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Gusto Payroll Review: A Beginner’s Guide in 4 Steps

Picking the right Payroll and HR software can be a big decision. In this Gusto Payroll review, we will be breaking down everything Gusto does but also showing you how the tool works.

Let’s first start with what Gusto Does:

  • Process payroll, including calculating taxes and issuing paychecks or direct deposits
  • File and pay all necessary payroll taxes on your behalf
  • Manage employee benefits, including health insurance, 401(k), and commuter benefits
  • Onboard new employees digitally, including setting up payroll and benefits
  • Track and manage employee time off, including vacation and sick days
  • Generate and file required tax forms, including W-2s and 1099s
  • Provide HR support, including a library of HR resources and compliance tools
  • Integrate with other business software, such as accounting and time-tracking tools
  • Provide a mobile app for employees to access their paystubs, request time off, and more.

That’s a lot!

In fact it’s overwhelming on it’s oww before you even start looking into other services…

… here’s the thing. You’re probably not going to use half of those features Day 1. It’s more about the fact they’re available to you down the road if you’d like to start a 401(k).

I just want you to be aware of what’s available for the platform.

Gusto Payroll Setup

In this video I walk you through Gusto Payroll setup and what it entails. At the 1:31 mark you’ll see how to get Gusto setup.

Below is a list of information you’ll need to get started with Gusto. I’ve purposefully bolded times 4,5 and 9 so we can discuss them further.

  1. Company Address
  2. Add accountant
  3. Explore benefits
  4. Federal tax info
  5. Bank account
  6. Pay schedule
  7. Add employees
  8. Add contractors
  9. State tax info
  10. Sign documents
  11. Verify bank account
  12. Worker’s comp
  13. Choose a plan

You want to make sure you already have an EIN Number, a business bank account, and you’ve registered for Federal and State taxes before you set up your payroll provider.

Why Gusto Payroll? (Pros and Cons)

There are other options out there and I break down Paychex vs ADP vs Gusto vs Quickbooks payroll but I can really summarize it by saying this.

Gusto Pros

Gusto is cheaper than most competitors, extremely intuitive to use, and covers your bases from payroll, HR and 401(k).

For the cost and ease of use, it can’t be beaten.

Their onboarding process is stringent but fair. They make it so you can’t get started until you have everything you need. In my experience other services let you get in and cause more havoc.

I also like their ability to integrate with other service. For instance I use Bench Bookkeeping to help organize my books and it shares info with Gusto cleanly.

Gusto Cons

The biggest con of Gusto is the customer support. If you’re not on a higher-tier package with prioritized support you may find it lacking.

What I’ve found is you have to work up the chain of command.

So I had an issue with a W-2 that my CPA caught. I open up a ticket Gusto and the email support person doesn’t quite get it. So then I do a phone call and I tell the agent specifically what the issue was so I could get a corrected W-2.

Then the agent accelerates it up the line of command so the person I was speaking to next could resolve my issue.

This isn’t unusual at all in most businesses but it’s the fact the email support person tried to say it was fine and I had to advocate for my situation.

For bigger questions/issues I’d suggest calling support and not doing tickets.

How Does the Gusto Referral Program Work?

Gusto has a nice referral program where if you sign up using a referral link like this one. You’ll get a Visa Debit card somewhere between $300 – $400 for most people. At certain busy seasons, they’ll bump up the reward. You can also earn even more if you have 10 or more employees you need payroll for.

You’ll get a Visa Debit Gift card emailed to you where you have to enter your address info. Then the card will look something like this (don’t worry the card is $0 so no need to try something funny).

So when you get this card image. You can use this online anywhere credit cards are used. You just enter this as a Visa Credit Card.

You can use them in person too but it requires you to manually enter the information which is a pain.

You’ll get an email with the subject line “You just got a $300.00 Visa gift card!” or $400.00 if they’re running a promo.

Gusto Payroll Review Pricing

It’s pretty easy to see understand Gusto’s pricing but there are a few items to be aware of.

In the image below I highly 4 different points I want to discuss from the Gusto Pricing page.

Gusto Pricing Explained

Gusto Pricing Explained

The first arrow is highlighting that you pay a monthly flat rate and then a per person monthly rate as well.

So if your company has 4 people on payroll, this is how your costs would break out.

$40 + ($6 x4) = $64 a month

If you have 10 employees on payroll then it would be:

$40 + ($6 x10) = $100 a month.

So understand if your company hires for new roles your payroll cost goes up.

Arrow #2 is simply highlighting that $80 is the normal fee and that the $60/mo fee is just an introductory offer. After 6 months your base fee will be back up to $80/mo

Arrow #3 is the main reason someone will go with the Plus plan. That’s because if you have employees in several states your payroll processing is more complicated and will require the Plus plan from Gusto.

Arrow #4 shows that you can upgrade to priority support but it will cost you $8/mo after any promotions have expired.

From here you can figure out what your costs would be but I wanted to make you aware of these items.

Our content is independently researched and reviewed. When you buy through our links, we may earn a commission. Learn more

About Us

Hi, I’m Eric Worral, and I Want to help you start a business.

You should know I’m one of those people that sees an obscure stat or quote and I won’t be able to shake it… it just follows me around like a shadow.

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