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Cheapest Payroll Services For Businesses

Each of these cheap and popular payroll services offers both reasonable prices and strong features for processing your small business's payroll.

    Davina Ward
  • Last updated onUpdated

  • Chelsea Krause

    Chelsea Krause

    Lead Staff Writer

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

We evaluated the top payroll software solutions to find the best cheap payroll services that enable businesses to run payroll without breaking the bank, include some form of payroll tax support, and work across all 50 states.

Keep reading for a breakdown of features, pricing, and what to watch out for with each of the best cheap payroll software options.

Learn More About Our Top Picks

CompanyBest ForNext StepsBest For

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  • Overall best payroll software with the most bang for your buck
  • $35/month + $6/contractor or $40/month + $6/employee
  • Over 180+ integrations available
  • Overall best payroll software with the most bang for your buck
  • $35/month + $6/contractor or $40/month + $6/employee
  • Over 180+ integrations available

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Square Payroll

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  • Most affordable for foodservice and retail and cheapest for contractors
  • $6/contractor or $35/month + $6/employee
  • Integrates seamlessly with Square payments, POS, and invoices
  • Most affordable for foodservice and retail and cheapest for contractors
  • $6/contractor or $35/month + $6/employee
  • Integrates seamlessly with Square payments, POS, and invoices

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  • Cheapest payroll service with multistate payroll
  • $40/month + $6/employee
  • Essential HR features
  • Cheapest payroll service with multistate payroll
  • $40/month + $6/employee
  • Essential HR features

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Patriot Payroll

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  • Best cheap payroll software with optional tax support
  • Starts at $17/month + $4/person
  • Free interactive demo available
  • Best cheap payroll software with optional tax support
  • Starts at $17/month + $4/person
  • Free interactive demo available

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Roll by ADP

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  • Best cheap payroll mobile app
  • $29/month + $5/employee
  • Completely chat-based payroll management
  • Best cheap payroll mobile app
  • $29/month + $5/employee
  • Completely chat-based payroll management

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  • Best overall free payroll software
  • Free for businesses with 10 or fewer employees
  • Optional tax services
  • Best overall free payroll software
  • Free for businesses with 10 or fewer employees
  • Optional tax services

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  • Best cheap payroll software for growing businesses
  • Starts at $39/month + $5/employee/month
  • Excellent customer service
  • Best cheap payroll software for growing businesses
  • Starts at $39/month + $5/employee/month
  • Excellent customer service

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  • Best for beginners
  • Starts at $19.99/month + $4/employee
  • Excellent payroll mobile app
  • Best for beginners
  • Starts at $19.99/month + $4/employee
  • Excellent payroll mobile app

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Show Fewer Options

Read more below to learn why we chose these options.

Table of Contents

Best Cheap Payroll Software Comparison Chart

Pricing Native Time Tracking Full Tax Support Benefits Administration
Gusto $40/month + $6/employee
Square Payroll $6/per contractor or $35/month + $6/employee
OnPay $40/month + $6/employee
Patriot Payroll Starts at $17/month + $4/employee
QuickBooks Online Payroll $45/month + $6/employee
Roll by ADP $39/month + $5/employee
Payroll4Free Free for businesses with 10 or fewer employees
Paychex $39/month + $5/employee
SurePayroll Starts at $19/month + $4/employee

The Best & Cheapest Payroll Services

These top cheap payroll services offer all essential features for running payroll, including direct deposit, tax support, and employee management solutions. Our picks for the best cheap payroll services include the following:

Gusto: Best Cheap Small Business Payroll Software

Total Rating 4.4

Ease Of Use4.9


Customer Service4.1

User Reviews3.9

Payroll Processing Time

Next-day to 4 Days


$40/month + $6/employee to $80/month + $12/employee

Business Size

Small-Medium Businesses (1-650+ Users)


  • Unlimited payroll runs across all 50 states
  • 189+ integrations
  • Very easy to use
  • Built-in time tracking with new kiosk


  • Benefits administration is not available in 13 states
  • Built-in time tracking not available on cheapest plan
  • No mobile app

Gusto home dashboard

Gusto's Home Dashboard

Why We Chose Gusto For Best Overall Small Businesses Payroll Software

Gusto isn't the cheapest option on our list, but we think that its robust feature set makes it a great option for small businesses. Overall, Gusto earned a 4.4/5 star rating driven by its full-service payroll, benefits administration, and HR tools.

