Gusto vs. ADP: Compare Core HRMS Capabilities and More

Note: ADP sells a variety of payroll and HR solutions targeted to company sizes: ADP RUN (for small businesses), ADP Workforce Now (for mid-sized and large businesses) and ADP Vantage (for large, multinational U.S.-based companies). This comparison post will focus on ADP RUN.

Gusto and ADP RUN are cloud-based payroll and HR software solutions that are geared toward businesses with fewer than 50 employees. They both have streamlined features so business owners can focus on growing their companies. Here, we compare Gusto and ADP RUN on several factors.

What is the Difference Between Gusto and ADP RUN?

  • Gusto’s pricing is displayed up front, while ADP RUN requires a custom quote.
  • Gusto has basic applicant tracking functionality, while ADP RUN natively integrates with ZipRecruiter.
  • Time tracking is a standard feature in Gusto, while ADP RUN requires an optional integration with ADP’s dedicated timekeeping solution.
  • Scheduling functionality isn’t offered with Gusto, but ADP’s timekeeping software has built-in scheduling features.

Product Overviews

The following excerpts from our Gusto and ADP RUN reviews summarize each software:


Gusto is an online core payroll system that also includes benefits management and compliance. It provides unique benefits for small businesses, such as:

  • Accessible from any device, including mobile devices
  • Ability to set up payroll automatically via Payroll on AutoPilot feature
  • Ability to handle tax filings and payments so businesses don’t need to worry about being compliant
  • Employee self-onboarding (can fill out payroll and benefits forms online themselves)
  • No manual data entry, as data from each platform are synced together
  • Supports payroll in all 50 states


ADP RUN is a web-based payroll and HRMS solution specifically designed for small businesses with fewer than 50 employees. It has an intuitive interface with streamlined features so small business owners can focus on critical aspects of running an organization.

Users can run payroll quickly from any device. ADP’s automatic tax features help owners keep on top of federal and state regulations so they’re in compliance. RUN also includes a mobile app for accessing features outside the office.

Features Comparisons

Payroll & Tax


Administrators can process unlimited payroll runs in a few clicks by adding in employees’ time worked, any bonuses or additional earnings or time-off hours, and then previewing the numbers for any inaccuracies. Gusto automatically calculates, files and pays federal, state and local payroll taxes, and it also stays on top of changing tax laws and automatically makes tax changes. Another feature, Autopilot, automatically processes payroll a day before the pay deadline. Additional features include the ability to change payroll frequency, off-cycle payroll, direct deposit, check printing and garnishments.


ADP RUN has a four-step processing for running payroll. As employee hours are automatically pulled from the ADP Timekeeping Plus Scheduling solution, administrators can review time worked for the current pay period. They’ll then make necessary edits (e.g., changing rate, hours or bonuses), preview all of the data and approve payroll. Additional features include federal and state tax filing, direct deposit, check printing, garnishments and the prepaid Wisely debit card.

Bottom Line

Both software solutions offer similar robust payroll features. However, Gusto’s state unemployment insurance management feature is available in all of its pricing plans, while it’s not included in ADP RUN’s Essential Payroll tier.



Gusto offers a variety of standard and optional benefits administration features, such as group health insurance, healthcare reimbursement, 401(k)/retirement accounts, workers’ compensation and 529 college saving plans. One unique feature is the Gusto Wallet app that lets employees track their spending. Users can set saving goals, see their transactions and even split their paychecks into different accounts. Gusto Wallet also comes with a debit card, and employees can even access money between paychecks in an emergency with the Cashout feature.

Gusto also supports flexible spending accounts (FSAs) and commuter benefits, and the vendor can help with open enrollment or renewals, including sending the required paperwork to the carriers on the company’s behalf.


ADP RUN has optional benefits administration features via an integration with ADP’s Business Insurance and Retirement Services programs. Employees can enroll in and track benefits plans via a web browser or a mobile app. Users can run analytics and benchmarking data to help them measure their benefits strategy.

ADP’s Business Insurance program has a variety of options, such as group health insurance, workers’ compensation, commercial auto insurance, property and casualty insurance, and a business owner’s policy. There’s also the Pay-by-Pay Premium Payment feature that automates workers’ insurance premium payments by calculating and collecting payments via ADP RUN and sending them to insurance carriers each pay period.

ADP’s Retirement Services has comprehensive plans (e.g., 401(k), 403(b), SIMPLE IRA), employee education programs and access to investment management advice.

Bottom Line

While both vendors have similar benefits offerings, ADP offers companies many different insurance options like commercial auto and property/casualty insurance, if necessary. Also, note that Gusto’s health insurance, disability insurance and commuter benefits are currently only supported in 38 states. Finally, the Gusto Wallet app lets employees manage their spending, while ADP doesn’t offer this at all.

Hiring & Onboarding


Gusto includes basic applicant tracking functionality, including creating and sending job posts, collecting resumes and tracking candidate status. It has a custom offer letter template that users can set up and save for the future. The software also has onboarding features that let users send paperwork electronically to new hires for their completion and signature. Users can refer to the onboarding checklist for preparations for a new hire’s first day. The checklists include suggested tasks, but users can add in their own tasks, too. Finally, Gusto also has new-hire reporting, so companies can stay in compliance with federal and state tax guidelines.


ADP RUN has built-in integration with ZipRecruiter, where recruiters can post job ads to many job boards and sites and manage their candidate pipelines. In addition, the software has background checks and new-hire onboarding features, including the ability to report new hires to the federal and state regulatory agencies.

