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The 5 Best ADP Competitors For Your Small Business Payroll

    Kevin Brouillard
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Advertiser Disclosure: Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity.

ADP is a leading payroll provider for businesses of all sizes. Besides full-service payroll, ADP has built a reputation for excellent customer support, customized HR solutions, and flexible integrations with other software. But there’s a catch—ADP pricing is not disclosed publicly, and extra fees for add-on features and payroll runs can start to add up quickly. This uncertainty can be a major drawback for smaller businesses on a tight budget.

Before committing to a payroll provider, dive deeper with our full review of ADP and consider these top five alternatives to ADP. For each, we’ve highlighted their pros, cons, and when they could be a better fit for a small business.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For
Gusto

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Best for flexible payroll schedules.
Best for flexible payroll schedules.

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Intuit Online Payroll

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Best for payroll and accounting integration.
Best for payroll and accounting integration.

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Read More

Paylocity

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Best for midsize businesses and integrated human resource management.
Best for midsize businesses and integrated human resource management.

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Square Payroll

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Best for small businesses that employ only independent contractors.
Best for small businesses that employ only independent contractors.

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Zenefits

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Best for small to midsize businesses and HR integrations.
Best for small to midsize businesses and HR integrations.

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Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

Top ADP Alternatives For Payroll

With so many payroll providers to choose from, we’ve narrowed it down to just the top ADP competitors. We’ll consider features, business size, and other factors for each ADP rival. Read on for our detailed review of the top five ADP alternatives.

1. Gusto

Gusto



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Best for flexible payroll schedules.

Gusto is a relative newcomer to the payroll game but has quickly built a reputation in the small business community. Gusto offers four plans: Core, Complete, Concierge, and Contractor. Pricing is disclosed upfront and follows the breakdown below:

  • Core: $39/month + $6/month per person
  • Complete: $39/month + $12/month per person
  • Concierge: $149/month + $12/month per person
  • Contractor: $6/month per person

The Contractor plan caters to businesses employing 1099 workers exclusively, whereas Core, Complete, and Concierge offer an escalating scale of payroll and HR features for W2 employees. Starting with Core, Gusto supports direct deposit, employee onboarding, PTO, accounting and time tracking integrations, and benefits administration. Upgrading to Complete affords customizable onboarding tools, employee surveys, integrated time tracking, and permissions for multiple administrators. Finally, Gusto’s Concierge plan boasts access to certified HR professionals and a resource center.

Gusto’s main advantage as an ADP competitor is the ability to perform unlimited payroll runs without charging extra. Situations involving bonuses, commissions, and employee termination may require running payroll outside the normal pay schedule. To plan ahead, Gusto AutoPilot lets users automate payroll to run according to whatever schedule works best for them.

Pros

  • Transparent and straightforward pricing
  • User-friendly interface
  • Unlimited payroll runs (for businesses with <100 employees)

Cons

  • Limited time tracking and reporting options
  • Health insurance only offered in 38 states

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2. Intuit Online Payroll

Intuit Online Payroll



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Best for payroll and accounting integration.

Intuit Online Payroll may not have the name recognition of the company’s QuickBooks accounting products, but this cloud-based payroll software is a worthwhile option for small businesses. If you’re already using QuickBooks Online as your accounting software, you’ll find Intuit Online Payroll’s interface very familiar. Whereas QuickBooks Online Payroll requires customers to buy a subscription to QuickBooks accounting and bookkeeping software, Intuit Online Payroll can be a stand-alone service with greater flexibility.

