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What Payroll Provider is Best for Your Small Business

September 19, 2022

Many small businesses battle various payroll issues, including late payments, misclassifying employees, and processing incorrect details, to name a few. One reason is that most still use manual processing. Hence, you can battle these small challenges with the right small business payroll provider.

Up to 25% of small businesses still employ manual payroll processing because it’s more affordable. Payroll software can be expensive, and since these businesses don’t have a massive workforce, they don’t see the need to invest in software.

Nevertheless, there are affordable and uncomplicated payroll software solutions you can use as a small business. You simply have to choose the best ones.

You’ll find in this article the three best payroll providers for small businesses. Ultimately, you can decide which is the best option for your business.

Gusto: Best DIY Payroll Solution for Businesses Wanting to Offer Benefits

Gusto offers a payroll solution to help ensure hardworking teams always get paid. The platform was first launched as ZenPayroll in 2012 and currently boasts over 200,000 business customers.

The platform is easy to use with a straightforward interface. You can either set up a new business payroll with it or transfer your existing payroll from a different payroll software platform. It takes a few clicks to have your payroll system running on Gusto. Due to its customizability, it’s an ideal DIY solution.

As a small business, you can use Gusto for full-service payroll, employee benefits, and hiring and onboarding. For this, it’s a recommended small business payroll software solution for businesses that want to offer benefits. The software is also dependable for talent management, insights and reporting, and time and attendance management.

Gusto Top Features

Here are some of Gusto’s top features:

Full-service payroll

Gusto’s full-service payroll lets you run your business payroll in minutes. You get a central dashboard from where you can manage all the other features.

Notably, the full-service payroll supports paying employees’ salaries, compensation, taxes, and contractors. In particular, you can pay contractors in more than 80 countries across North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia.

Employee benefits

As mentioned earlier, Gusto is ideal as the best payroll provider for businesses wanting to offer benefits. You can efficiently compensate your workers with the employee benefits feature; without wasting time and resources.

The software provides licensed advisors to help develop the best benefits package for your small business. In addition, your workers can contact the Gusto support team for any inquiries.

Time and attendance management

Time management is crucial, especially for small businesses. With Gusto, you get simple time tracking tools for accurately monitoring working hours.

Your employees can easily update their work hours, and you can verify their hours with the geolocation option. Notably, all time and attendance management tools sync with the full-service payroll.

Hiring and onboarding

Gusto makes the hiring and onboarding process seamless. The software helps you find the best employees and provides support to enable them to start on a good note.

You can create public job posts and offers letters, custom onboarding checklists, and connect to different applicant tracking tools.

Talent management

Just as Gusto helps you hire and onboard the best talents, the software helps you retain them. You can do this by leveraging the available talent management tools, which are a life-saver for any HR manager.

You can set up effective feedback and guidance channels, and in the long run, you receive dependable performance reviews.


Integrations are among Gusto’s principal strengths. The software integrates with different third-party apps, including accounting, business operation, collaboration, and rewards and recognition apps, to name a few.

Some of the most popular integrations available on Gusto include Asana, Clover, Dropbox, Google Workspace, Salesforce, and GitHub.

Who/What is Gusto Best For?

The highlight of Gusto’s features is the employee benefits option. You don’t get such with many affordable payroll software solutions. As a result, Gusto is best for businesses wanting to offer employee benefits.

In particular, Gusto makes it easy for businesses to offer employees health and financial benefits. You can deploy the no-cost, low-cost, or premium benefit solution.

With the no-cost option, you can leverage the Gusto wallet app, paycheck splitter, cash accounts, renewals, and budgeting & insights. You can use these features without paying a dollar.

The smart full-service payroll solution also makes Gusto suitable for businesses that need a DIY solution. You can run payroll as much as you want at no extra charge, and you can use the Autopilot feature or issue Payroll manually with a few clicks.

Furthermore, you can count on Gusto if you must comply with strict tax laws. The software files your payroll taxes automatically with the right government agencies.

How to Get Started with Gusto?

You can try out Gusto with the free demo. The demo gives you access to all Gusto features but with mock data. If you’re satisfied with the demo, you can create a real account with a few clicks.

While signing up, Gusto lets you select your business size, with provisions for businesses with 0 – 2 employees. If you use a different payroll provider, the software will walk you through the steps to import your payroll. Otherwise, the software will redirect you to your admin panel, and you can begin organizing your payroll.

Gusto Special Offers

While Gusto is affordable; you can pay even lesser in some instances with special offers. You can get a free $100 VISA Gift Card after you run your first payroll. All you have to do to access this special offer is to sign up for Gusto via the offer link.

Afterward, complete your first payroll, and you’ll receive the Visa Gift Card. You can use your free $100 Visa Gift Card to purchase what you want online or in stores. The card is valid anywhere Visa debit cards are accepted.