Gusto is also impressively easy to use and offers plenty of tools to streamline the process of running payroll, including auto-scheduled payroll runs, built-in payroll guidance, solid customer support, and complete tax support.

Gusto Pricing & Fees

Gusto Plans Price  When To Use
Simple $40/month + $6/person If your small business needs reliable, basic payroll software
Plus $80/month + $12/person If your business needs tools to handle complex payroll and team management needs
Premium Custom If your medium to large-sized business needs advanced HR and compliance tools
Contractor Only $35/month + $6/person per month If your growing business needs basic payroll and only pays contractors

Gusto payroll pricing starts at $40/month + $6 per person paid on the Simple plan for paying both contractors and employees. For businesses with more complex needs, Gusto also offers a Plus plan starting at $80/month + 12/person paid and a Premium plan with custom pricing.

Gusto also offers a plan for businesses that only pay contractors, which costs $35/month + $6/contractor paid. Gusto frequently runs promotions for new customers, such as its current promotion, which waives the base price on its Contractor Only plan for six months.

Additional services such as benefits administration, international contractor payments, and spending accounts come with an additional fee.

Gusto Features For Small Business Payroll

Gusto run payroll screen

Gusto’s “Run Payroll” Dashboard

Gusto has a wealth of features for small to mid-sized businesses looking for payroll and HR combined into a single solution. Gusto offers the following payroll features and add-ons:

  • Full-Service Payroll: Run payroll across all 50 states, unlimited payroll runs, international contractor payments support, garnishments, use multiple pay rates and schedules, automated payroll runs, and more.
  • Payroll Tax Support: Gusto will perform payroll tax calculations and filing at the federal, state, and local levels on behalf of your business; Gusto also fill out and sends out digital copies of Forms 1099 and W-2.
  • HR Support & Tools: Gusto is one of the best HR software solutions on the market and offers state new hire reporting, an employee self-service portal, new hire onboarding support, document storage, background checks, applicant tracking, and much more.
  • Benefits Administration: Offer employees health insurance, workers’ compensation insurance, FSAs, HSAs, life insurance, disability insurance, spending accounts, savings accounts, retirement accounts, and much more.
  • Over 180+ Integrations: Gusto integrates with QuickBooks Time, Xero, Quickbooks, and tons of other software from accounting and expense tracking to POS and project management.
  • Ease Of Use: Gusto’s dashboard, guided setup, free demo, help center, and easy-to-reach customer service line make it one of the more user-friendly options on the market.

What To Watch Out For

  • Gusto’s Simple plan doesn’t include its built-in time tracking. You’ll need to subscribe to Gusto’s Plus plan to take advantage of its built-in time tracking system, which costs $80/month + $12/person paid — double the price of the Simple plan. Otherwise, you can integrate Gusto with third-party time and attendance software, such as QuickBooks Time.
  • Gusto’s Simple plan also doesn’t include next-day direct deposit. Again, if you need next-day direct deposit, you’ll need to upgrade your plan at nearly double the price of the cheapest plan.
  • Gusto’s benefits administration service is limited and doesn’t include Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia, and Wyoming.