This ADP alternative has three plans from which to choose: Core, Premium, and Elite. Intuit Online Payroll pricing includes a base fee and variable cost per employee. Here’s how it works out for each plan:

  • Core: $45/month + $4/month per employee
  • Premium: $75/month + $8/month per employee
  • Elite: $125/month + $10/month per employee

The Core plan covers all the payroll basics, including automated taxes and forms, 24-hour direct deposit, and automated payroll for salaried employees. Small businesses can also manage health and 401(k) benefits administration with Intuit Online Payroll’s Core plan. Intuit Online Payroll’s second-tier Premium plan allows for same-day direct deposit, expert payroll professional support, mobile employee time tracking, workers’ compensation administration, and access to an HR support center. The Elite plan provides help with payroll setup, tax penalty protection, and assistance from a personal HR advisor.

As an ADP alternative, Intuit Online Payroll shines when it comes to integrations. Intuit Online Payroll can sync with over 400 apps, including numerous POS, time tracking, and project management programs. ADP is known for its long list of integrations, but Intuit Online Payroll has the competitive edge. A drawback of Intuit Online Payroll, when compared to ADP, is the level of reporting. For some small businesses, Intuit Online Payroll’s reporting on payroll, taxes, employee benefits, and PTO may be sufficient. On the other hand, ADP can deliver more detailed reports on everything from employee performance reviews to wage garnishments, as well as custom reporting.

Pros

  • Next-day direct deposit
  • Integrates with QuickBooks and hundreds of apps
  • Intuitive dashboard and portal

Cons

  • Complaints of poor customer support
  • Local tax support may be lacking

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3. Paylocity

Paylocity



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Best for midsize businesses and integrated human resource management.

Paylocity is known for its comprehensive payroll and HR packages that can be customized to address a business’s unique preferences and needs. Similar to ADP, Paylocity pricing is not disclosed unless a business requests a quote. Paylocity has three levels of payroll services. Ranging from most affordable to most expensive, these are Effortless Payroll, Efficient Tech, and Modern Workplace.

Even with Effortless Payroll, businesses have unlimited payroll processing, tax services, check-signing services, employee portal and mobile app, and HR support. Moving up to Efficient Tech, businesses can utilize cloud-based time tracking, custom PTO management, and employee benefits integrations. The Modern Workplace plan is suited for businesses in need of employee performance management, background checks, and recruiting services.

Overall, Paylocity and ADP both offer an impressive selection of payroll and HR features that are likely more appropriate for midsize businesses and growing firms. Smaller businesses could save a considerable amount by going with one of the other ADP alternatives. However, Paylocity pricing is competitive with ADP, since the structure places more emphasis on the level of features rather than the number of employees. Another key difference is that ADP charges extra for benefits administration with any of its plans, whereas Paylocity’s Efficient Tech and Modern Workplace include it within their respective packages.

Pros

  • Extensive payroll and HR features
  • Customized payroll packages
  • Hands-on tax support

Cons

  • Interface can take time to learn
  • Nontransparent pricing

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4. Square Payroll

Square Payroll



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Best for small businesses that employ only independent contractors.

Square offers an assortment of business software and services. Overall, Square’s products have a reputation for being easy to use and adaptable to a customer’s needs. In terms of payroll processing, Square payroll has two aptly named plans: the Pay Contractors Only Plan and Pay Employees & Contractors Plan. Businesses employing independent 1099 workers will pay just $5 per contractor paid each month. Any customer with both W-2 and 1099 employees will pay a base fee of $29 a month plus $5 per person paid.

Square covers core payroll functions, such as direct deposit, tax withholdings, and the ability to automate payroll runs. Businesses interested in more complex features, such as benefits administration and employee management, can tack them on a Square plan for an additional cost. Compatibility with other Square products, like Square POS and Square Appointments, for example, makes it easy to coordinate payroll, sales, and scheduling in one place. Square may not be a strong ADP alternative when it comes to the variety of integrations, but the payroll provider does support a handful of third-party apps, including QuickBooks, ZipRecruiter, SimplyInsured, and TSheets.

Pros

  • Competitive pricing, especially for businesses only employing independent contractors
  • Strong integrations with other Square products
  • Easy to use app and interface

Cons

  • Limited payroll functions compared to ADP
  • Less benefits and HR features than ADP

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5. Zenefits

Zenefits



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Best for small to midsize businesses and HR integrations.

