HR services – including the best HR software and the best HR outsourcing companies – can help small business owners streamline their HR processes so they can focus on running their companies. While their features and capabilities vary, HR solutions can assist with hiring and onboarding, benefits administration, payroll processing, workforce management and compliance assistance.
Gusto and Paychex are both intuitive, feature-rich HR services businesses can tailor to meet their unique needs. We’ve pulled pertinent information on HR features, ease of use, customer support and more from our in-depth Gusto review and detailed review of Paychex to help business owners decide on the best solution for their needs.
Starts at $40 per month, plus $6 per person per month
Starts at $39 per month, plus $5 per person per month
Comprehensive (included in plans)
Standard (included in plans)
Intuitive and user-friendly
Intuitive and user-friendly
Phone, email and live chat (priority support add-on)
Phone, live chat and a dedicated HR professional
Gusto HR software is best suited for small and midsize businesses that want to streamline and optimize their payroll processes and other HR functions. This user-friendly platform can support employees and contractors, allowing employers to manage all their workers from one centralized location. Since it ensures precise and compliant payroll processing and offers additional HR tools, it’s an ideal choice for businesses focused on payroll excellence as a cornerstone of their HR operations.
We think Gusto stands out because of the following factors:
Gusto’s time-tracking features integrate directly with its payroll. Source: Gusto
Paychex is a versatile HR and payroll services provider that caters to a wide range of businesses, including in-office, hybrid and remote organizations. It’s not just an HR platform; you can partner with Paychex as an outsourcing solution, so it’s an excellent choice for SMBs seeking a flexible HR provider. Its services are particularly valuable for organizations that want to streamline payroll management, tax compliance, employee benefits administration and human resources tasks.
The following factors make Paychex an excellent HR solution:
Outsourcing HR can look different for every company. Businesses can choose to outsource any combination of payroll processing, benefits administration, talent acquisition, human capital management and more.
Gusto offers four preset HR plans with transparent pricing and contract terms. It charges a monthly base fee plus a per-employee rate per month.
Gusto offers three employee plans and one contractor plan. Source: Gusto
Paychex offers three preset HR plans with mostly customized pricing. It charges a monthly base fee plus a per-employee rate per month. Here’s a breakdown of Paychex’s plans:
We like that both vendors offer flexible contracts with a range of available features and add-ons. However, Gusto takes the win in this category. Paychex’s lowest-level plan is a bit less expensive than Gusto’s, but it’s not quite as comprehensive. And costs add up quickly when you tack on additional helpful features. We also like that Gusto has transparent online pricing for most of its plans and features, so employers can clearly see which plan will match their needs and budget. We also found Gusto’s one-month free trial to be a value-add; it’s unclear whether Paychex offers a free trial.
Gusto’s HR features are tiered based on your service plan. Notable features include the following:
Paychex plans are customized, ensuring businesses get the services they need. Notable features include the following:
Employees can manage their benefits and HR functions via their Paychex Flex account. Source: Paychex
Although both vendors offer essential HR features, we appreciate that Paychex offers more feature flexibility. Its customized plans allow employers to access as many HR features as needed. We also like that its features are available via HRO or PEO services. The PEO co-employment model takes many HR responsibilities off the employer’s shoulders, which can benefit many small businesses. We were pleased that Paychex offers other business services, including workers’ compensation, employee scheduling and business insurance.
Gusto’s comprehensive payroll offerings include the following:
Paychex’s payroll processing services include the following:
This was a close call because both vendors offer comprehensive payroll and payroll tax administration features. However, payroll is Gusto’s best feature, giving it the edge in this category. We like that the vendor includes comprehensive payroll features with even its most basic plan. We also appreciate that it offers domestic and international contractor payments. This isn’t something many competitors offer, but it’s ideal for employers with diverse or global workers.
Most of the software we review is user-friendly, and these two vendors are no exception. Here’s how Gusto and Paychex compare in terms of usability.
Gusto’s software and interface are easily navigable and user-friendly. We found the following elements notable:
Gusto’s user-friendly dashboard is easy to navigate. Source: Gusto
Paycheck’s interface is also easy to use and work with. Consider the following ease-of-use factors:
Paychex’s user-friendly dashboard provides a clear overview of payroll and other elements. Source: Paychex
During testing, we found both platforms intuitive and user-friendly. Both are easy to implement and learn. We like that they’re cloud-based, so users can access them from any location. Since both offer employee self-service features and iOS and Android mobile apps, employees and managers can handle HR functions from anywhere.
Gusto’s customer support options include the following:
Paychex provides the following customer support options:
Our research revealed that both vendors provide sufficient customer support. However, Paychex is the winner here. We like that Paychex offers 24/7 customer support – something most competitors don’t offer. Most plans also include a dedicated support representative, which can be especially helpful for new or remote businesses. If you partner with Paychex as a PEO, you will receive additional support with HR functions.
Choose Gusto if:
Choose Paychex if:
Gusto can be implemented in as little as a few days. However, your implementation time will depend on your plan and features as well as how many employees and contractors you must onboard. Still, we found Gusto’s implementation to be quicker than that of many competitors.
Like Gusto, Paychex’s implementation process will depend on your features and employee numbers. If you switch to Paychex as a payroll provider only, the vendor says it can get you up and running in as little as 48 hours after signup. However, if you want to partner with Paychex as a PEO, implementation will take a bit longer because the partnership will require more upfront work.
Paychex offers standard HR reporting with more than 160 different report types. It also offers customizable metrics for tailored HR reports.
Yes. Gusto automatically includes an in-house applicant tracking system (ATS) in Plus and Premium plans. This option is great for streamlining the recruitment process and reducing the need for a third-party ATS.