The top Gusto competitors and alternatives for 2023

Gusto is an all-in-one professional employer organization platform. Launched in 2012 as ZenPayroll, Gusto has evolved to serve more than 200,000 businesses nationwide. With a solid reputation and the technology to back it up, Gusto allows companies to run full-service payroll, employee benefits, time and attendance, hiring and onboarding, talent management, insights and reporting, and more.

The company leverages automation for most HR-related lifecycle processes to simplify management. Its interface and tools are simple, modern, accessible and easy to use. Driven by its strengths, Gusto has become one of the most popular PEO solutions in the market.

Figure A

Gusto Dashboard.
Gusto Dashboard. Image: Gusto.

Gusto also allows integrations, automatically files taxes, runs compliance reports and does rapid onboarding. The solution’s weaknesses include the lack of 24/7 live support, high focus on U.S. operations and costs, which include per-employee fees and can become expensive for enterprises scaling or with large teams.

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Top Gusto competitors and alternatives: Comparison table

Product Standard direct deposit International payroll Health benefits Tax filing and payment Pricing starts at
Gusto Two-day. Automated for default date payments. Yes. Yes, for 35 + U.S. states. Yes. $40 per month plus $6 per month per person.
Rippling Two-day. Automated for default date payments. Yes. Yes. All 50 U.S. states. Yes. $8 per month per employee.
Papaya Global Two-day. Automated for default date payments. Yes, with compliance and payroll support in 160 countries. Yes. Yes. $20 per month per employee.
Paychex Next day (same-day available with premium and elite plans). Yes. Yes. All 50 U.S. states. Yes. $35 per month plus $5 per month per employee.
Justworks Two-day. No. Only U.S. employees. Yes. All 50 U.S. states. Yes. $59 per month per employee.
OnPay Same-day. No. Only U.S. employees. Yes. All 50 U.S. states. Yes. $40 per month plus $6 per month per employee.

Top Gusto competitors

Companies looking for alternatives beyond Gusto have several excellent options to explore. Most top PEO companies offer the same basic features and capabilities to compete in the market. Differences will mostly be found in areas like customer support, platform focus, integrations versus built-in, automation and pricing.

Let’s dive into Gusto’s top alternatives and competition.

Rippling: Best overall Gusto competitor

The Rippling logo.
Image: Rippling

Rippling is the top competitor of Gusto. Both platforms are minimalistic and user-friendly despite having high levels of automation. With Rippling, users get not only the full scope of HR tools but IT support as well. Rippling assures they are the only PEO that integrates the work of HR, IT and finance teams in one central dashboard.

Rippling is designed for administrators to enter data only once. The system will then “ripple” the data across the platform to avoid HR teams doing manual, repetitive data entry tasks. The platform can also guide users through complex tax, onboarding and payroll execution with guided steps by steps. It offers all the same features that Gusto offers and adds some interesting HR resources to attract and retain talent.

Figure B

The Rippling dashboard.
Rippling Dashboard. Image: Rippling.

Rippling key features

  • Automated payroll management: Highly automated payroll run.
  • Support for U.S. and international contractors: Full-service for U.S. employees and global contractors.
  • HR, IT and finance: Combines HR, IT and finance all in one.

Use cases

  • Payroll: Provides features employee retention tax credit for savings opportunities. Supports multiple payment options for payroll processing, Pay-on-Demand (before payroll date) and 24/7 real-time payments. Has built-in safeguards and compliance support to meet tax laws and regulations.
  • Employee benefits: Enables employee benefits package, including 401(k) plans, HSAs and the financial wellness tool, FinFit, for a financial wellness program.
  • Time and attendance: Provides an industry-customizable cloud-based time and attendance technology.
  • Hiring and onboarding: Supports HR with professional guidance from experts and HR solutions to attract and retain talent. Provides communication channels for workers.
  • Skill and resources: Offers employee development programs and online courses for training.
  • Customer support: All plans include 24/7 multi-channel support.

Feature graph

Features Rippling Gusto
Promotional offer No free trial. Demo with limited capabilities available. 30-day free trial.
Mobile app Yes. Yes.
24/7 customer support Yes. No.
Direct deposit Yes. Yes.
IT support Yes. No.
Global payroll Yes. Yes.
Health insurance benefits Yes. Available in all 50 U.S. states. Yes. Only available in 35+ U.S. states.

Papaya Global: Best for global workforce management

The Papaya Global logo.
Image: Papaya Global

Papaya Global is a global payroll and workforce management platform that specializes in managing HR for international companies that have teams and workers across the globe. The platform offers a comprehensive suite of payroll, taxes, benefits, compliance and other features.