When To Use Gusto

  • Cheap full-service payroll software
  • Strong HR and compliance features
  • Built-in benefits administration and time tracking
  • Payroll software with 190+ third-party integrations
  • Hiring and onboarding support

Get Started With Gusto

Read our in-depth review

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Square Payroll: Best For Foodservice & Retail Businesses

Square Payroll

Total Rating 4.1

Ease Of Use3.9


Customer Service3.7

User Reviews4.4

Payroll Processing Time

Same-day to four-day


$6/contractor or $35/month +$6/employee paid

Business Size

Any business paying 1+ workers


  • Integrates with Square POS hardware
  • Automated tax support and filing
  • Excellent security standards
  • Square Team mobile app support


  • Limited features for larger businesses
  • Limited payroll functions
  • Customer service complaints

Square's home dashboard

Square's Home Dashboard

Why We Chose Square Payroll For Best Affordable Payroll For Foodservice & Retail

Square Payroll is one of the few payroll solutions that exist within an ecosystem that includes a dedicated POS solution and a plan option for paying contractors. Further, as a standalone system, Square payroll rated an impressive 4.1/5 stars as a direct result of the software's comprehensive feature set, very positive user reviews, and affordability.

With tip tracking, payroll reports, and unlimited payroll runs, Square Payroll is a great addition to any small business looking for cheap payroll software, especially those within the retail and foodservice industries. As Square Payroll starts at just $35/month + $6/person paid, its price point is another major bonus.

Square Payroll Pricing

Square Payroll Plans Price  When To Use
Pay Contractors Only $6/contractor If your business needs affordable payroll for contractors
Pay Employees & Contractors $35/month + $6/employee paid If your business needs affordable, basic payroll for both employees and contractors

Square Payroll’s pricing starts at only $35/month + $6/person paid on its Employee’s and Contractors plan. The software’s Contractors Only plan costs $6/contractor paid with no monthly base rate.

Square Payroll Features For Small Businesses

Square Payroll's "Run Payroll" Screen

Square Payroll’s “Run Payroll” Dashboard

Square Payroll is both affordable and fully functional. Though Square Payroll doesn’t have many bells and whistles, the software includes all the essential payroll features a small business could need, including:

  • Full-Service Payroll: Square Payroll supports unlimited payroll runs, contractor and employee payments, support for multiple payment methods, tip importing and tracking, garnishments, reimbursements, payroll reports, time-tracking, and more.
  • Employee Management: PTO accrual and policy management, paystub printing, scheduling, and more.
  • Payroll Tax Support: Automatic federal and state level payroll calculation and filing: Square Payroll will also create, file, and mail out Form W-2 and Form 1099 for your employees and contractors.
  • Benefits Administration: Square Payroll partners with SimplyInsured and Guideline to provide health insurance and retirement accounts, Health savings accounts, on-demand pay, and employee benefits management options are also available.
  • HR Tools: Square Payroll has only a few built-in HR tools, including employee self-onboarding tools and an employee self-service portal.

What To Watch Out For

  • Square’s customer service leaves room for improvement. Many customer reviews of Square Payroll suggest that it can be challenging to get issues resolved in a timely manner.
  • Square Payroll can’t be used to pay household employees or for businesses within the agricultural industry. Unfortunately, you can’t use Square to pay household employees, such as cleaners or nannies. Fortunately, the best nanny payroll services enable payments for household employees.
  • Square Payroll’s features are basic without add-on services. Although Square Payroll is offered as a standalone product, it’s a bit barebones without subscribing to the other solutions within the Square ecosystem.

When To Use Square Payroll

Small businesses should consider using Square Payroll if they're in need of:

  • A cheap plan for just paying contractors
  • A fully integrated POS, payroll, and employee management software system
  • Full-tax support at the federal, state, and local levels
  • A well-loved and fully functional mobile app
  • Support for same-day payroll runs
  • Built-in benefits administration

Get Started With Square Payroll

Read our in-depth review

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OnPay: Best For Multistate Payroll

Total Rating 4.2

Ease Of Use4.5


Customer Service4.1

User Reviews4.7

Payroll Processing Time

2-4 Days


$40/month + $6/person/month

Business Size

Small to mid-sized businesses (1-500+ employees)


  • Run payroll in multiple states at no added cost
  • Single service plan with many features
  • Good customer support
  • Essential HR features


  • Poor scalability for larger businesses
  • The mobile version is limited compared to the desktop version
  • No built-in time tracking

OnPay's Home Dashboard

OnPay's Home Dashboard

Why We Chose OnPay As Best For Multistate Payroll

OnPay rated a high 4.2/5 stars overall largely driven by the software's affordable pricing and wealth of payroll features — including multistate payroll for no additional cost. Unlike many of its competitors, OnPay works in all fifty states and offers a single pricing plan for all its features.

