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The 7 Best ADP Alternatives

ADP can be a great payroll solution for some large businesses, but smaller companies may prefer cheaper or more suitable alternatives to ADP.

    Matt Sherman
  • UPDATED

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 with a reputation for excellent customer support, customized HR solutions, and flexible integrations with other software. But its fees can add up quickly, which may leave businesses looking for ADP alternatives.

Before committing to a payroll provider, you’ll want to do plenty of research and consider these top seven alternatives to ADP. For each, we’ve highlighted their pros, cons, and when they could be a better fit for a small business.

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CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For
Gusto

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Overall best ADP alternative
Overall best ADP alternative

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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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Paychex

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Best for employee management
Best for employee management

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Square Payroll

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Best for independent contractors
Best for independent contractors

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Zenefits

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Best for HR
Best for HR

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Other Featured Options:

Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

Tired Of ADP? 4 Reasons You Might Want To Switch

While ADP has perfectly fine payroll software for many businesses, it’s certainly not the best fit for everyone. Here are a few of the big reasons why you may want to consider an ADP alternative:

  • Uncertain Pricing: ADP does not disclose its pricing online, making it difficult to get an accurate picture of just how much you can expect to pay for your software.
  • Integrations Not Optimized: For a company as big as ADP, it’s surprising that many of its biggest integrations don’t work as seamlessly with the software as you would expect, including some of its biggest integrations like QuickBooks.
  • Some Features Only Offered As Add-Ons: Compounding ADP’s issues with nebulous pricing, some of its features, particularly in the HR category, must be purchased for an additional cost and there are other fees that aren’t explicitly laid out upfront.
  • Overwhelming Feature Set: While ADP does have a full array of features, it can almost be too much for some small businesses and, if you don’t need everything that comes with ADP software, you may not only be overpaying, but it can also cause confusion and frustration while navigating through the interface.

The 7 Best ADP Alternatives Worth Considering

When searching for an ADP alternative, you’ll want to factor in the software’s pricing, features, and its compatibility to your business size. Here are the best companies to consider as an alternative to ADP.

1. Gusto: Overall Best ADP Alternative

Gusto



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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

Gusto is a relative newcomer to the payroll game but has quickly built a reputation in the small business community. Gusto can do it all, and at an affordable price. While other ADP alternatives are best suited for smaller businesses, Gusto can handle larger companies and has added features like HR support and benefits. The system is very user-friendly for employees and employers alike and has a solid reputation for strong customer support.

When it comes to Gusto vs ADP, Gusto’s main advantage 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.

gusto dashboard

A Quick Look At Gusto Pricing

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

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2. QuickBooks Online Payroll: Best ADP Alternative For Payroll & Accounting Integration

Intuit Online Payroll



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Pros

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

Cons

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

QuickBooks Online Payroll integrates directly with QuickBooks Online, meaning that if you’re already a QuickBooks Online user for accounting, you might want to strongly look into this software as well. It offers full-service payroll across all of its pricing platforms along with benefits and retirement plan options.

As an ADP alternative, QuickBooks Online Payroll shines when it comes to integrations, as it can sync with over 400 apps, including numerous POS, time tracking, and project management programs. A drawback of QuickBooks Online Payroll vs ADP is the level of reporting. For some small businesses, QuickBooks 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.

adp payroll dashboard

A Quick Look At QuickBooks Online Payroll Pricing

This ADP alternative has three plans from which to choose: Core, Essentials, 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: $70/month + $4/month per employee
  • Essentials: $95/month + $4/month per employee
  • Elite: $155/month + $8/month per employee

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3. Paychex: Best ADP Alternative For Employee Management

Paychex



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Pros

  • Simple interface
  • Strong customer support
  • Built-in HR

Cons

  • Nontransparent pricing
  • Additional fees

Paychex is a solid payroll option for small businesses with an exceptionally easy-to-use platform and excellent employee management. It has a robust feature set that includes more than 100 reports and also comes with great customer service. There have been complaints about missing tax filings, and the fact that the majority of its pricing plans are variable isn’t ideal, but Paychex still checks most of the boxes for strong payroll software.

When it comes to Paychex vs. ADP, Paychex stands out with its employee management tools. ADP may still be a slightly better option for much larger businesses, but Paychex also comes with a dedicated payroll specialist and, even though both have plenty of add-ons that can quickly add up, Paychex is generally more affordable.

paychex dashboard

A Quick Look At Paychex Pricing

The Essentials Plan starts at $39/month + $5/month per employee which is reasonable and comes with strong features including direct deposit, tax services, and reports. It has three other pricing tiers with additional features but you will have to talk to a sales representative to get the complete pricing.

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4. Square Payroll: Best ADP Alternative For Independent Contractors

Square Payroll



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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
  • Fewer benefits and HR features than ADP

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. Square Payroll is ideal if you’re using any of the company’s other services, like the Square point-of-sale platform. Square Payroll can be up and running in a matter of minutes and takes minimal training time, even if you’re not overly familiar with payroll software.

