We know that different businesses have diverse payroll needs. Our staff researched and reviewed dozens of payroll services and came up with the ones we think are best for a variety of business types. Here is a roundup of our best picks and an explanation of how we chose them.

Editor’s Note: Use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:

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Our Best Picks For...

Best Payroll Service for Small Businesses Overall: Intuit

Intuit provides small businesses with services that are scalable and easily integrate with QuickBooks accounting software while still being affordable. The company handles the collecting and reporting of all your payroll-related taxes. We were also very impressed with its customer service. Go here for a full review of Intuit's payroll service.

Best Payroll Service for Sole Proprietors or S Corporations: ZenPayroll

ZenPayroll was the least expensive payroll service we researched. More important, it allows you to pay outside contractors and issue their 1099 forms. We found ZenPayroll's customer service very helpful and especially liked the company's payroll system's "autopilot" feature. Go here for a full review of ZenPayroll's payroll service.

Best Payroll Service for Very Small Businesses: OnPay

Of all the services we reviewed, very few were cheaper than Onpay. We liked the company's openness about its pricing and found its online price calculator very useful. The system is user-friendly, and the customer service reps are willing and able to help you every step of the way. Go here for a full review of Onpay's payroll service.

Best Payroll Service for Household Employees: SurePayroll

SurePayroll isn't as cheap as some payroll services dedicated exclusively to paying household employees, but we like that the company handles all of your tax obligations and, even better, guarantees that it will do it right. Pricing is flexible, and if you decide to pay your household employee monthly, rather than more frequently, the cost of the service drops considerably. Go here for a full review of SurePayroll's services for small businesses and household employees.

Our methodology

To determine the best payroll services for small businesses overall, sole proprietors and S corporations, and very small businesses, we started by listing all of the vendors that have a good reputation online (i.e., services that were favorably and consistently reviewed by other websites). Then, we interviewed small business owners to discover new ones to add to our list.

We ultimately settled on 17 payroll services to consider as best picks. They were: ADP, AmCheck, APS, Bank of America, Benefit Mall, Big Fish Payroll Services, Coastal Human Resources Group, Intuit, MyPayrollHR, Onpay, Pay USA, Paycor, Paylocity, ProPayroll and ZenPayroll. (See full list of payroll services and their websites below).

Next, we watched tutorials and how-to videos, read user comments and interviewed more business owners. We also considered the pricing available on these services' websites. After narrowing down the list to nine contenders, we contacted each company's customer service department and posed as would-be business owners.

In all, we analyzed each service based on the following factors:

  • Cost
  • Tax services offered
  • Ease of use
  • Customer service
  • Accounting program integration
  • Incentives offered
  • Guarantees provided
  • Mobile accessibility
  • Reports the services can generate
  • Employee access to the system, and
  • What extra services the payroll provider offered, such as employee retirement plans or workers' compensation.

For the methodology for our best pick for the household employees category, see our review here.

For this category, we used a methodology similar to that detailed above. However, we only considered SurePayroll and Intuit from the above list because they had packages specifically for paying household employees. In addition, we considered the following services that specialize in payroll services for household employees: NannyChex, HomeWork Solutions, Savvy Nanny Payroll Services, GTM Payroll Services, and HomePay by Breedlove. (See full list of payroll services specializing in household employees and their websites below.)

Here is a full list of payroll vendors and a summary of what each company claims to offer. This alphabetical list also includes our best picks.

ADP - ADP offers a wide range of services that you can incorporate with your payroll system, including tax services, human resources management, retirement services, time and attendance solutions, and benefits administration. adp.com

AmCheck - AmCheck offers three separate payroll packages. With each package, AmCheck makes your payroll deposits; files and reports all of your payroll taxes; and offers you labor cost reporting. You can also build your own customized reports. The company's payroll solutions can be synched with almost every accounting package and time and attendance system. amcheck.com

APS - APS is a cloud-based service that provides online payroll services, core human resources, time and attendance, and Affordable Care Act reporting and compliance tools, all in a single platform. The company's mobile offering delivers instant payroll, HR and time and attendance information to employees and managers on any mobile device. apspayroll.com

*Bank of America - Bank of America partners with Intuit for its payroll services. Intuit was our best pick for small businesses overall. To learn more about what Intuit has to offer, read our full review here.