Although OnPay has a mobile app on iOS, it's rated very poorly. However, if your small business is sticking to desktop payroll runs, you can't beat the price and feature set that OnPay offers.

OnPay Pricing and Fees

OnPay Plans Price  When To Use
OnPay Monthly $40/month + $6/person/month If you need essential payroll and basic HR features for up to 500+ employees

OnPay costs $40/month + $6/person paid — that’s it. OnPay utilizes a single payment plan tier. The only additional fees from OnPay are those incurred for insufficient balances and tax form printing and mailing services.

OnPay Features For Small Businesses

OnPay Employee Management

OnPay’s Employee Management

OnPay offers a ton of payroll and HR features for small businesses at an affordable price. Here’s a breakdown of OnPay’s payroll and HR features:

  • Small Business Payroll: Payroll across all 50 states, unlimited payroll runs, multiple payment methods, pay contractors and employees, garnishments, multistate payroll, support for multiple pay rates and schedules, and much more.
  • Payroll Tax Support: Automatic tax withholding, Form 941 quarterly filing, Form 940 annual filing, I-9 and W-4 signing, tax document storage, and more.
  • HR Features: OnPay handles document storage, assigning, task tracking, onboarding, support, hiring tools, HR resources library, custom org charts, PTO management.
  • Benefits Administration: Health and dental insurance administration 401(k) plans, insurance broker support, workers’ compensation insurance, disability, and vision insurance options.
  • Integrations: QuickBooks Online, Quickbooks Desktop, Xero, Quickbooks Time, Deputy, When I Work, Mineral, and PosterElite.

What To Watch Out For

  • OnPay’s accounting integrations are limited to QuickBooks Desktop, QuickBooks Online, or Xero. While these software options are very popular, it’s a significant limitation for businesses that use other accounting software.
  • OnPay requires third-party integrations to track time. You’ll need to use Quickbooks Time, Deputy, or When I Work to track time and attendance and sync the data with OnPay.
  • OnPay’s customers aren’t happy with its mobile app. OnPay’s mobile app is home to a collection of very poor reviews from disgruntled customers calling the app completely unusable.

When To Use OnPay

You should consider using OnPay for your business if you need:

  • A comprehensive payroll feature set
  • Affordable multistate payroll processing
  • Essential HR and onboarding features, including esigning and an HR resource library
  • Integration options with popular time tracking software, such as QuickBooks Time and When I Work
  • Full-service payroll tax support

Get Started With OnPay

Read our in-depth review

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Patriot Payroll: Best For Optional Tax Support

Patriot Payroll

Total Rating 3.9

Ease Of Use3.4


Customer Service4.6

User Reviews4.8

Payroll Processing Time

2-4 days


Starting at $17/month + $4 per person paid

Business Size

Small to mid-sized businesses with up to 500 people paid


  • Two affordable payroll plans
  • QuickBooks integration
  • Quick and simple onboarding
  • Multistate payroll for no additional cost


  • The basic plan has limited features
  • Poor scalability for large businesses
  • Doesn’t handle new hire reporting

Patriot Payroll Home Dashboard

Patriot Payroll's Home Dashboard

Why We Chose Patriot Payroll As Best For Tax Support

Patriot Payroll is one of the most affordable payroll software options on our list. Patriot Payroll gives business owners the choice to handle their own payroll taxes at a steep discount while also offering full-service payroll at an affordable price.

Patriot Payroll's 3.9/5 star rating was boosted by the software's wealth of payroll and HR features, excellent customer support, and pricing customization options. Patriot Payroll offers a free trial and native integrations with Patriot's accounting, time, and HR software.

