Gusto Review

Gusto
Product:
Vendor:
Founded:
Headquarters:
Gusto
Gusto
2012
San Francisco, CA
Ownership:
Customers:
Deployment Model:
Free Trial:
Private
60,000
Cloud
Yes
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Gusto At A Glance

Good: Scalable subscription plans, ability to handle contractors and off-cycle payroll, employee self-onboarding.
Bad: Not intended for large businesses, benefit features only available in 23 states but plans to provide them to additional states is in the pipeline.
Bottom Line: Small business solution that integrates payroll, benefits, and workers' compensation and compliance in one package.

Product Overview

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

  • No need to use phones, fax or mail, as payroll is online
  • Accessible from any device, including mobile devices
  • Ability to set up payroll automatically via Payroll on AutoPilot feature
  • Handles 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

Gusto now offers three pricing plans: Core, Complete and Concierge. The specific pricing is in our Pricing section below, but here, we’ll list what features are offered under each plan:

  • Core – The Core plan includes all payroll features, employee self-service, employee profiles (such as electronically signing I-9 and W-4 forms), benefits, workers comp and unlimited phone, email and chat support.
  • Complete – The Complete plan adds onboarding, time-off requests, employee directory and employee surveys features.
  • Concierge – The Concierge plan adds an HR resource center, advice from certified HR experts and access to a dedicated support team for faster support.

Features

Gusto includes many features in payroll, benefits and compliance.

Payroll:

  • Automatically files and pays federal, state and local payroll taxes on behalf of the business, as well as reports any new hires to the government
  • Ability to select and change frequency of payroll
  • Ability to run payroll during the off cycle (e.g., bonuses or reimbursing employees)
  • Paying and generating 1099 forms to contractors
  • PDF reports on payroll history, bank transactions, tax payments and more
  • Ability to deduct charitable donations from employees’ paycheck at their request
  • Electronic signatures
  • Electronic paystubs (employers have the option to add personal notes to paystubs)
  • Ability to calculate net-to-gross payments
  • Integrates with other software, such as When I Work, Boomr, Xero or Quickbooks
  • Lifetime access to paystubs (employees can access paychecks and W-2s even after leaving the company)
  • Reminders of employees’ birthdays with tips on celebrating
  • Check printing, such as custom checks, blank checks and checks that include employee’s earning statement at top or bottom of the page

Compliance:

  • Apply for and pay workers’ compensation insurance
  • Instant workers’ compensation claim estimate with a final quote within two business days
  • Compliance checklist that’s regularly updated if new requirements set by federal, state or local agencies

Benefits:

  • Ability to work with Gusto’s brokers to select the best benefits plan
  • Employee self-enrollment in health insurance plans via individual Gusto accounts
  • Automatic deductions for health insurance and other benefits each time payroll is run
  • Compliance with HIPAA, ERISA and Affordable Care Act
  • Notification of open-enrollment reminders

We also want to mention Gusto’s security features. There is a two-factor authentication when logging in from mobile devices, as well as 256-bit SSL encryption. Gusto also checks current payroll against previous transactions for any unusual activity.

Gusto has also debuted some new features, such as:

  • Centralized online employee records
  • 401(k) feature for employees to enroll in retirement plans and update contributions
  • A “welcome wall” where employees can leave messages for  new hire prior to first day on the job

Another new feature is Flexible Play that allows employees to receive advanced funds on their paycheck when they need it. The way it works is that the employee choose the date they want to receive the money. Gusto then advances the funds to the employer, who pays the employee within the next business day. When the employer runs the next payroll, the advanced funds are deducted from the employee’s paycheck. This feature doesn’t affect the employer’s regular payroll cycle, but it benefits employees who will need the money sooner than the next pay day.

  • Benefits Management?
  • Direct Deposit?
  • Employee Self-Service?
  • Mobile Functionality?
  • Payroll Processing?
  • Reporting?
  • Tax Management?
  • Time & Attendance?

Target Market

Gusto serves over 60,000 small businesses in a wide variety of industries.

We’ve listed some of their customers below:

  • Bucketfeet
  • Commonwealth Joe
  • Demo Duck
  • Dijital Fix
  • Elevate Law and Strategy
  • FarmGirl Flowers
  • GreenLid
  • Loc Agency
  • Nicole Chan Photography
  • Tin Pot Creamery

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Implementation/Integration

Customers start with a one-month free trial of Gusto (after filling out an online form). Once the trial ends, their bank account is debited each month. Subscription is a on a month-to-month basis, and the cost can scale with the business (hiring or losing employees).

For companies switching from another software vendor, Gusto can import the old payroll data into its system.

Customer Service & Support

Gusto provides an online Help Center for users to browse through articles and FAQs on payroll, taxes and other topics. They can also leave a message via the Help button.

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

Pricing

As mentioned above, Gusto provides three pricing tiers.

  • Core – The Core plan has a base rate of $39 per month plus $6 a month per employee.
  • Complete – The Complete plan has a base rate of $39 per month plus $12 a month per employee.
  • Concierge – The Concierge plan has a base rate of $149 per month plus $12 a month per employee.

Gusto offers additional options for employee benefit and insurance.

  • 401(k) retirement plans – There is a $40 a month minimum to participate in this option, plus $8 per participant per month. There is a $500 set up fee.
  • 529 college savings plan – There’s no set up fee required, but there’s a $18 a month minimum, plus $6 a month per participant.
  • Pre-tax spending accounts – Gusto offers an annual $200 service charge that covers health spending accounts (HSA), flexible spending accounts (FSA) and commuter benefits. However, for companies that rather purchase each plan individually, HSA is $2.50 a month per participant, and FSA and commuter benefits each has a $20 a month minimum and $4 a month per participant.

Shortcomings

Gusto isn’t intended for large businesses. Also its benefit features is only available in 23 states and Washington D.C. (Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maryland, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, New Jersey, Nevada, New York, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Virginia and Washington), but plans to provide this feature to additional states is in the pipeline.

Screenshots

Gusto Screenshot 1
Gusto Screenshot 2
Gusto Screenshot 3

About

ZenPayroll was founded in 2012 by three men with a mission to “put people first.”

In September 2015, it rebranded itself as Gusto, and began offering payroll, compliance and benefits in one package.

Headquartered in San Francisco, Gusto opened a second office in Denver in mid-2015. It also has investors such as Google Capital, Dropbox, Instagram and Eventbrite, to name a few.

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