2. Roll by ADP®: Simplest Payroll System for Smaller Businesses

Roll by ADP® is self-described as “the all-in-one payroll solution for small business owners.” Because of its focus on businesses of a particular size, it’s ideal as the best payroll provider for smaller businesses.

Roll by ADP® is available as a mobile app, and notably, it’s available in English and Spanish. With the app, you can run a payroll in less than a minute, and it works like chatting. You only need to complete a few tabs as instructed by the intelligent assistant, and that’s all.

The app handles taxes as well, eliminating the stress of manual filing and deposits. With proactive alerts, you can ensure you don’t miss any payment date or deadline with proactive alerts.

With all these, you can agree that Roll by ADP® is a relatively simple payroll solution. In addition, the software is affordable, which is natural since it’s exclusive to smaller businesses.

Roll by ADP® Top Features

Here are some of Roll by ADP®’s top features:

Payroll and taxes management.

“Run Payroll” is all you need to enter in the Roll by ADP® app to run a payroll. You can seamlessly pay employees in all US states, including full-time, part-time, seasonal, or overtime.

You can always maintain updated paperwork with simple payroll reporting and automated tax statements.

Raises and bonuses

Over time, you’ll want to increase employee salaries and issue bonuses. Roll by ADP® lets you do this instantly or on schedule. It supports rapid raises, instant bonuses, off-cycle payments, and garnishments.

Furthermore, the app presents insightful details, so you can easily determine which employee needs a raise or a bonus. Typically, you only need to send the AI assistant a message.

Intelligent assistance

Every Roll by ADP® feature depends on intelligent assistance. In particular, the AI assistant makes it suitable as the best payroll provider for businesses that require the simplest solution.

The AI assistant will carry out any task to instruct, and you only need to chat with it. It delivers alerts and notifications, to-do task lists, and performs routine error checks on your payroll setup.

Employee self-service

Your employees can download and use the Roll by ADP® app to manage their payment profiles. With this, they can track their details to ensure it’s correct and get notifications immediately after you issue payroll.

Furthermore, they can monitor their taxes, raises, and benefits info. You’ll need to send your employees an invitation link for them to connect their profiles with your payroll setup.

Contractors’ payroll

Roll by ADP® doesn’t limit you to paying employees but also lets you pay contractors. Specifically, you can onboard and pay 1099 contractors. The payroll system separates W-2 employees from 1099 contractors, and you can manage both without stress.

Like the employee payroll, contractor payroll also supports off-cycle payments. However, it doesn’t support tax automation, which means contractors will file their taxes themselves.

Who/What is Roll by ADP® Best For?

If you can define Roll by ADP® in one word, it’ll be “simple.” Therefore, if you’re a small business that needs the simplest payroll system, you should opt for this software. Much of it is thanks to the AI assistant and because the solution is easily accessible as a mobile app.

The Roll AI assistant stays on top of all your payroll activities. You simply tell it what to do, and it does it. It’s like chatting with a friend; all you do is type in a message and hit send. Such a payroll system eliminates the complexities of working with a web or desktop application.

Interestingly, the AI assistant learns from your instructions. Over time, it will adapt and can recommend subsequent instructions. If there’s any error in your payroll setup, the AI assistant will also identify them and recommend fixes.

How to Get Started?

To begin with Roll by ADP®, you must download the mobile app. The app is available for Android and iOS devices, and you can download it from their respective app stores. Afterward, you can create an account.

You’ll need to provide details about your business, including your business name, banking account and routing numbers, and employee identification numbers. These details are necessary so that money gets to the right employee. Once you complete the registration, you can begin chatting with the AI assistant to run payrolls.

Roll is a premium payroll provider, although it’s highly affordable. The platform requires monthly subscriptions, so there are no long-term contracts.

Special Offers

As a first-time user; you can use the Roll by ADP® software free for three months before making a payment. After three months, you can enjoy special negotiated rates, beginning at $14 per month.

This special offer comes at no risks, and you can access all the Roll by ADP® features for the free three months. Sign up using this special link to get this free three-month and negotiated rates offer.

3. Run powered by ADP®: Best Full Payroll Solution for Employers With Growing Businesses

Run powered by ADP® is one of ADP’s flagship payroll systems. The solution targets small and midsized businesses. As a result, it’s the perfect payroll provider for growing businesses.

Run powered by ADP® has a streamlined and intuitive desktop admin interface. Managing your payroll setups will be quick and easy. In addition, the platform has a renowned mobile app for employees. All your workers, both local and international, can conveniently keep track of their pay, work hours, and more.

Aside from payroll, you can also use Run powered by ADP® to manage HR, time & attendance, insurance, worker’s compensation, and retirement. With all of these, the platform qualifies as a full payroll solution.

Run powered by ADP® Top Features

Here are some of Run powered by ADP®’s top features:

Fast and enhanced payroll.

Run powered by ADP® provides a personalized dashboard from which you can quickly run payrolls. You can run payrolls by simply following step-by-step instructions.