Patriot Payroll Pricing & Fees

Patriot Payroll Plans Price  When To Use
Basic Payroll $17/month + $4 per person paid If you need basic payroll processing services for up to 500 employees or contractors
Full Service Payroll $37/month + $4 per person paid If you need full-service payroll with tax support for up to 500 employees or contractors

Patriot Payroll starts at $17/month + $4/per person monthly for its “Basic” plan without full tax support. Patriot Payroll’s “Full Service” plan starts at $37/month + $4 per employee per month to include options for tax filing and depositing at the federal, state, and local levels.

Users may also choose to add time tracking and HR software for an additional cost.

Patriot Payroll Features For Small Businesses

patriot payroll dashboard

Patriot Payroll’s “Run Payroll” Dashboard

Patriot Payroll’s solid range of features aims to streamline payroll for small and growing businesses. Here’s a breakdown of Patriot Payroll’s features for small businesses:

  • Payroll Processing: Patriot Payroll users can make unlimited payroll runs for both contractors and employees, offer multiple payment methods, make deductions, run multistate payroll, and more.
  • Employee Management: Manage your business PTO policy, give employees access to an online self-service portal, let new hires onboard themselves, customize employee lists, and more.
  • Payroll Tax Support: Patriot Payroll offers the option to handle payroll taxes manually, but the software can handle federal, state, and local payroll tax filing and deposits for you, including Form 940, 941, W-2, and W-3 submission; optional 1099 filing is available.
  • HR Support: Secured document storage, HR reports, role designation, new hire reporting, and much more.

What To Watch Out For

  • Patriot Payroll’s benefits administration is limited. Patriot Payroll offers support for retirement plan contributions and workers’ compensation insurance but does not offer benefits administration for health, vision, or dental insurance.
  • Patriot Payroll’s accounting integrations are limited to QuickBooks Online or QuickBooks Desktop.
  • Patriot Payroll doesn’t have built-in time tracking but does offer an integration with QuickBooks Time.

When To Use Patriot Payroll

Patriot Payroll may be a good fit for businesses looking for:

  • Native integrations with time tracking, HR, accounting, and payments software
  • A cheaper, optional plan with self-managed payroll tax filing and remittance
  • Great customer support options
  • A free trial
  • Zero setup or hidden fees

Get Started With Patriot Payroll

Read our in-depth review

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Roll by ADP: Best Cheap Mobile Payroll App

Total Rating 2.5

Ease Of Use2.1


Customer Service1.8

User Reviews4.4

Payroll Processing Time

Next day


$39/month + $5 per employee

Business Size

Small businesses (no limit to number of people paid)


  • Affordable payroll management
  • Unlimited payroll runs
  • Payroll tax support
  • Very easy to use


  • Bare bones user interface
  • Limited features
  • Not suitable for complex payroll needs
  • Only integrates with QuickBooks

Roll by ADP Run Payroll Screen

Roll By ADP Payroll Run

Why We Chose Roll By ADP For Best Mobile Payroll App

While Roll's 2.5/5 star rating may not inspire confidence, the software performs well for what it is — a chat-based payroll app.

With Roll by ADP, you can pay employees, give raises, add new employees, provide employees with access to their paystubs, record employee hours, integrate with your QuickBooks account, and much more. Roll also calculates, files, and pays your business's payroll taxes on your behalf.

Roll by ADP Pricing

Roll by ADP Plans Price  When To Use
Roll $39/month + $5 per employee If you need simple payroll for your small business

Roll by ADP costs $39/month + $5/employee.

Roll by ADP Features For Small Businesses

Roll by ADP People Screen

Roll by ADP Employee Management

Roll by ADP simplifies payroll to a chat-based platform on your mobile device, but it still packs a lot of features into its AI-powered app. Here are some of Roll By ADP’s best features:

  • Payroll Processing: Roll by ADP offers unlimited payroll runs in all 50 states, support for multiple pay rates and schedules, running payroll via text, paying employees and contractors, deductions, garnishments, and one payroll report
  • Employee Management: Employee portal through the mobile app, manage employee information, walkthrough on how to hire an employee, new employee self-onboarding, payday reminders, and downloadable paystubs and tax statements.
  • Payroll Tax Support: Federal, state, and local payroll tax calculation, filing, and payment for W-2 employees.
  • QuickBooks Online Integration: Export payroll data to QuickBooks.

