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Updated Jan 24, 2024

6 ADP Payroll Alternatives

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Max Freedman, Business Operations Insider and Senior Analyst

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ADP is a leading name in small business payroll, with good reason — it was one of the first brands in the field, launching in 1949. The company played a part in developing modern outsourced payroll processing infrastructures. It remains dominant today. However, the brand’s long history doesn’t make it the right fit for every small business. If you’re seeking ADP alternatives despite the brand’s preeminence, you have several strong options to choose from.

Editor’s note: Looking for the right payroll software for your business? Fill out the below questionnaire to have our vendor partners contact you about your needs.

ADP overview

ADP has continued to dominate the payroll service field because of its extensive suite of customizable, cloud-based solutions that cater to businesses of all sizes. You can use ADP solely for basic payroll processing, or you can bring it on as your professional employer organization (PEO). One of its strengths is its high-level HR features: It can handle your background checks, onboarding, time tracking, benefits administration and more from start to finish. 

Of course, these features come with a price. ADP doesn’t make it easy to compare costs to other payroll service providers. The company offers custom pricing, so it’s tough to figure out whether other payroll services might be more cost-effective. Even if you do score a great deal, you’ll have to pay additional fees for extra payroll runs and year-end reports. These disadvantages may rule out ADP for some small businesses.

Did You Know?Did you know

ADP limits the number of payrolls and year-end reports you can run without paying extra.

If your business needs lower costs, unlimited payroll runs or free year-end reports, the ADP alternatives below might suit you better. You may also want to read our in-depth ADP review to make the most informed comparison. Many of the alternatives below are also detailed further in our payroll services best picks list.

6 alternatives to ADP

These are some prominent ADP alternatives:

1. Paychex

Like ADP, Paychex has been in the payroll game for a while — 50 years, in fact. In that time, many large businesses have worked with Paychex, making it uniquely qualified to handle their needs. Its suite of features, which range from basic payroll functions to advanced HR needs, comes with 24/7 customer service from a dedicated account specialist. [We’ve detailed how Paychex and ADP stack up here: ADP vs. Paychex Payroll]

These are some of the most important Paychex features:

  • Basic payroll calculations
  • Direct deposit and pay cards
  • Payroll tax calculation and payment
  • Hundreds of payroll reports
  • Recruiting and applicant tracking
  • New-hire reporting
  • Accounting integrations
  • Unemployment insurance program coordination
  • Employee financial wellness program administration
  • Background screening and onboarding
  • Performance reviews and tracking
  • Employee training
  • Secure document storage
  • Benefits administration
  • Time and attendance tracking
  • Business incorporation services

Paychex offers three pricing plans:

  • Paychex Essential costs $39 per month, plus $5 per month per employee. You’ll get basic payroll processing, pay cards and tax services plus employee onboarding, new-hire reporting and some analytics. 
  • Paychex Flex Select, like ADP, offers custom plans (and prices) based on your company’s needs. In addition to the essential services, you’ll get learning management tools, access to the HR library and more pay options. 
  • Paychex Flex Pro also offers custom plans. It includes all the features of the other plans, plus garnishment pay services, accounting software integration, state unemployment insurance services, tools for screening and onboarding employees, unemployment insurance services, worker compensation services, and an employee handbook builder.

Paychex also offers many other optional tools businesses may choose to include in their package for an extra cost. 

Learn more about Paychex in our Paychex payroll service review.

2. Rippling

Payroll services should streamline your payroll, taxes and HR. Some payroll interfaces are needlessly complicated — but not Rippling. The HR company offers payroll processing services you can fully execute in just 90 seconds. Truly, anybody could master Rippling’s payroll runs in no time.

These are Rippling’s key features:

  • 90-second payroll runs
  • Automatic compliance and tax filing
  • Direct deposit
  • Global payroll
  • Time-tracking software, including PTO infrastructure
  • Prebuilt and customizable reports
  • Job posting
  • Multiple pay rates
  • Wage garnishments
  • Over 400 integrations
  • Benefits administration 

You could also access many additional features by opting into the full HR Cloud, IT Cloud or Finance Cloud. 