Benefit Mall - Benefit Mall has payroll services for businesses of all sizes. The company's online payroll service allows you to process payroll, manage payroll taxes and view payroll reports 24 hours a day, from anywhere you have an Internet connection. To pay employees, Benefit Mall gives you the option of using direct deposit or printing your own checks. Additionally, employees have online access to their payroll information. benefitmall.com

Big Fish Payroll Services - Big Fish Payroll Services is an online payroll provider that manages every aspect of outsourced payroll, including calculating tax obligations, producing checks and preparing management reports. The company's payroll service allows for direct deposit and employee self-service. Big Fish also offers both time and attendance and human resources solutions. bigfishpayroll.com

Coastal Human Resources Group - Coastal Human Resources Group's (CHRG) online payroll service allows you to submit all of your payroll information via the Web. Payments can be made either via direct deposit or paper checks that are printed by CHRG and delivered straight to your business so they are ready for your designated payday. The service also handles all of your payroll tax responsibilities. The company offers human resources, employee benefits, compliance screening, and time and attendance services. coastal-hr.com

EverNext HR - After reviewing your application, EverNext HR provides you with a personal HR/executive assistant tailored to your company's needs. Your assistant will be matched with you based on your industry, hours of operation and preferred method of communication. evernextHR.com

Insperity - Insperity offers full-service HR for businesses with 10 to 5,000 employees. The company offers services for payroll, benefits and hiring, as well as numerous management and planning tools. insperity.com

*Intuit– Intuit was our best pick for small businesses overall. Intuit offers three separate payroll packages for small businesses. The first package only includes running payroll and calculating taxes. The second package also includes filling in tax forms and filing and paying taxes electronically for you. With the third package, full service, Intuit sets up, runs and files your payroll for you. There is also an error-free guarantee with this package. payroll.intuit.com/. Read our full review here.

Jumpstart:HR- An "all-in-one" human resources partner for small businesses, Jumpstart:HR strives to provide up-to-date HR knowledge and strategies, as well as career development tools for both employers and job seekers. Service packages are divided by company size, and include HR consulting services for early-stage startups. jumpstart-hr.com

MMC HR - MMC creates comprehensive, customized HR solutions packages for its clients, covering everything from payroll and taxes, to risk management and legal compliance. The company's Web-based financial calculators and attendance systems help you save valuable time and money. mmchr.com

MyPayrollHR- MyPayrollHR's online payroll service allows you to customize your payroll setup with payment types, deductions, pay schedules and time sheets. If you already use accounting software like QuickBooks, you can export your payroll data from MyPayrollHR to your existing accounting setup. mypayrollhr.com

Oasis Outsourcing - Oasis offers a variety of human resources management services included in one administrative fee. Depending on your needs, you will receive help from multiple professionals specializing in hiring, compensation, performance management, employee training and other HR functions. oasisadvantage.com

*Onpay – OnPay was our best pick for very small businesses. Onpayis an online application designed to give employers the ability to create pay checks or access payroll reports 24 hours a day 7 days a week. With the system, employers can calculate, review and create payroll checks. In addition, your payroll taxes are calculated automatically each pay run. Payments are then processed by Onpay and paid to the responsible tax agencies. payrollcenter.com. Read our full review here.

OperationsInc - OperationsInc is a consulting service that gives small and midsize businesses flexible options for their outsourced HR department. Smaller firms can choose an hourly pay-per-use structure, while larger companies can pay for services on a monthly per-employee basis. operationsinc.com

Pay USA - Pay USA features all the basics of payroll processing, along with a paperless option, payroll cards and tax management. It can also export data to QuickBooks. payusainc.com

Paychex - Paychex offers payroll services for businesses of all sizes, and even has a special system for small businesses. Paychex has online payroll with mobile support and features tax services, time and attendance tracking, and more. You also have the option to manage payroll in-house. paychex.com

Paycor - Paycor's online payroll application, Perform, has a flexible interface; allows you to easily make changes during the pay run; gives you the option of submitting your payroll online or by phone, fax or email; and lets employees view their pay stubs online or via a mobile app. The company also offers time and attendance and human resources and benefits solutions. paycor.com

