Gusto Pricing: Features, Costs and Top Payroll Solution Alternatives

Gusto is an online core payroll system that also includes benefits management and compliance. It’s a small business solution that integrates payroll, benefits, and workers’ compensation and compliance in one package. Gusto provides payroll, 401(k) and workers’ comp insurance nationwide.

Currently, health benefits are only available in 38 states and Washington D.C.: Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, and Wisconsin. However, Gusto’s benefits feature will be available in other states in the future.

We reviewed Gusto and have compared it to other business software in terms of features and other attributes. This post will focus on its pricing, as well as the pricing of alternative solutions.

How Much Is Gusto?

Gusto offers three pricing plans: Core ($6/month/person), Complete ($12/month/person), and Concierge ($12/person/month). Gusto’s plans also have a base rate of $39/month for Core and Complete and $149/month for Concierge.

Learn more about the three plans below:

  • Core -The Core plan costs $39 per month, plus $6 per employee, per month. It adds on full-service payroll in all 50 states, two-day direct deposit, employee self-service, workers compensation administration, paid time-off policies, employee onboarding tools, integration with accounting and time-tracking software, health insurance administration, Payroll on Autopilot, employee access to Gusto Wallet and employee offers and document management features and unlimited phone, email and chat support.
  • Complete – The Complete plan is $39 per month, plus $12 per employee, per month and adds next-day direct deposit, time-off requests, project tracking, customizable employee onboarding features, access permissions, an employee directory and an employee survey features.
  • Concierge – The Concierge plan costs $149 per month, plus $12 per employee, per month and adds an HR resource center, advice from certified HR experts and access to a dedicated support team.

There’s a Contractor plan for companies that want to pay their 1099 contractors. It costs $6 per contractor (no base price) and includes unlimited contractor payments, contractor self-service and 1099 form creation and filings.

Gusto offers a one-month free trial that starts after a company runs its first payroll. Gusto also offers additional options for employee benefits and insurance:

  • 401(k) retirement plans – 401(k) retirement plans have a $40 per month minimum, plus an $8 per participant per month charge, and a $500 set-up fee.
  • 529 college savings plan – This plan doesn’t have a set-up fee, but there’s an $18 a month minimum, plus $6 a month per participant.
  • Healthcare reimbursement – This service starts at $15 per employee, per month.

Top Alternatives to Gusto

Gusto offers pricing plans tailored to the exact needs of small to mid-sized businesses (SMBs) in a variety of industries. However, for companies that want to compare prices, we found two alternative payroll solutions for SMBs to consider.

Patriot Software: Patriot Software charges businesses monthly subscription fees that can be canceled without penalties. The fee structure is based on the number of employees a business runs payroll for in a given month.

  • Basic – The Basic option includes free setup and phone support, and the ability to print checks or use direct deposit. It costs $10 per month, plus $4 per employee.
  • Full Service – The Full Service option includes everything in the basic option and adds automatic tax filing, guaranteed on-time payments of federal, state and local taxes, and filing of W-2 and W-3 forms. It’s priced at $30 per month, plus $4 per employee.

Patriot Software offers optional add-on modules for core HR (starting at $6 a month) and time and  attendance (starting at $6 a month). Patriot also offers customers a 30-day free trial, after which companies pay the monthly subscription fees.

QuickBooks: Intuit’s QuickBooks Payroll (for Payroll only, not Payroll + QuickBooks ) offers tiers of service grouped by whether a company runs payroll online or integrated with QuickBooks desktop software.

There are three online pricing plans: Core, Premium and Elite:

  • Core – The Core plan costs $45 per month ($22.50 for the first three months), plus $4 per employee, per month. This plan includes full-service payroll, unlimited payroll runs, calculating paychecks and taxes, next-day direct deposit, employee self-service, health benefits, 401(k) plans, expert product support and availability in all 50 states.
  • Premium – The Premium version is $75 per month ($37.50 for the first three months), plus $8 per employee, per month. It adds same-day direct deposit, mobile time tracking, on-boarding expert review, workers compensation administration and a HR support center.
  • Elite – The Elite Plan costs $125 per month ($62.50 for the first three months), plus $10 per employee per month. This plan includes white-glove customized setup, mobile time and project tracking, 24/7 expert product support, tax penalty protection and support from a certified HR expert.

Intuit also offers two pricing plans for Payroll for Quickbooks Desktop:

  • Enhanced – The Enhanced plan costs $50 per month (20% discount for the first six months), plus $2 per employee, per month. It includes many features, such as direct deposit, the ability to pay W-2 and 1099 workers and payroll tax forms.
  • Assisted – The Assisted plan is $109 per month (40% discount for the first six months), plus $2 per employee, per payroll. It adds on 24/7 premium support, and a payroll expert sets up the software and files company taxes each year.


Gusto includes full tax support at a lower cost than Intuit QuickBooks Payroll and is competitively priced overall. It also offers convenient tools such as employee self-service, onboarding, and options for employee benefits and insurance.

Patriot Software is an affordable payroll system that lets companies customize the software by picking and choosing add-ons, such as core HR and time and attendance, to meet their needs.

Businesses can save money with Intuit QuickBooks Payroll’s Basic and Enhanced plans, however, the Basic plan doesn’t include tax forms.

Before purchasing a product, organizations should evaluate each tool to decide which best fits their needs.

If you’re entirely new to payroll software, take a look at our Payroll Software Definitive Guide. It offers a full overview of market trends, must-have features and common challenges to avoid.

Finally, if you’re looking for software alternatives, our detailed reviews is a good place to start.