If you’re beginning the process of choosing a payroll service for a business that utilizes independent contractors, follow these steps to help you make the right decision:
1. Assess your budget and needs.
When selecting an online payroll service for your small business, begin by evaluating your payroll budget. Determine what your business can comfortably allocate for payroll processing and related services. Identify the features you need and those you can do without. Keep in mind that some payroll platforms are bundled with broader HR and human capital management software, which may not suit businesses seeking standalone payroll solutions.
You should also consider how frequently you process payroll: weekly, biweekly, monthly or per-project for freelancers. This choice can significantly impact your decision because some providers offer unlimited payroll runs and others charge per run.
2. Understand your business needs and priorities.
Make a list of your top priorities, wants and needs in your payroll software. For example, are same-day or next-day deposit capabilities critical for your freelance and contractor payments? Determine whether your business needs additional HR services integrated into the platform. Create a list of your payroll software requirements to guide you in your search for providers.
3. Compile a list of potential vendors.
Based on your specific feature requirements, create a list of potential payroll software providers through research and reading reviews from trusted resources like Business News Daily. Examine each vendor’s features and determine whether they align with your business needs; remove any platforms that do not meet your criteria.
4. Schedule demos where available.
Narrow your options to a few choices and schedule demos with these providers, if available. During demos, assess how the software functions and ask relevant questions. Inquire about the frequency of payroll runs, mobile app availability and employee self-service portal features. Sitting through product demos can also help you evaluate the software’s user-friendliness and intuitiveness.
5. Compare pricing structures and customer service.
Ask questions to gain a comprehensive understanding of the provider’s pricing structure and monthly expenses. Many payroll providers charge a base fee along with a per-employee fee. Ensure you fully understand the payment structure, setup charges and any additional fees for extra payroll runs; inquire about available discounts or incentives.
Next, research the quality of customer service offered by the company. Check the provider’s rating with organizations like the Better Business Bureau, assess customer complaints, and examine the availability of customer support channels, including phone, email and chat support. Be sure the provider’s support hours align with your business needs.
6. Narrow down your choices and make a decision.
After considering the pros and cons of each provider, identify your top choices based on your criteria. Once you’ve selected the best-suited vendor for your business, you can begin the setup process.