay offers payroll processing tools, as well as options for credit card processing and prepaid cards. Plus, their payroll package comes with a few human resource-oriented features, like job posting, applicant tracking, and review storage.
MMC is a true all-in-one payroll/HR package, tailoring its products to fit your specific business. Need help with payroll and taxes? Compliance? Vacation and timetracking policies? Benefits? Employee training? Risk management? Get a free quote to see what you’d need to shell out for one of the more comprehensive payroll services for small business (and any business)!
One fee, many tools: that’s what Oasis Outsourcing offers for your business’s human resources. Beyond the typical payroll features, Oasis Outsourcing also brings in specialized experts at workers’ compensation, training, performance reviews, hiring, and more to consult with you and make the best HR plan possible.
ADP, or Automatic Data Processing, offers payroll software to all businesses, whether you’ve got just a handful of employees or are a multinational corporation.
In terms of payroll services for small business, you can sign up right now and get two months for free. With ADP’s small business package, you receive payroll and tax filing software, time and attendance tracking, benefits planning, insurance services, and more. While you might find the price tag a little large, especially compared to some competitors on here, ADP is a powerful tool for any entrepreneur looking for a bit more organization in their lives.
With Alpha Payroll, you can review your employees’ payroll information, benefits enrollment, and more any time you want—since it’s a cloud-based small business payroll service. Plus, they also offer instant quotes for payment and transaction processing, as well as HR resources and other associated services.
As a small business owner, it feels good to use tools made by people who really understand your particular struggles. Running a small business isn’t like anything else—so why should you use the same payroll services for small business?
If you want a solution that’s custom-fit for small business, check this list out of the best payroll services just for small business:
Owned by PayChex, SurePayroll is available for desktop or mobile, letting you adjust your small business’s payroll processing 24/7. It’s specifically oriented on small business by offering flexible payroll schedules, easy online reporting, a payroll tax guarantee, and options for contract hires. (It also has special options for nannies and households, so if those apply to you, check it out!)
Although Paychex includes payroll services for any business, their small business product—Paychex Flex—is definitely worth writing home about. If you have 1 to 49 employees, it’s a great solution for payroll and taxes, business insurance, 401(k)s, and HR management. Paychex is a cloud-based, mobile-friendly service that comes with a high-quality support team, available 24/7, to help you out with any complex questions or issues.
If you’re looking for a fast, easy, intuitive, and tech-friendly solution to payroll processing for a business with hourly employees, it’s hard to beat Square Payroll. Your hourly employees can clock in and out from the Square app, wherever they are, and taxes are taken care of for you. All in, Square Payroll will run you $25 per month, plus $5 per employee—not too shabby.
At the moment, it’s only available in California, New York, Florida, Arizona, Georgia, Nevada, Illinois, Texas, Tennessee, South Dakota, New Hampshire, and Alaska.
“Payroll designed for small business” is Wave’s motto, and it shows. With a base monthly fee of $15 and a sliding scale of monthly costs for employees—either at $2 or $4, depending on how many employees you’re covering—you get a whole host of features.
You can expect year-end filing, tax liability tracking, paystubs and W-2s available on an employee portal, and backups and encryption, all on top of the usual selection of direct deposit and check printing. Plus, this payroll service for small business integrates with the rest of Wave as well, so you can keep your payroll in the same place as your accounting.
Whether you want to use direct deposit or print your own checks to pay your employees, BenefitMall has you covered. This best payroll service covers businesses of all size, but they offer PayFocus—a payroll-and-HR combination package—to small businesses in particular. They’re a well-established payroll services company with a long track record, so if you’re looking to try something proven out, BenefitMall could be your choice.
Whether you’re managing payroll on your desktop computer or mobile phone, Paycor lets you make direct deposits, edit employee information, make quick calculations, and receive notifications. They also have special packages for businesses between 1 and 20 employees, 21 and 75, and 76 and above and offer a very informative HR blog!
This especially small business-oriented payroll service has a completely online experience, transparent monthly pricing, pre-printed checks for customers, free setup and support, and a free 30-day trial. Patriot Software’s focus is on simplicity and usability—no need to waste time learning a complicated program just to manage a few employees (although they service businesses with up to 100).
The best payroll services for small business should work different (and cost different!) from payroll services for mid-size and large businesses, right?
That’s what OperationsInc believes, which is why they offer different payment structures depending on the size of your business. Whether you need a long-term payroll solution for your day-to-day operations or you’ve bumped into a payroll or tax emergency, OperationsInc essentially wants you to view them as your outsourced HR department.
Here’s the good news:
Many of the best payroll services for small business offer free trials or free quotes, making it easy to compare their features and see which holds the best value for your specific needs.
So try out the packages that sound like the right fit, see what systems you and your employees are most comfortable with, and check the pricing to understand what you can afford!
Using one of the best payroll services for small business will free up your time and energy, so you can focus on what’s more important: growing your business.