Papaya Global interface is also centralized and requires no advanced technical skills to be managed. The platform offers excellent visibility and automation but is one of the most expensive PEO options in the market. However, with Papaya Global, enterprises can navigate the complex tasks of complying with national laws in more than 160 countries.

Figure C

Papaya Dashboard.
Papaya Dashboard. Image: Papaya Global.

Papaya Global plans are designed for specific functions. The Automate Global Payroll plan starts at $20 per month per employee. Companies can also purchase the Hire Fearlessly plan, which starts at $770 per month per employee, or the Contractor Management for $25 per month per contractor. Finally, the Payroll Intelligence Suite starts at $250 per month.

Key features of Papaya Global

  • Global workforce management: The platform is optimized for international operations and managing talent while complying with local regulations in over 160 countries.
  • Security: Provides advanced cloud data security.
  • Customer support: 9 am to 5 pm ET.

Use cases

  • Payroll: Global automated payroll management. Supports all worker types. Offers over 60 currencies and payments delivered within 72 hours.
  • Employee benefits: Provides an international health plan to cover employees in more than 160 countries. For U.S. workers, Papaya Global complies with federal requirements.
  • Hiring and onboarding: Consolidates all hiring and onboarding processes for all workers (payroll, EOR, contractors) into one streamlined platform that meets each country’s compliance.

Feature graph

Features Papaya Global Gusto
Promotional offer No. 30-day free trial.
International contractors Yes. Yes.
Global workforce payroll and compliance Yes, in over 160 countries. Yes, but limited, no compliance or health.
Applicant tracking Yes. Yes.
Time and attendance Yes. Yes.
Onboarding Yes. Yes.
Employee portal Yes. Yes.
HR tools Yes. Yes.

Paychex: Best PEO for value

The Paychex logo.
Image: Paychex

Paychex is one of the most experienced firms in the PEO market. Founded in 1971, the platform has modernized and today provides cutting-edge technology for all HR and accounting lifecycles.

Paychex offers health benefits for all 50 U.S. states and provides global payroll and contractor features. The platform offers 24/7 support and plans for companies of any size. Additionally, Paychex Flex — its stripped-down version — is praised for its simplicity and cost-effective value. Paychex Flex starts at $35 per month plus $5 per month per employee.

Figure D

Paychex Dashboard.
Paychex Dashboard. Image: Paychex.

Paychex key features

  • Automation: Automated bookkeeping.
  • Payroll and HR: Tax, health and benefit.
  • Ability to scale: Offers Paychex Flex as a basic plan and the ability to scale with other plans.
  • Pricing: Excellent value (Paychex Flex price is among the lowest in the market).

Use cases

  • Small and medium company payroll management: Simple, straightforward and comprehensive features suitable for small and medium payroll management.
  • HR tools: Paychex offers HR tools, tax support, benefits administration and more.
  • Customer support: Provides 24/7 multi-channel customer support.

Feature graph

Features Paychex Gusto
Promotional offer No free trial. 30-day free trial.
Mobile app Yes. Yes.
24/7 customer support Yes. Multi-channel support. No.
Direct deposit Yes. Yes.
Skills and training Yes. Limited.
Global payroll Yes. Yes.
Health insurance benefits Yes. Available in all 50 U.S. states. Yes. Only available in 35+ U.S. states.

Justworks: Best for small companies

The Justworks logo.
Image: Justworks

Justworks is a platform that has been operating since 2012, focusing on small and medium businesses. It provides all the HR features other PEO software vendors offer but streamlines operations with a simple user-centered design.

Justworks enables organization-wide payroll, medical, dental, vision, 401(k), life insurance, AD&D and more. Its basic plan starts at $59/month per employee. However, the solution can be costly for large companies.

The company’s Plus plan also integrates medical, dental and vision benefits for employees and costs $99 per month per employee. Justworks provides 24/7 support.

Figure E

Justworks dashboard.
Justworks dashboard. Image: Justworks.

Justworks key features

  • Simple and robust platform: Payroll, HR services and compliance.
  • Employee benefits: Works directly with health insurance carriers. Depending on the plan, it can provide health insurance benefits, wellness services, deductible HSA, on-demand primary care services, life insurance, 401(k), HSAs, commuter benefits and more.
  • Time and attendance: Available for the Basic plan with an extra cost. Feature synced to payroll.
  • Customer support: 24/7 support.

Use cases

  • Payroll: Automated deposits, one-off payments, payroll tax filings, auto notifications, synced time, attendance and compliance, and W-2s, 1099s and 940/941s filing.
  • Hiring and onboarding: Basic features for remote, national, or international teams and contractors.
  • Automation: Automatic tax filing, payroll and HR system.