Bottom Line

Gusto has recently added basic applicant tracking features but still has strong onboarding functionality, while ADP RUN has native integration with ZipRecruiter. Note that Gusto can integrate with a third-party applicant tracking system.

Time and Attendance


Employees can track their time via their Gusto account or mobile app, and their manager can approve it before payroll processing. In addition, they can see their vacation and sick leave balance in Gusto and send time-off requests for approval. Companies can create their own paid time off policies, as well as organize time-off reports by date, department or employee. Additional features include custom holiday pay, syncing with iCal, Outlook and Google calendars, project tracking, job costing and integration with accounting solutions (e.g., Xero, QuickBooks). Note that Gusto also integrates with third-party time-tracking software.


ADP RUN can optionally integrate with the ADP Timekeeping Plus Scheduling software. The ADP Timekeeping Plus Scheduling software includes a team dashboard where managers can see employee schedules, absences, hours worked, time-off requests and timecard statuses in one place. Employees can clock in and out via a computer, a mobile device or a time clock, and they can also use the biometric scanning or badge reading features within the ADP Time Kiosk. The software automatically calculates employee hours and sends them to payroll, so managers would only need to manage any exceptions (e.g., missed punches). Managers can also schedule shifts based on availability or skills, and employees can use the mobile app to see their schedules, request coverage or swap shifts with their co-workers.

Bottom Line

Time-tracking features are standard in Gusto’s Plus and Premium plans, while they’re optional for all ADP RUN pricing tiers. Also, Gusto doesn’t offer scheduling functionality, while ADP’s timekeeping solution does.

Download Vendor Comparison Guide



Gusto has three pricing tiers.

  • Simple – The Simple plan has a base rate of $40 per month, plus $6 per employee, per month. It includes full-service payroll in all 50 states, employee self-service, two-day and four-day direct deposit, basic hiring and onboarding, integration with third-party software, health insurance administration, employee financial benefits (e.g., Gusto Wallet), payroll and time off reports, custom admin permissions and full support (e.g., 24/7 help center, phone, email or chat support, access to extended live support).
  • Plus – The Plus plan has a base rate of $80 per month, plus $12 per employee, per month. It adds on multi-state payroll, next-day direct deposit, advanced hiring and onboarding, PTO management and policies, time tracking and project tracking, workforce costing and reports, team management tools, performance management and employees surveys and insights.
  • Premium – The Premium plan is intended for larger teams that want advanced features and services. Additional features include an HR resource center, advice from certified HR experts, compliance alerts, personalized priority support (e.g., access to a dedicated customer success manager, direct phone and email with expedited responses), full-service payroll migration, integration with an existing health insurance broker and R&D tax credits and discounts. Prospects are encouraged to contact Gusto for pricing.

For companies with contractors or freelancers, the Contractor plan costs $35 per month (although that is free for the first six months) plus $6 per contractor and includes unlimited contractor payments, contractor self-service and 1099 form creation and filings.


ADP RUN has four pricing tiers.

Essential Payroll – The Essential Payroll tier targets companies that only need basic payroll and HR functionality. It includes direct deposit, check printing, the Wisely direct debit card, reporting, a general ledger interface, tax filing, W2 and 1099 forms, employee self-service, new hire onboarding multi-jurisdiction payroll, background checks, employee discounts and marketing services with Google Ads.

Enhanced Payroll – This tier gives companies additional payroll features, including check signing and stuffing, state unemployment insurance management, labor law poster compliance, paycheck garnishment services and integration with ZipRecruiter.

Complete Payroll & HR Plus – This tier adds on an employee handbook wizard, HR HelpDesk (phone and email support from ADP’s staff), salary benchmarks, an HR forms library, HR tracking and HR training and toolkits.

HR Pro – HR Pro has even more advanced features, including enhanced HR HelpDesk and employee handbook support, employer and employee training courses, sexual harassment prevention training programs, an applicant tracking system and a learning management system.

ADP has a limited-time offer where the first three months of the RUN subscription are free. The company doesn’t publicly release its pricing information, so contact it directly for a quote.

Bottom Line

Both Gusto and ADP RUN have pricing tiers that companies can enroll in based on the features they need. However, Gusto lists its pricing up front, while ADP prefers to provide prospects a custom quote. Also, neither vendor has a free trial. But Gusto users won’t need to make their first payment until they run their first payroll, and ADP RUN is free for the first three months. Finally, Gusto has a Contractor plan, while ADP has a separate solution, WorkMarket, for contractor payment and management.

Customer Support


Users can browse articles on the online Help Center and contact support by phone, email or chat. The Premium plan provides priority support via a dedicated team and a direct phone line.

In addition, Gusto works directly with the IRS on the company’s behalf if there are any payroll tax problems or other issues.


ADP offers different support sites for employees and client administrators. The employee support site has several resources, including answers to common questions, guides on troubleshooting year-end form issues, and phone numbers and links for issues related to payroll or benefits. The client administrator support site has similar content, but it specifically targets administrative issues.

Depending on the pricing tier, ADP’s expert staff provides support on benefits administration and payroll (e.g., contacting the IRS on the client’s behalf), HR resources to clients’ employees and consultations on HR strategy or day-to-day issues.

Bottom Line

Gusto and ADP RUN provide customers with similar support, including offering HR expert help and resources in their highest pricing tiers. Also, they both have chat and phone support. However, Gusto also has email support, while ADP doesn’t. Finally, Gusto’s support team is available for email, phone and chat Monday through Friday (6 a.m. to 5 p.m PST), while ADP has 24/7 phone support.

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