Top 19 Small Business Payroll Services for 2020

Compare the top payroll service providers. Includes pricing and ratings for the top 19 payroll companies, along with answers to common questions.

Updated on August 17th, 2020

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A payroll service, also known as a full-service payroll provider, runs payroll, prints and mails checks, processes direct deposit payments, completes all tax forms and payments, and issues W-2 and 1099 forms. They typically accept liability for late payroll tax filing and errors.

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Our Pick

#1 Payroll Software

Get 1 month of Gusto FREE!

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No extra fees.

Auto tax filing and digital paystubs.

Handles benefits, time tracking, and compliance too.

Why We Chose Gusto:

Gusto is a highly recommended payroll platform used by more than 60,000 businesses around the world. Among its host of many payroll functions are automated taxes, compliance management, and multi-state payroll tools.

Gusto offers lifetime accounts, where employees can log into Gusto and get vital information like old paystubs, even after they've left the company; a feature most competing payroll software services do not offer.

Gusto is reasonably priced, offering a wide range of price plans between $39.00 per month + $6.00 per employee to $149.00 per month + $12.00 per employee.

Things to Consider When Evaluating Payroll Services:

  1. Determine your unique business needs and find software that matches those needs. If you're a restaurant, for example, you might want software that caters to the unique needs of the restaurant industry.
  2. Payroll software varies in feature range. Many offer basic features such as automated payroll, automated taxes, and leave tracking. If you require more advanced functionality, look for features such as digital signatures, FICA tip credit, and lifetime accounts.
  3. The payroll software should be simple and easy to use. Don't go for software that looks overly complicated. Find one that gets the job done and doesn't require too much training.

Top Payroll Services for Small Business:





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$39.00 + $6.00 / employee

A highly recommended platform with a rich feature range and advanced payroll tools.

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$36.00 + $4.00 / employee

Offers a comprehensive feature range is great value for money.

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Patriot Software

$25.00 + $2.35 / employee

An excellent payroll platform ideal for businesses with fewer than 100 employees.

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$20.00 + $2.00 / employee

A great cloud-based service with a wide range of useful payroll features.

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$35.00 + $2.00 / employee

Primarily an HR platform but offers plenty of useful payroll tools.

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$49.46 + $1.53 / employee

A human capital management (HCM) platform that offers useful tools for managing payroll.

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Alliance Payroll Services, Inc.

$34.65 + $4.25 / employee

A trusted payroll solution that offers tax filing and time and attendance tools, among many others.

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BenefitMall Payroll

$47.25 + $2.30 / employee

A good payroll solution that does basic payroll functions well.

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Intuit Quickbooks

$59.00 + $2.00 / employee

An excellent option that offers useful payroll tools. Their basic packages have very limited functionality.

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$79.00 / employee

An excellent cloud-based option with a comprehensive set of payroll features.

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$80.00 / employee

Primarily a Professional Employer Organization platform but offers a wide range of useful payroll features.

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$49.00 + $3.00 / employee (after 10 employees)

A great platform that offers useful features like onboarding services and data analysis tools, among many others.

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Square Payroll

$29.00 + $5.00 / employee

A good platform that has a rich feature range and a gentle learning curve

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Paychex Advantage

$82.96 + $2.20 / employee

Offers both payroll and HR tools and has a rich feature range.

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$33.00 + $3.14 / employee

A reliable web-based option that is both powerful and easy to use.

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$33.99 + $4.00 / employee

A great platform that offers advanced payroll tools like net-to-gross calculations and easy payroll cancellations.

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$20.00 + $4.00 / employee

An excellent cloud-based service with a comprehensive feature range.

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What is a payroll service?

A payroll service is when an outside company that specializes in the payroll process offers its services. With the help of the internet, payroll services are now even more convenient and accessible.

How much should I pay for payroll services?

You can expect a fee of anywhere between $20.00 to $100.00 per month. Typically, basic payroll processing has a base account fee, with additional per-employee or per-check fees.

What is the cheapest payroll service for small business?

Who offers the best payroll service for small business?

What's the difference between a payroll service and payroll software?

A payroll service should completely handle all aspects of payroll and is liable for any mistakes made with taxes and withholdings. Payroll software is a tool for handling payroll internally.

Can small businesses afford a payroll service company?

Small business payroll companies generally offer plans that scale up as your company hires. Most of them offer cheap payroll service at a base price, and then an additional cost per employee added.

How can I find payroll services near me?

There are likely to be payroll companies for small business located near you, and a Google search should reveal them. Just search, "Payroll companies near me." At the same time, there are many companies that offer nationwide services for small business.

Can payroll service providers handle my tax reporting?

Most of them offer tax reporting as part of their online payroll services for small business.

Is there a difference between payroll processing companies and payroll outsourcing services?

No. The basic idea is the same. Rather than hiring someone to run payroll or do it yourself, payroll providers, or payroll outsourcing companies, take care of that for you.