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 QuickBooks Time.

square payroll dashboard

A Quick Look At Square Payroll Pricing

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 + $5 per person paid.

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5. Zenefits: Best ADP Alternative For HR

Zenefits



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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

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 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.

zenefits dashboard

A Quick Look At Zenefits Pricing

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.

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6. Patriot: Best Cheaper Alternative To ADP

Patriot Payroll



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Pros

  • Cost-effective
  • Strong tax support
  • Simple interface

Cons

  • Not feature-rich
  • HR is an add-on

Patriot Payroll is tailor-made for small businesses with fewer than 100 employees that are on a tight budget. Patriot has upfront pricing and its plans come with a strong feature set that should be more than functional for smaller to mid-sized organizations. It has simple onboarding, an employee portal, and built-in HR functionality.

The biggest difference between Patriot and ADP is going to be the overall cost. If you simply have basic payroll needs, Patriot isn’t going to set you back a significant amount and its tax support is on par with ADP’s. ADP does have Patriot beat when it comes to benefits administration but, for the money, Patriot has one of the more generous feature offerings around, along with an interface that is extremely easy to use.

patriot payroll dashboard

A Quick Look At Patriot Payroll Pricing

Patriot’s Basic Payroll plan starts at $17/month + $4/month per employee and comes with unlimited payroll runs, direct deposit, and multistate processing. The Full Service plan starts at $37/month + $4/month per employee and comes with tax filing.

Get Started with Patriot Payroll

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7. OnPay: Best ADP Alternative For Custom Reports

OnPay



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Pros

  • Strong customer support
  • Highly customizable
  • Simple pricing

Cons

  • Mobile app lacking
  • Not for international employees

OnPay is an excellent piece of HR software with just one simple and affordable pricing plan. OnPay features automated tax support and has a solid number of integrations, including strong accounting platforms like QuickBooks and Xero. One of its more unique features is that it has a Report Designer, which allows you to save custom payroll reports. It also has employee self-service functionality and a built-in HR platform, giving you everything a small business would need from payroll software.

OnPay’s biggest benefit over ADP is in how simple its pricing structure is. While figuring out exactly what ADP might cost you can be like pulling teeth, OnPay has a flat fee and even a tool on its website to calculate the cost for your business. ADP is definitely more of a powerhouse and better suited for larger businesses, but OnPay’s customizable reports are a really nice feature and its integrations hold up with any of its competitors.

onpay dashboard

A Quick Look At OnPay Pricing

OnPay’s pricing is extremely simple. It starts at $36/month + $4/month per employee with no additional hidden fees.

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Choosing The Right ADP Alternative For Your Business

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.

If you’ve decided to move on from ADP, the transfer process to another payroll service should be fairly simple. Most of these ADP alternatives allow you to import data directly and many offer at least basic onboarding support. Fortunately, ADP usually does not sign you up for longer than a one-year contract either, so if you’re ready to switch, the cost should be relatively affordable.

Which of these ADP alternatives is best for you will depend on your 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.

Best ADP Alternatives: FAQ

What cheaper alternatives to ADP payroll are there?

There are a number of cheaper payroll software companies than ADP including Gusto, Square, Zenefits, OnPay, and Patriot. All are suitable ADP alternatives in certain scenarios.

 

What are the disadvantages to ADP?

The biggest disadvantage to ADP is its non-transparent pricing structure which can make it difficult to know how much the software will ultimately cost you. There are also added fees, which can drive the cost of ADP payroll up.

In Summary: The 7 Best ADP Alternatives Worth Considering

  1. Gusto: Overall best ADP alternative
  2. Intuit Online Payroll: Best for payroll and accounting integration
  3. Paychex: Best for employee management
  4. Square Payroll: Best for independent contractors
  5. Zenefits: Best for HR
  6. Patriot Payroll: Best cheaper alternative to ADP
  7. OnPay: Best for custom reports
Matt Sherman

Matt Sherman

Expert Analyst & Reviewer at Merchant Maverick
A former sports editor and journalist, Matt Sherman has been writing about and researching small business software since 2015, with a special emphasis on retail and restaurant sales. Matt's expert opinions are cited in various industry publications, including Fox Business. He is a graduate of the University of Oregon.
Matt Sherman
View Matt Sherman's professional experience on LinkedIn.

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The vendors that appear on this list were chosen by subject matter experts on the basis of product quality, wide usage and availability, and positive reputation.

Merchant Maverick’s ratings are editorial in nature, and are not aggregated from user reviews. Each staff reviewer at Merchant Maverick is a subject matter expert with experience researching, testing, and evaluating small business software and services. The rating of this company or service is based on the author’s expert opinion and analysis of the product, and assessed and seconded by another subject matter expert on staff before publication. Merchant Maverick’s ratings are not influenced by affiliate partnerships.

Our unbiased reviews and content are supported in part by affiliate partnerships, and we adhere to strict guidelines to preserve editorial integrity. The editorial content on this page is not provided by any of the companies mentioned and has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities. Opinions expressed here are author’s alone.

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