While it may sound simple to run payroll, business owners know it can be an extremely complex task that must take place every month. Payroll involves more than just cutting checks to employees, you need to worry about both state tax and federal taxes, retirement, health benefits, and possibly even issues like garnished wages.

Gusto is a payroll software and human resources platform aimed at helping startups and small businesses manage payroll effectively and easily. Businesses can start with basic payroll functionality and add more services, like benefits and retirement, as they scale and use the tool. Read on to understand if Gusto might be the right tool for your company.

What is Gusto?

Gusto is a human resources tool primarily focusing on payroll and related tasks. The software includes all basic payroll functionality in an easy-to-use platform, including tax compliance, benefit management, and employee onboarding. Gusto was designed to work for small businesses and startups that may not have a large accounting staff, a background in bookkeeping, or time to focus on the details.

By providing a range of options for integration and automation, Gusto aims to fit seamlessly into any human resources department with little pain. Gusto customers can choose a base plan or add on more features, from time tracking to white-glove implementation treatment.

Along with simple administrative abilities, Gusto is also an employee-facing tool that allows for self-management in a portal and even an app to manage personal finances in alignment with Gusto.

Check out our roundup of the Best Payroll Services for Small Business

Who is Gusto best for?

Designed with small businesses and startups in mind, Gusto is beloved by companies of all sizes and industries. The extensive features combined with the intuitive platform make it a great choice for companies who may need to file payroll taxes in various states and local areas or have other complexities but do not have a lot of experienced accounting staff. New businesses, especially tech industry businesses, often choose Gusto because of its streamlined software and portal.

Gusto is also recommended for companies that only pay independent contractors, as they have a specific plan for those companies. While the software is not the cheapest on the market, costs can be tailored to the company size, making it a good middle-ground payroll solution.

Companies that may need round-the-clock support and have many global operations may not be the best fit for Gusto. Their customer support is limited to business hours in Mountain Time, and no live help is available outside of these windows.


  • Unlimited payroll volume
  • Options for independent contractor-only companies
  • Can upgrade, downgrade, or cancel at any time
  • Lifetime employee portal access
  • Many options for integration with third-party apps


  • Not all states support health insurance benefits management
  • There is no mobile application available
  • Same-day deposit is not an option

Gusto features

Automated payroll

To make it easier to run payroll and benefits, Gusto has many options for streamlining the process. There is no additional cost to make payroll runs happen automatically, with reminders sent out to administrators the day before payday. Gusto will also calculate, file, and pay your taxes automatically and report new employees to the government.

User-friendly employee portal

Though Gusto is not available as a mobile application for administrators, the web-based employee portal is top-notch, and employees can use the Gusto Wallet app. Employees have many options for self-service, including completing new hire paperwork, choosing benefits, and accessing their own employee records.

There is also lifetime access to the portal so long as an email is associated with the account. If an employee leaves their company or the company stops using Gusto, access to pay stubs persists.

Extensive integrations

Any Gusto customer can integrate the tool with various third-party apps for accounting, time tracking, expense management, point-of-sale, and human resources management. Popular integrations include QuickBooks, FreshBooks, and Xero. This ability to sync data frees up time for administrators and ensures that there are no errors during reporting.

Gusto pricing

There are three plans that a company can choose from when they sign up for Gusto to manage their employee payroll, as well as an option for contractor-only payment. No matter the plan, customers can switch between plans any time they like to choose the services more appropriate for them.


Simple is the most basic plan available and costs $40 per month plus $6 per employee per month. This includes full-service payroll for a single state, health, and financial benefits administration, basic hiring and onboarding tools, limited customer support, and custom admin permissions.


Plus includes everything in the Simple offering, plus multi-state payroll options, next-day direct deposit, custom onboarding templates and org charts, PTO management, and time tracking. This plan has an $80 monthly base rate, plus $12 per employee per month.


Customers who want additional features can move to the Premium tier, which is priced individually based on business size and includes at least everything in the Plus plan. This includes dedicated customer support and access to HR experts, performance reviews, automated compliance alerts, and a white-glove payroll migration and Gusto account setup.

There is also a plan available for contractor-only users, which costs $35 per month along with $6 per month per contractor.

Gusto customer support

All membership levels include some level of support, which is available by phone, chat, and email. Gusto prides itself on using United States-based representatives to provide live support during business hours. However, there is no support available during weekends. Support hours are Monday through Friday from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. MT.

Some support is also only available to those with higher membership levels. Priority payroll and HR support are considered add-on features and not available to those on the Simple plan. These users will be able to skip the queue when they call but do not have additional support hours available.

Gusto does provide an extensive online help desk, including checklists and step-by-step guides for users, and an HR resource center.


How does Gusto payroll work?

Gusto’s payroll system is an all-in-one platform that can be accessed through an online browser. Once customers select their plan and features, they can automate payroll and HR tasks through the software, including integrations with many third party platforms.

Is Gusto a good payroll company?

Gusto is one of the most popular names in payroll software, especially for small businesses. It has a good reputation for strong features that are easy to use, with a transparent and reasonable fee structure.

What is the difference between Gusto and ADP?

ADP is a large software company that spans all areas of human resources, including payroll. ADP RUN has a similar market to Gusto, but the tool is integrated with all of ADP’s offerings. ADP is more expensive and has less transparent pricing, while Gusto is a more modernized payroll provider and does not have the same large company structure.

How much monthly is Gusto?

Gusto’s cost is based on the number of services chosen, the type of employees, and the number of employees. Each month there is a base charge that starts at $40 and can go up based on the package, as well as a per-employee price that starts at $6 per month.

Can Gusto be used for any job?

Gusto is available to any business, but certain states may have limited benefit options through the tool. There is no restriction by industry or job title, though.

What are the benefits of Gusto?

Gusto offers a full-service payroll tool that includes many HR administration services as well. Customers enjoy the intuitive interface, automated processing, and third-party integrations offered.