What To Watch Out For

  • Roll By ADP only integrates with QuickBooks Online. While it’s great to have an accounting integration, more options would be a solid addition.
  • Roll by ADP is a robust, but bare-bones payroll service. Benefits administration, time tracking and attendance, and other payroll-adjacent features are completely lacking within Roll.

When To Use Roll by ADP

You should consider Roll by ADP for your small business if you need:

  • A mobile app to process payroll from wherever you are
  • A helpful AI designed to guide you through your payroll processing
  • Cheap payroll software that integrates with QuickBooks Online accounting
  • An easy to use chat-based interface

Get Started With Roll by ADP

Read our in-depth review

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Payroll4Free: Best Free Payroll Software

Total Rating 3.0

Ease Of Use2.7


Customer Service2.6

User Reviews3.1

Payroll Processing Time

2-4 Days


Free for up to 10 employees

Business Size

Small to mid-sized businesses (up to 10 employees for free)


  • Free for businesses paying 10 or fewer employees
  • Strong reporting features
  • Pay by direct deposit or paper check
  • Unlimited customer support


  • A 10-user limit for free services
  • Windows-only
  • Ads within the software
  • No demo

Why We Chose Payroll4Free As Best Free Payroll Software

We chose Payroll4Free as one of the best cheap payroll software as the software completely free for small businesses paying fewer than 10 employees.

Although Payroll4Free's limited feature set drove its overall rating down to a low 3/5 stars, the software can easily handle a small business's simple payroll needs. Payroll4Free is consistently ranked as one of the best free payroll software options on the market.

Payroll4Free Pricing & Fees

Payroll4Free Plans Price  When To Use
Payroll4Free Standard Plan $0/month – $35/per payroll run each month If you need very basic payroll processing services for up to 10 employees per month

Payroll4Free is free for businesses paying under 10 employees. For businesses that want full-service tax support or want to use Payroll4Free’s direct deposit services, there are additional fees of $35/month or $350/year. Businesses may bundle these services for a discounted $400/year.

Payroll4Free Features For Small Businesses

Although the Payroll4Free software doesn’t have many bells and whistles, it boasts essential payroll features that should be sufficient for businesses with basic payroll needs, including:

  • Payroll Processing: Direct deposit and paper checks, payroll reports, contractor and employee payments.
  • Employee Management: Employee self-service portal, vacation time tracking.

What To Watch Out For

  • Payroll4Free only supports up to 10 employees or contractors per business. If your business outgrows Payroll4Free, you’ll be stuck with fees that rival traditional payroll software or the hassle of transferring your payroll data to a payroll service provider that can accommodate your team.
  • You may pay for direct deposit and tax services. Fortunately, Payroll4Free’s tax and direct deposit services are still exceptionally cheap, but they will cost a business that’s looking for completely free payroll services with tax support.
  • Payroll4Free can only be run on Windows. Macs can run Payroll4Free —if they’re running Windows OS.

When To Use Payroll4Free

Consider Payroll4Free for your business if you're looking for payroll software that offers:

  • Free payroll software for your team of 10 or fewer employees
  • Essential payroll processing features
  • Optional tax support
  • Option to import timesheets from QuickBooks Time
  • An online employee portal

Get Started With Payroll4Free

Read our in-depth review

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Paychex: Best For Growing Businesses

Total Rating 4.1

Ease Of Use4.4


Customer Service3.8

User Reviews3.9

Payroll Processing Time

Two days (faster costs extra)


Starts at $39/month + $5/employee

Business Size

Self-employed contractors to enterprises with 1,000+ employees


  • Excellent customer service
  • HR library access
  • Time tracking add-ons available
  • Automatic calculation, filing, and payment of payroll taxes


  • No free trial
  • Charges per payroll run
  • Add-ons can be pricey

Paychex home dashboard

Paychex Flex Home Dashboard

Why We Chose Paychex As Best For Growing Businesses

We chose Paychex as one of the best cheap payroll software because it offers a well-priced payroll package that includes payroll processing essentials, plenty of add-ons, and good customer support. The combination of generous features and an affordable entry price helped Paychex earn a solid overall 3.9/5 star rating.