Feature graph

Features Justworks Gusto
Promotional Offer No. Yes. 30-day free trial.
Tax filing Yes. Yes.
Integrations Yes. Yes.
Benefits administration Yes. Yes.
Ease of use Yes. It may require skills for advanced functions.
Self-service portal Yes. Yes.
24/7 customer support Yes. No.

OnPay: Best for accountants and bookkeepers

The OnPay logo.
Image: OnPay

OnPay is a payroll, HR and benefits platform with one main difference. The company also focuses on providing accountants and bookkeepers the tools and integration capabilities to customize management.

OnPay has over 30 years of payroll experience and has been keeping up with the latest technology. The platform also enables industries and sectors with specific needs, like churches, NGOs and farms.

Regarding pricing and plan, OnPay keeps things transparent and straightforward. They offer one plan with all features included. The plan costs $40 per month plus $6 per month per person.

OnPay focuses on three cores — payroll, HR and benefits. The payroll features are extensive. The company provides all tax filings and payments, unlimited monthly pay runs, W-2 and 1099 workers, multiple pay rates, reports, time tracking and more. Additionally, it is available for all 50 U.S. states.

Figure F

OnPay dashboard.
OnPay dashboard. Image: OnPay.

Key features of OnPay

  • Full-service payroll: Unlimited monthly pay runs, tax filings and payments, and W-2 and 1099s.
  • Integrations: Integrates with various software.
  • Essential HR tools and compliance.

Use cases

  • Payroll: Direct deposit, debit card or check payments. Multiple pay rates and schedules, garnishments, unemployment insurance withholding and reports.
  • Time tracking and attendance.
  • Optimized for mobile, multi-state payroll, available in all 50 U.S. states.
  • HR: Compliance, automated onboarding flows, e-signing, in-app offer letters, online I-9, W-4 forms and custom personnel checklists.
  • Benefits: Health and dental benefits in all 50 U.S. states.

Feature graph

Features OnPay Gusto
Promotional offer One-month free trial. One-month free trial.
Tax filing Yes. Yes.
Unlimited pay runs Yes. Yes.
Multi-state payroll Yes. Yes.
Accounting and time tracking integrations Through integrations. Yes.
Self-service portal Yes. Yes.
Benefits and compliance management Yes. Yes.
24/7 support No live support on weekends. No live support on weekends.
Multiple pay rates and schedules Yes. Yes.

Is Gusto worth it?

Gusto is a robust PEO platform that provides all the basic and advanced features for a competitive price. Compared to other vendors, Gusto has secured a leadership position thanks to its technology.

However, choosing the right PEO can be tricky, as most offer similar built-in solutions. Gusto is very simple to use and offers complete HR tools. It also leverages automation which can save your teams a lot of time. Regarding benefits, Gusto falls behind in the U.S., offering only coverage for about 35 states. Other areas to consider are costs. These can drive up due to monthly per-user fees for large enterprises.

In conclusion, Gusto is a comprehensive payroll, HR and benefits solutions suite. It offers various features, including payroll processing, time and attendance tracking, tax filing and employee benefits management.

Gusto pros and cons

It’s essential to evaluate Gusto’s pros and cons before deciding whether it is the right PEO platform for your business.

Gusto pros

  • Streamlines payroll, benefits, onboarding and hiring processes, and more.
  • Uses automation for most features, including data entry, payroll runs, and HR lifecycles like onboarding and tax filing.
  • Synchronizes time and attendance tracking with payroll.
  • Offers comprehensive payroll and HR services.
  • Provides an all-in-one platform with easy-to-use features.
  • Integrates with other software such as accounting and HR systems for easier data sharing.
  • Keeps compliance in check.

Gusto cons

  • Gusto customer support is not 24/7.
  • Health benefits do not cover all U.S. states: Not available as of February 2023 for Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming.
  • Expensive: Charges a fixed monthly fee plus a monthly employee fee. Companies scaling and expanding workforces will see prices go up fast.
  • While the platform offers global and international contract solutions, its focus is mainly in the U.S.

Do you need an alternative to Gusto?

The answer to this question will depend on what type of business you are running. If your company employs thousands of workers, Gusto may not be the right choice due to costs.

Additionally, if all or most of your employees work outside the U.S., other PEO companies are more internationally focused and can provide proper resources to comply with international and local foreign laws.

Regarding the user interface, Gusto is a straightforward platform with an accessible modern design. If your team is not technology experts, they will benefit from its accessibility. Gusto’s design may be colorful, but its technology is powerful.

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