Gusto: A Powerful Payroll Solution For Small Businesses


As a robust, easy-to-learn online payroll processing solution with added benefits and compliance management features, Gusto has received plenty of rave reviews recently. Users are heaping praise on the platform’s simple user interface, automation qualities, and strong reporting system. As well many are also impressed by its multi-state payroll capability. Gusto is a simple and powerful payroll solution for small businesses. It's important that you find ways to efficiently manage your business finances and key areas like payroll.

If you’re on the search for a new payroll processing solution, this review should help you decide whether Gusto is a good solution for your small business.

What is Gusto?

Gusto is a payroll solution for small businesses. Founded in 2012, Gusto, formerly known as ZenPayroll, is a modern online payroll system that distinguishes itself by providing a smart set of commonly used payroll tools for small businesses.

The platform re-launched as Gusto in 2018, improving both the user interface and core features while introducing an affordable three-tier payment system.

Key Gusto Payroll Features

As mentioned, Gusto is a payroll processing system as well as a compliance and benefits management tool. The key payroll features include;

Employee onboarding

The onboarding process on Gusto is one of its strongest features. After you’ve entered an employee’s basic details, including name and address, Gusto will email the employee and allow them to complete the rest of the onboarding process on their own. The onboarding process will include the job offer, and any other forms you select such as W-4s and I-9s.

Process tax forms

Gusto processes all small business tax forms and remittances, including Form 941, Form 940, and Form W-2, as well as 1099s for contract employees. It can also process state and local taxes for all employees.

Handle pre-tax benefits

Some of the key benefits that you can process with Gusto include medical, dental, vision, Health FSA, Dependent Care FSA, 401k, Health Savings Account, and Commuter benefits. The platform also administers 529 college savings as well as life and disability insurance.

Autopilot payroll

Autopilot payroll runs the payroll process automatically without any action on your part. It’s an especially helpful tool if you’re running late.  However, you cannot pay contractors with Autopilot Payroll, only permanent employees.

Digital pay stubs

Gusto’s digital pay stubs offer a wealth of information. Ranging from gross earnings to total taxes and even benefits and deductions. Employees will receive an email when the latest pay stub is available and can view and download their pay stubs at any time.


Gusto also allows you to generate and print/export reports. Report options include year-to-date employee earnings, employee summaries, employee benefits, time-off balances, and contractors. Reports can be customized by year and grouped by state, work location, and employee name.

Accounts integration

Finally, Gusto integrates with multiple small business accounting software, including QuickBooks, Xero, and FreshBooks. Additionally, it also integrates with time-tracking software such as HomeBase, When I Work, and TSheets.

Pros & Cons


  • Incredible automation
  • Export files as CSV
  • Flexible payroll schedules
  • New hire reporting
  • Separate payroll for contractors
  • One month free trial


  • Limited to four pre-scheduled payrolls
  • Only works on web, cloud, SaaS; no mobile apps available currently
  • No weekend support


Once the month-long free trial ends, users pick from three premium payment plans, i.e., Core, Complete, and Concierge. The plans are currently priced as follows;

  • Core: $39/month plus $6/month/employee (special COVID-19 pricing at $19/month for 6 months)
  • Complete: $39/month plus $12/month/employee
  • Concierge: $149/month plus $12/month/employee

The Core plan gives you access to all basic payroll features. As well as employee self-serve, health insurance administration, and worker’s comp administration. The Complete plan adds several features to the Core plan, including product permissions, employee onboarding, and employee directory. The Concierge plan, however, is the best and most comprehensive option; working as a virtual HR department.


Gusto offers customer support in the form of live online chats, webinars, documentation, and an FAQ section. Phone support is also available Monday through Friday 6 am - 5 pm PT.


Competition in the payroll processing software market is stiff. However, Gusto stands out due to its robust features and excellent support. If you are looking for a simple yet comprehensive payroll solution for small businesses, you should try Gusto.


Looking for help? Tired and believing there has got to be a better way?

Let’s talk about your business. With over a decade of experience leading companies and transforming lives, and a Master’s degree in Org. Development and Leadership, Mike can help you find the best way forward!

Contact Mike today to start the breakthrough!

Mike Gingerich life leadership business coaching

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