With the Run & Done feature, you can completely automate the payroll process, and Run powered by ADP® also features flexible payment options. Furthermore, you can depend on 24/7 support from certified payroll experts if you have any issues.

HR management

Run powered by ADP® comes with an intuitive HR management tool suite to help you grow your business. The suite centralizes all your employees’ records, making it easy to onboard and offboard employees.

Notably, you can seamlessly create resources to assist your workers. For instance, you can create an employee handbook or discount program. The HR management suite further includes other employee assistant services.

Tax compliance

Tax rules can be complex to follow for expanding businesses, but Run powered by ADP® makes it uncomplicated. The software will automatically calculate tax deductions and issue them to the right regulator.

Thanks to the AI-powered error detection feature, you’ll always identify and correct payroll mistakes on time.

Add-ons and integrations

Run powered by ADP® offers more functionality with its many integrations. You can connect the payroll solution with third-party HR, business, POS, insurance, time tracking, and retirement solutions. Notably, you can integrate with any app in the ADP® marketplace.

Run powered by ADP® offers more functionality with its many integrations. You can connect the payroll solution with third-party HR, business, POS, insurance, time tracking, and retirement solutions. Notably, you can integrate with any app in the ADP® marketplace.

Who/What is Run powered by ADP® Best For?

Run powered by ADP® is recommended as the best full payroll provider for employers with growing businesses. If your business is gradually progressing from small-sized to medium-sized, you should opt for ADP® Run. It’s a versatile solution that’ll work for you if you need more than the basic payroll tools.

In particular, you should use Run powered by ADP® if you conduct international business. The payroll system offers one of the best tax compliance services, ensuring you don’t have problems with international tax rules.

Furthermore, Run powered by ADP® also incorporates a suite of HR tools, which makes employee guidance and training more straightforward. As a growing business, you’ll have far more employees than a starting small business. Hence, you’ll need more advanced HR tools, which you get with ADP Run.

How To Get Started?

You can register for Run powered by ADP® via the web or the mobile app. The same applies to your employees. During the registration process, Run powered by ADP® will send you a temporary password. The password is exclusively for registration, and you must change it afterward.

If registering as an admin, you must choose the services you’re interested in. You can choose between payroll, HR, time & attendance, insurance, worker’s compensation, and retirement. Notably, you can choose multiple services.

Next, enter your company details, including name, number of employees, email, and address. The platform will recommend the best pricing option for your business from the details you provide. A representative will contact you to discuss an ideal solution in most cases.

Special Offers

Run powered by ADP® has different individual packages. Irrespective of what package you choose, you can get three months free with a special offer. The special offer is available if you sign up via this link. You’re eligible for the free three months special offer so long as it’s your first time using Run powered by ADP®.

Which of the Above Payroll Services is Best for Your Business?

Depending on your business needs, you can opt for any of the three best payroll providers listed above. You should use Gusto if you want to offer benefits, Roll by ADP® if you require the simplest solution, and Run powered by ADP® if you’re a growing business.

However, how can you be sure which is perfect for your small business? You can use the below payroll provider decision tree as a guide.

Payroll provider decision tree

The above decision tree is simple to follow. First, you pick the current size of your small business. Next, you answer the related questions with a yes or no. Ultimately, you’ll get a recommendation between Gusto, Roll by ADP®, and Run powered by ADP®.

Here’s an example: Suppose you’re a small business with 5 – 10 employees. In that case, you need to answer the questions, “Do you have several locations and/or employees outside the US?”

If your answer is yes, you should use Run powered by ADP®, which means you’re an employer with growing businesses. If your answer is no, you need to answer the subsequent questions until you get to the end of the tree.

Special Offers for Payroll Services

Here’s a rundown of the special offers you get from the small business payroll providers discussed in this article:


After completing your first payroll, you can get a free $100 Visa Gift Card when you use our link to get started here.

Roll by ADP®.

You can get three months free with special negotiated rates starting at $24 a month when you get started here.

Run powered by ADP®.

You get three months for free when you sign up here with our link.

Simply use the respective special links of the three payroll services to claim these offers.

Ultimately, a payroll solution will help you process calculations and deductions quicker, work out paychecks, reward employees with benefits and raises, and reduce the complexity of paying taxes. In simpler terms, it’ll make doing business more comfortable as a small business.

Bottom Line

With the review and payroll provider decision tree in this article, you should be able to pick the best payroll provider for your small business. With the special offers, you can earn and save money on subscriptions.

Looking for more?

Check out all our recommendations and specially negotiated deals, including our AH-MAZING offer for QuickBooks Online on our full Favorite Things List here!

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Learn all about me, Jamie Trull, and what I offer here on my website.

I'm Jamie — Profit Strategist and Financial Literacy Coach.

tell me more...

Reading suggestions

Affordable Tech

Profit First: My Love/Hate Relationship

Hobby Loss Rule - Side Hustlers Beware