True to its name, Zenefits is foremost an HR and benefits provider. However, small businesses can include payroll services as an add-on feature within a larger HR software package.

Zenefits offers three plans: Essentials, Growth, and Zen. Tacking on payroll services will cost an extra $6 per employee across all three plans. Although Zenefits may not boast the same level of hands-on customer support as ADP, its HR platform can automatically synchronize numerous payroll functions to streamline business operations. This includes new hire reporting, time tracking, and benefits deductions. Zenefits also supports direct deposits, tax filings, multiple pay rates, garnishments, reporting on tipped earnings, and issuing bonuses. Zenefits is a strong ADP competitor in terms of integrations too. Between productivity apps, accounting, learning software, and employee management programs, Zenefits has small businesses covered.

Figuring out which Zenefits HR plan to pair payroll with is important for both pricing and features. The Essentials plan costs $10/month per employee and is the most basic in terms of workforce management. Its main features are employee onboarding, document management, scheduling, and a mobile app for recording hours worked and accessing HR information. Upgrading to the Growth plan increases the per-employee cost to $18/month, but provides compensation and performance management for employees. Upgrading to the Zen plan, which costs $27/month per employee, gives access to top-level HR management tools and employee benefits. Since Zenefits starts its pricing at five employees, smaller businesses with four or fewer workers might find this payroll option less cost-effective than other ADP alternatives, such as Square or Gusto.

Pros

  • Pricing is more transparent than ADP
  • Easy-to-use desktop interface and mobile app
  • Substantial HR and employee management features

Cons

  • Poor integrations
  • Not very customizable

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Best ADP Alternatives: FAQ

Who are ADP competitors?

ADP has a variety of competitors depending on business size, desired payroll features, and pricing. Gusto, Square, Zenefits, Paylocity, and Intuit Online Payroll are all suitable ADP alternatives in certain scenarios.

 

Is ADP good for small business payroll?

Unless a small business can effectively utilize ADP’s extensive reporting and HR support, it can be a costly payroll solution. Small businesses with simpler payroll needs can consider Square or Gusto as alternatives to ADP for their competitive pricing.

Is ADP better than Gusto payroll?

ADP offers more in-depth reporting and features than Gusto. However, Gusto is generally more affordable and can provide unlimited payroll runs and in-house check printing, unlike ADP.

How much does ADP charge per employee?

ADP does not advertise their pricing publicly, but research by the Merchant Maverick team suggests that pricing increases $20-$50 per month on average between ADP Run plans.

Is Intuit full-service payroll a good ADP alternative?

Intuit Online Payroll could be a suitable ADP alternative for businesses looking for an integrated accounting and payroll package.

Finding The Right Alternative To ADP For Your Small Business Payroll

There’s much more to small business payroll than just cutting checks. You’ll also need to ensure deductions are accurate and taxes are filed on time. Payroll software can take the guesswork out of crunching numbers and staying compliant while saving precious time.

One of these five ADP alternatives may have the competitive edge depending on a business’s size, budget, HR capacity, and payroll needs. If you haven’t made your mind up yet, check out Merchant Mavericks’ full list of payroll service and software reviews.

In Summary: Top ADP Alternatives For Payroll

  1. Gusto: Best for flexible payroll schedules.
  2. Intuit Online Payroll: Best for payroll and accounting integration.
  3. Paylocity: Best for midsize businesses and integrated human resource management.
  4. Square Payroll: Best for small businesses that employ only independent contractors.
  5. Zenefits: Best for small to midsize businesses and HR integrations.
Kevin Brouillard

Kevin Brouillard

Kevin Brouillard is a writer, Returned Peace Corps Volunteer, aspiring goat farmer, and finance specialist based in Upstate New York. In addition to covering small business topics for Merchant Maverick, he has experience writing about environmental issues, travel, and personal finance.
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