Payroll and HR solutions are a godsend for busy companies, as they relieve a lot of administrative burden in managing a business.
Two of the most popular in the industry are Gusto and Justworks. Both simplify the whole payroll process and provide employers with plenty of HR tools for better management. However, each one uses a distinct approach from the other.
On one hand, Gusto has better integration with third-party software and employee benefits, not to mention that its pricing is more flexible in that it offers a contractor-only plan. On the other hand, Justworks has a more comprehensive HR suite, which doesn’t come as much of a surprise considering it’s a professional employee organization (PEO).
Gusto vs Justworks Comparison Chart
|Price||Check Price||Check Price|
|Payroll Tax Management||Yes||Yes|
|Health Insurance Coverage||37 states + D.C.||50 states|
|Wage Garnishment Services||Yes||Yes|
|Integrations||Over 180 third parties, including QuickBooks, FreshBooks and Xero||Over 20 third parties, including QuickBooks and Xero|
Gusto provides businesses of all sizes with cloud-based payroll and HR services with the scalability to meet diverse client needs. The platform offers a range of options, including a dedicated contractor-only plan to allow companies to optimize costs while still accessing essential features. Its comprehensive features encompass employee self-onboarding, efficient tax payments and filing and a slew of HR tools. Notably, it makes it easy to create and manage paid time off (PTO) policies and track PTO accrual.
Justworks is a leading PEO platform that offers comprehensive HR and payroll solutions for small, medium and growing businesses. It allows companies to outsource their HR functions, streamline payroll processing, access competitive benefits and ensure compliance. To put it briefly, the platform’s all-in-one approach simplifies HR management, making it an invaluable resource for businesses of different sizes.
In terms of payroll and tax filing services, Gusto and Justworks share a lot of similarities. Both include unlimited payroll runs (though Justworks doesn’t explicitly state this), and they handle local, federal and state tax filing, including all the related remittance, calculation and deduction.
However, Gusto offers next-day direct deposit, whereas Justworks requires four business days. Also, it’s the only one of the two that lets you pay workers via pay card, and the same goes for international payments in more than 120 countries (available as an add-on). That said, both can do PTO management, year-end tax reports, multi-state payrolls and multiple pay schedules, so Justworks isn’t exactly lagging behind. The two provide wage garnishment services as well, but in Gusto’s case, they’re not available in South Carolina.
While Gusto provides health, vision and dental insurance in 37 states and D.C., Justworks offers them in all 50 states. To state the obvious, the latter has better coverage, but there’s a pretty huge caveat: its insurance is available only in its more expensive plan.
The good news is that even Justworks’ basic plan includes life and disability insurance, health and wellness perks, gym memberships, workers’ comp and 401(k) retirement plans. In the same vein, Gusto also offers 401(k) plans and access to workers’ comp, and aside from those, it includes 529 college savings and commuter benefits.
Now when it comes to compliance, Justworks has the edge. First off, it offers online harassment prevention and inclusion training, and it’ll keep you updated with the ever-changing laws. Moreover, it’s certified by the Employer Services Assurance Corporation (ESAC). For the uninitiated, the ESAC is more or less the organization that set the standard for PEOs in the industry. In other words, Justworks has a solid reputation, adhering to financial, ethical and operational standards. All in all, it’s well equipped to help you with your compliance with federal and state laws.
On top of that, Justworks gives you access to HR experts to address any of your relevant concerns. Gusto offers this too, but it’s available only in its most advanced plan or as a paid add-on in its mid-tier subscription.
Gusto blows Justworks out of the water in integrations. Case in point, it’s compatible with more than 180 third-party software across 15 categories, including accounting, business operations, expense management, financial benefits, hiring and onboarding, legal and compliance, point of sale and tax preparation. Notably, it plays nicely with time tracking software such as 7Shifts and When I Work, as well as accounting apps like QuickBooks, FreshBooks and Xero.
Meanwhile, Justworks only has a few dozen integrations. In its defense, it does work with QuickBooks and Xero, which are arguably two of the most popular accounting software out there.
Pricing and Plans
Gusto’s entry-level plan Simple has a base fee of $40 plus $6 for every employee per month, making it a cost-effective option for small and mid-sized businesses. Its mid-tier Plus plan pretty much doubles the cost to $80 and $12 for each payee every month. Lastly, its top-of-the-line offering is the Premium plan, but interested customers will have to request a quote for it. As for add-ons, it has plenty. There’s the aforementioned international contractor payment option and the access to HR advisors and priority support for an additional $8 per month.
What sets it apart from others like it is its contractor-only plan. This can save some cash for businesses that mainly employ 1099 contractors instead of W-2 workers, as it only costs $35 plus $6 per payee per month. Also, it’s waiving the base fee for the first six months, at the time of writing.
In contrast, Justworks only has two plans available. Its Basic plan costs $59 a month per employee, but that price is reduced to $49 for the 50th employee onward. It’s a similar case with its Plus plan, where the price starts at $99 per month for the first 49 employees and drops to $89 for the 50th employee onward. It’s worth noting that this transparent pricing is unusual since most PEOs don’t explicitly say how much their services cost, which makes Justworks stand out from the pack.
Payroll and HR Software Benefits
Time and Cost Efficiency: Automation of payroll and HR processes saves time and reduces the need for manual calculations and paperwork. This frees up valuable resources, allowing employees to focus on strategic tasks and business growth.
Accuracy and Compliance: Payroll and HR software help ensure accurate calculations of wages, taxes and deductions, minimizing errors and reducing the risk of compliance issues. They keep up with changing regulations, automatically apply updates and generate necessary reports for tax filing and regulatory requirements.
Streamlined Employee Management: HR software centralize employee data, making it easy to track and manage employee information, such as personal details, employment history, benefits and time-off requests. This simplifies onboarding, performance management and maintaining accurate records.
Improved Employee Experience: Self-service portals offered by HR software empower employees to access their own information, request time off, view pay stubs and update personal details. This enhances employee satisfaction, engagement and transparency within the organization.
Benefits Administration: Many HR software solutions include features for managing employee benefits, such as health insurance, retirement plans and other perks. The software streamline enrollment, track eligibility and assist with administration, ensuring employees receive the benefits they are entitled to.
Enhanced Data Security: Payroll and HR software systems often have robust security measures in place to protect sensitive employee data. This includes data encryption, access controls and regular backups, safeguarding the privacy and security of employee information.
Reporting and Analytics: HR software provides powerful reporting and analytics capabilities, allowing businesses to gain insights into workforce trends, payroll costs, employee performance and other important metrics. This data-driven approach helps in making informed decisions and optimizing HR strategies.
Scalability and Adaptability: Payroll and HR software solutions are designed to accommodate business growth. They can handle the increasing complexities of payroll processing, benefits management and compliance as the company expands, guaranteeing scalability and adaptability to evolving needs.
Integration with Other Systems: Many payroll and HR software solutions offer integrations with accounting software, time tracking systems and other business applications. This seamless integration eliminates data duplication and improves efficiency across different departments.
Audit Trail and Documentation: Payroll and HR software systems provide an audit trail, recording all changes and updates made to employee data. This creates a comprehensive history and documentation of HR activities, which can be useful for audits, legal compliance and resolving disputes.
In summary, Gusto and Justworks can get the job done when it comes to payroll and HR services, but needless to say, there are a couple of key differences in how they handle things. At the risk of oversimplifying, Gusto is likely your better bet if you’re after comprehensive payroll features with noteworthy employee benefits and integrations. But if your business doesn’t have an in-house HR staff, then Justworks’ suite of HR tools will be the better fit. After all, it’s a PEO.