Rippling starts at $8 per user per month, though you’ll need to obtain a custom quote for a more accurate estimate. 

Read more in our Rippling HR review.

3. OnPay

When you’ve employed just one or two people to keep your operations going smoothly, you only have so much time and money to spend on payroll. That’s where OnPay comes in. Its full-service payroll and tax services, straightforward pricing structure and extensive customer service. This makes it an ideal choice for business owners with limited resources for payroll processing. You won’t have to sign any long-term contracts or worry about hidden fees. Plus, specialized businesses like farms, nonprofits and restaurants could receive customized guidance.

OnPay offers only one service plan, which is ideal for very small businesses since you won’t have to conduct a cost-benefit analysis among several choices. Instead, you’ll get all the below services with OnPay:

  • Full-service payroll processing and tax payment 
  • Full coverage of any tax fines or interest incurred on your behalf
  • Unlimited payroll runs
  • Multistate payroll 
  • Multiple pay schedules
  • Direct deposit and pay cards
  • Extensive integrations
  • PTO tracking
  • New-hire reporting
  • Onboarding tools
  • In-app offer letters
  • HR resource center
  • Workers’ comp, health insurance and 401(k) administration

OnPay costs $40 per month, plus $6 per employee per month. You’ll also pay a small fee if you need OnPay to print and mail year-end tax forms to your office or directly to your employees. Printing your own W-2 forms is free, though. 

Learn more in our OnPay payroll software review.

4. Gusto

Even the smallest business needs an HR department, but many small organizations can’t afford a dedicated HR staff. If this sounds like your business, Gusto’s payroll services might appeal to you. You could receive not only payroll but also HR services so robust it’ll be like having an in-house staff. The extensive set of HR features doesn’t put a damper on the payroll platform’s ease of use or customer service. [Learn more about how Gusto and ADP payroll compare: Gusto vs. ADP Payroll]

These are some of Gusto’s combined payroll and HR features:

  • Full-service, automated payroll processing and tax payments
  • Unlimited payroll runs
  • Multiple pay schedules
  • Direct deposit and pay cards
  • No-fee delivery of W-2 and 1099 forms to employees and contractors
  • Extensive integrations
  • Time-tracking with geolocation
  • PTO administration
  • Customizable employee handbooks
  • Job description templates
  • HR policy templates
  • Proactive, frequent compliance updates 
  • Organizational charts
  • Employee directories
  • Employee surveys
  • Onboarding tools
  • Workforce costing
  • Project tracking
  • Access to certified HR professionals 
  • Workers’ comp, health insurance and 401(k) administration
  • Secure digital document sharing

Gusto offers four pricing plans:

  • Simple costs $40 per month, plus $6 per employee per month. You’ll get full-service single-state payroll, some resources for hiring and onboarding, employee self-service and employee financial benefits. 
  • Plus costs $80 per month, plus $12 per employee per month. Features include everything in Simple, plus next-day direct deposit, more extensive tools for hiring and onboarding, employee surveys, performance reviews and PTO management. 
  • Premium has exclusive, custom pricing. It includes all the features of the Plus plan, and priority support with a dedicated “Customer Success Manager,” access to HR experts and resources, health insurance broker integration and priority support. 

The final pricing plan is for Gusto’s “Contractor Only” package. It typically costs $35 a month plus $6 per contractor. However, a six-month introductory promotion allows you to just cover the contractor fee. This package offers unlimited contractor payments in all 50 states. You could also add on payments for international contractors for an extra cost. 

Discover more about Gusto in our Gusto payroll service review.

5. Paycor

Paycor is a platform for not only payroll, but also a suite of HR tools. It’s not quite a full human resource information system (HRIS). However, Paycor offers a wide variety of features in an accessible interface. While larger businesses may want a more complete HRIS, Paycor is well-suited for small- to medium-sized businesses that need some HR features, as well as analytics and reporting tools, in addition to standard payroll. A standout feature of Paycor is its on-demand pay option, which lets employees choose their pay schedule (weekly, biweekly, etc.).

