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Gusto review

We take a closer look at this popular full-service payroll platform for small businesses.

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Gusto is a full-service payroll platform that helps small business owners pay their staff and manage a range of HR tasks.

In this guide, we'll take a closer look at the features, pricing, and pros and cons of Gusto to help you decide whether it's the right fit for your business.

About Gusto

Established in 2012 as ZenPayroll, Gusto is a payroll platform that serves more than 100,000 businesses throughout the United States. In addition to providing automated payroll services, Gusto can also help you onboard new employees, provide employee benefits and offer specialist HR support.

However, it's worth noting that Gusto does not offer international payroll services — it can only process payroll for employees in the US.

How does Gusto work?

Gusto is an online platform for payroll management and HR services. You can sign up for these services by visiting the Gusto homepage and clicking the "Get started" link.

This opens a wizard that walks you through the account creation process step by step. You'll need to provide details about your existing payroll arrangements, the type of workers you need to pay, and whether you want to offer health benefits to your team. You can then sign up for an account by providing your name, contact details and company information.

What features does Gusto offer?

Gusto offers the following features for small businesses:

  • Onboarding services. Gusto offers a range of tools to help you hire and onboard new staff. These include customised offer letters, onboarding checklists and setting up software accounts for new employees.
  • Payroll management. You can use Gusto to automate your payroll and file your US payroll taxes. Other features include storing employee forms online, payroll reports, and accounting integrations with providers like QuickBooks and Xero.
  • Gusto Cashout. This feature is incorporated into Gusto's payroll services and allows employees to access money between paydays to cover unexpected bills.
  • Employee benefits. After setting up payroll with Gusto, you can use the platform to manage health insurance benefits for your employees, including medical insurance and disability insurance.
  • Time tracking tools. The platform's time tracking tools allow you to automatically sync the hours your staff members work, leave days and holidays with your payroll.
  • HR services. If you sign up for a top-of-the-line Concierge plan, Gusto provides you with personalised HR support. This includes phone and email support, law alerts and guides on how to deal with key HR issues.
  • Workers' compensation. You can also use Gusto to set up workers' compensation cover for your staff.
  • 401(k) and college savings plans. Plans to help your workers save for their retirement or save for their kids' college education expenses are also available and can sync with Gusto payroll.

However, please note that the type and level of services you can access will vary depending on the plan you choose.

How much does Gusto cost?

Gusto offers a tiered pricing scheme. The cheapest is Gusto Contractor, which helps you pay your contractors for a price of US$6 per person each month.

After that there are four main account plans, as outlined below.

  • Basic. US$19 / month plus US$6 / month per person.
  • Core. US$39 / month plus US$6 / month per person.
  • Complete. US$39 / month plus US$12 / month per person.
  • Concierge. US$149 / month plus US$12 / month per person.

There's no free trial version available, but you can check out an interactive demo version of Gusto by providing your name, company information and contact details.

Pros and cons

Pros
  • No long-term contracts — pay by the month
  • Easy-to-use platform and intuitive user interface
  • Also helps you manage employee benefits and provides a range of HR services
  • Simple sign-up process
Cons
  • No international payroll — Gusto can only process payroll for employees in the US
  • Prices in USD
  • No free trial version available

Is Gusto right for me?

If you're looking for a service that offers international payroll, Gusto isn't for you. But if you need to pay employees in the USA, maintain tax compliance and manage things like employee benefits, it's certainly worth a closer look.

To get a better idea of how the platform works and the services on offer, it's a good idea to try out a demo version of Gusto online. This should help you decide whether you'd like to register for a paid subscription.

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Bottom line

Gusto offers an easy-to-use platform and plenty of useful features for small business owners. However, it does have a few key drawbacks, so make sure to compare it with a range of other payroll platforms before deciding whether it's right for your business.

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