Although Paychex isn't the cheapest option, its Essentials plan contains everything a growing business would need to run payroll, including solid employee management features, payroll tax support, mobile apps, access to an HR library, labor law posters, and more.

Paychex Pricing

Paychex Plans Price  When To Use
Flex Essentials $39/month +$5/employee If you need basic payroll services and tax support for your mid-sized business
Flex Select Custom If you need a dedicated payroll specialist to walk you through your payroll runs
Flex Pro Custom If you need accounting software integrations for your payroll software
Flex Enterprise Custom If you need advanced HR solutions, analytics, and insurance setup support

Paychex’s Flex Essentials plan costs $39/month + $5/employee/month. Paychex does not publish prices for its Flex Select and Pro plans.

Pricing for add on services is also unpublished, so if you’re looking to add services, such as time tracking or integrations, you’ll need to get in touch with Paychex to customize your payroll package.

Paychex Features

Paychex offers a generous feature set, even on its most basic plan. While you won’t get goodies like an employee handbook builder tool, you’ll get everything you need to handle payroll without breaking the bank. Here’s a look at Paychex’s features:

  • Full-Service Payroll Processing: Pay your employees using multiple payment methods from your phone or the Paychex mobile app.
  • Payroll Tax Support: Automatic payroll tax calculation, filing, and payment directly from your account; new hire reporting.
  • Customer Support: 24/7 customer support with an option to work with a dedicated payroll specialist.
  • Employee Management: Self-service digital onboarding for new employees, an employee self-service portal, and employee mobile app.
  • HR Tools: Access to Paychex’s HR library which contains essential HR documents for your business; digital or printed labor law posters for your business.
  • Reports: Paychex offers 160 built-in reports and report customization options.

What To Watch Out For

  • Paychex’s add-ons can be expensive. Although add-on services can be a good thing for small businesses that don’t need anything more than the basics, businesses with more complex needs may find that building the perfect payroll service package with Paychex can break the bank.
  • Paychex charges per payroll run, rather than offering unlimited payroll like the vast majority of its competitors, such as Gusto, QuickBooks, Onpay, and nearly every other option on this list.
  • Paychex is difficult to trial. Paychex’s self-guided demo is very limited compared to other options on the list, such as Patriot Payroll. Further, getting a full look at the software can only be done after scheduling a full demo with a salesperson.

When To Use Paychex

Paychex could be a great fit for small businesses in need of:

  • Payroll processing software for paying up to 10 employees
  • 24/7 customer support
  • Functional payroll mobile app for both employers and employees
  • Strong employee management and HR features
  • Built-in time tracking

Get Started With Paychex

Read our in-depth review

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SurePayroll: Best For Beginners

Total Rating 3.7

Ease Of Use3.5


Customer Service4.1

User Reviews3.7

Payroll Processing Time

2-4 days


Starts at $19.99/month + $4/employee per month

Business Size

Small to mid-size businesses


  • Great mobile app
  • Offers both self-service and full-service payroll tax support
  • Simple, easy to use interface
  • Great customer service


  • Limited feature set
  • No built-in time tracking
  • Doesn’t support making time off requests or approvals

SurePayroll would be a great fit for a small business that wants to keep payroll as simple as possible with a reliable payroll service provider. As its 3.7/5 star overall rating suggests, SurePayroll has all the essential payroll features but isn't as robust as its competitors.

However, the software should easily handle basic payroll processing for your small business and even boasts nice-to-have features such as a mobile app, built-in benefits administration, and a plan for those businesses that want to manage their own payroll taxes.

SurePayroll Pricing & Fees

SurePayroll Plans Price  When To Use
Self-Service $19.99/month + $6/employee per month If your business needs essential payroll features
Full-Service $29.99/month + $6/employee per month If your business needs payroll features with comprehensive tax support

SurePayroll’s pricing starts at $19.99/month + $4/employee per month and offers two service plans: Self-Service and Full-Service.