Some other notable HR and payroll features include:

  • Employee surveys 
  • Automatic payroll runs
  • Employee portal
  • Tax-filing 
  • Predictive analytics 
  • Diversity, equity and inclusion reporting tools 
  • 401(k) tracking
  • Benefits enrollment
  • Performance management tools 
  • Access to an HR support center 
  • Time-off management 
  • Expense management 
  • Onboarding

Paycor offers the following packages (each requires a custom quote): 

  • Basic emphasizes smooth, easy payroll processing and tax compliance. With Basic, you’ll receive payroll tools, including OnDemand Pay, online check stubs and automatic pay runs, as well as standard reporting and tax tools. 
  • Essential offers all of Basic’s features, plus tools for hiring new employees. Additional features include Paycor recruit and hire, access to its HR support center, onboarding and time-off management. 
  • Core is the most popular package, according to Paycor. In addition to Essential’s features, Core offers a more complete HR system, including access to on-demand support. 
  • Complete offers all of Core’s features, plus additional tools for employee development and career management. 

 Learn more in our complete Paycor review


While Paycor charges setup fees, they often waive them through special promotions. Enrolling during a promotional period could save you money.

6. Intuit QuickBooks Payroll

Unsurprisingly, the leading name in small business accounting software also has plenty to offer on the payroll front. Every Intuit QuickBooks Payroll version, whether you choose the online or desktop one, is a highly flexible option for all your payroll processing and tax needs. Plus, if you’re among the many businesses already using QuickBooks Accounting, your payroll and accounting software integrations will be seamless.

These are some top-notch features you get with QuickBooks Payroll:

  • Full-service payroll processing and payroll tax payments
  • Unlimited payroll runs
  • Access to the mobile Workforce app
  • Multiple pay schedules
  • Direct deposit
  • Full coverage of any tax fines or interest incurred on your behalf (only with some plans)
  • Seamless QuickBooks accounting integration
  • Mobile time tracking
  • HR resources, including designated account HR advisor
  • Health insurance administration through SimplyInsured
  • Retirement plan administration through Guideline
  • Workers’ comp administration

QuickBooks Online Payroll offers the following plans:

  • Core costs $45 per month, plus $4 per employee per month. It includes full-service, automated payroll alongside benefits administration.
  • Premium costs $75 per month, plus $8 per employee per month. It includes everything in the Core plan, plus direct deposit, workers’ comp administration, mobile time tracking, HR center access, and expert setup assistance.
  • Elite costs $125 per month, plus $10 per employee per month. It includes every service in the other plans plus 24/7 expert product support, tax penalty protection, and a personal HR advisor.

For more information, check out our Intuit QuickBooks Payroll review.

The right payroll service could help your business thrive

No matter what kind of business you operate, payroll is absolutely central to its function. Pay delays or other problems with paychecks quickly erode employee satisfaction and their trust in the company. Choosing the best payroll service should be part of any company’s commitment to employee retention. 

Consider your business’s unique needs to find the right payroll service. The best fit for a smaller company, for example, might offer accessible payroll tools and some basic HR building blocks. As your business grows, you may want a payroll service with more extensive reporting tools, resources for employee development and other features. Ultimately, to operate a successful business, you have to build an effective toolbox. 

Cailin Potami contributed to this article. 

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Max Freedman, Business Operations Insider and Senior Analyst
Max Freedman has spent nearly a decade providing entrepreneurs and business operators with actionable advice they can use to launch and grow their businesses. Max has direct experience helping run a small business, performs hands-on reviews and has real-world experience with the categories he covers, such as accounting software and digital payroll solutions, as well as leading small business lenders and employee retirement providers. Max has written hundreds of articles for Business News Daily on a range of valuable topics, including small business funding, time and attendance, marketing and human resources.
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