Paylocity - Paylocity's cloud-based service, WebPay, supports your online payroll and human resources needs. WebPay features a paycheck calculator, quick data entry, online reporting, direct deposit, rate histories, dependent tracking and a company directory. The system also integrates with most retirement plans, general ledgers, and time and attendance applications. paylocity.com

ProHR+ - ProHR+ specializes in recruitment and talent management. For small and midsize businesses, it offers payroll and insurance setup, hiring, recruiting and outsourcing. ProHR also provides job listings, placement assistance and skills-matching services for job seekers. prohrplus.com

ProPayroll - With ProPayroll, you get an online payroll service with 24/7 access to your account, the ability to print your own paychecks, tax management services and more. You can also add features like pay-as-you-go workers' compensation, time and attendance management, 401(k) integration and more. propayroll.com

*SurePayroll – SurePayroll was our best pick for household employees. SurePayroll is a payroll company providing online payroll services, such as payroll tax services, accounting services and 401k plans. The company also has specialized plans for household employers who employee a nanny, senior caregiver or landscaper. The system calculates your employee's wages, pays your employees and helps you stay compliant with payroll taxes and regulations. surepayroll.com. Read our full review here.

ThinkHR - This HR compliance solutions provider offers a live hotline for real-time assistance and an on-demand "Answerbase" to help you solve complex HR issues. You can also sign yourself and your employees up for one of ThinkHR's 200-plus online training courses on a variety of workplace subjects. thinkhr.com

TriNet - TriNet tailors its HR solutions by industry, providing bundled packages and strategic services depending on your company's needs. Its cloud platform allows for online self-service and robust analytics reports, with additional on-the-go access through the TriNet mobile app. trinet.com

*ZenPayroll - ZenPayroll was our best pick for sole proprietors or S corporations. ZenPayroll is a full-service, cloud-based payroll provider.Features of the service include, automatic tax calculations, payment and filing, new employee reporting, direct deposit, contractor payments, payroll reports and employee lifetime account. The system also integrates with accounting software, time and attendance solutions and human resources systems. zenpayroll.com. Read our full review here.

Below is a list of payroll companies that special in domestic or household employee payroll:

GTM Payroll Services - GTM Payroll Services offers two different household employer payroll options. The two packages are the same, except that with the EasyPay package, you can pay your employees via direct deposit or a printed check. With the other package, EasyTax, you write your own payroll checks each week. Other services included in both packages are electronic tax filings, the ability to track paid time off, a self-service portal for your employees and year-end tax services. gtm.com

HomePay by Breedlove - HomePay offers total payroll and tax filing management. The system calculates the precise withholdings each pay period and summarizes it for you in a preview email right before payday. You have the option to pay your household employees either by your own checks or direct deposit. The company keeps track of both your employees' tax withholdings and your accrued employer taxes. Prior to each federal and state tax deadline, the service files all required returns with the appropriate tax agencies on your behalf. HomePay also takes care of all your year-end tax obligations. myhomepay.com

HomeWork Solutions - HomeWork Solutions' payroll services give you the ability to completely outsource the household payroll and tax remittance process. With this service, you can offer your household employees direct deposit of their payroll, paid-time-off tracking and detailed pay-period statements of current and year-to-date deductions. HomeWork Solutions supports both federal and state tax reporting, and its fully automated filings are specific to your state. The company also offers background check services. 4nannytaxes.com

NannyChex - NannyChex specializes in payroll and tax services for household employers. The company's service extends to all types of household employees, including nannies, elder care workers, housekeepers, gardeners and personal chefs. In addition to handling all of your payroll needs, NannyChex takes care of the quarterly and year-end taxes and forms you are required to file as a household employer. When working with NannyChex, you are provided with one point of contact that is familiar with you and your account. nannychex.com

Savvy Nanny Payroll Services - Savvy Nanny Payroll Services files and pays your employer taxes, makes pay stubs for your employees and offers direct deposit. The service sends you email reminders about weekly paydays and filing and payment deadlines, and integrates with QuickBooks. However, the service is not available in 23 states. savvynannypayrollservices.com

Are you a payroll service provider that would like to be added to this list and possibly considered for our next round of reviews? Please feel free to contact Chad Brooks at cbrooks@purch.com.

Editor’s Note: Looking for a payroll service for your business? If you’re looking for information to help you choose the one that’s right for you, use the questionnaire below to have our sister site, BuyerZone, provide you with information from a variety of vendors for free:

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