SurePayroll’s Self-Service plan is best for businesses that want to manage their payroll tax filing and remittance in-house or with an accountant, while the Full-Service plan is best for businesses that want their payroll tax filing and remittance handled for them.

SurePayroll Features For Small Business Payroll

  • Payroll Processing: Businesses using SurePayroll can pay employees whenever, including off-cycle payroll runs and multistate payroll runs. SurePayroll also supports automated payroll processing, multiple payment options, and support for multiple pay rates and schedules.
  • Time Tracking Integrations: SurePayroll doesn’t natively support time tracking but offers integrations with time clock software, including Homebase, Buddy Punch, and OnTheClock.
  • Employee Management: Employees can use SurePayroll’s online employee portal to access paystubs and pay information. Employers can manage time off policies and monitor balances.
  • Payroll Tax Filing: SurePayroll enables businesses to choose between self-managed payroll tax filing or the software’s payroll tax filing and remittance plan. The software will also handle the filing and distribution of W-2s and 1099 forms for your employees.
  • Benefits Administration: Businesses using SurePayroll can manage deductions within the software and can be matched with health insurance, retirement accounts, and workers’ compensation insurance providers.
  • Reporting: SurePayroll comes with nine built-in reports and options to customize reports

What To Watch Out For

  • SurePayroll doesn’t offer built-in time tracking. However, the software does offer some time tracking integrations with popular time and attendance software, such as StratusTime, Homebase, and When I Work.
  • SurePayroll’s integration options are limited. The software integrates with fewer than 30 software options, but competitors typically offer hundreds of options.
  • SurePayroll’s reporting feature is limited. Other payroll software tends to have a larger selection of built-in reports and stronger customization options.

When To Use SurePayroll

SurePayroll is best for businesses in need of:

  • Reliable payroll software with a simple interface
  • Excellent customer support
  • Optional self-managed payroll tax filing and remittance
  • Essential payroll features
  • A well-rated mobile app

Get Started With SurePayroll

Read our in-depth review

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Merchant Maverick has been researching and reviewing payroll providers since 2018. Our writers have tested more than 75 different payroll software systems, evaluating pricing, features, ease of use, customer service, and user reviewers. Read more about how we rate payroll providers.

When comparing different apps, we consider over seventy data points, including the speed and cost of payroll runs, federal and state tax filing features, HR integrations, employee management tools, time tracking, and more. Our lists of the best providers include only apps we’ve deemed worthwhile from several vantage points. The payroll apps we pick are widely available and relatively easy to train on, with robust features and reasonable pricing. We also look carefully at features such as employee and client portals, user onboarding services, PTO management, benefits administration, multistate compliance, and more.

We spend an average of 10-15 hours researching and updating each one of our lists, making sure the providers included meet our internal standards for quality and reputation.


Vendors evaluated


Attributes assessed per vendor


Features weighed


Combined years of experience

How Much Does Payroll Software Cost?

The cost of payroll software depends on the payroll service provider your business chooses.

Payroll software can cost anywhere from $17/month (Patriot Payroll’s Basic Plan) to $125/month (QuickBooks’ Elite plan). Per-person monthly fees among some of the most popular online payroll services range from $4/month to $12/month.

All in all, payroll software costs depend on your business’s needs and the payroll software provider you choose for your business.

Which Cheap Payroll Service Is Right For Your Business?

Choosing affordable payroll services starts with assessing your business’s payroll needs — whether that’s comprehensive tax support, QuickBooks integration, or anything in between. Then make sure you have a clear understanding of payroll software costs.

Once you have a list, you can narrow down the number of payroll software contenders to include only those that meet all your requirements, including a low price point. This strategy can help you avoid the pitfall of sacrificing function and service for a lower price point. You’re essentially tossing money away if you’re paying for payroll software that doesn’t do what you need.

Save your hard-earned dollars by figuring out where your business’s needs stand on the following payroll software features:

  • Integrations
  • Security features
  • Ease of use
  • Mobile app offerings
  • Number of users per plan allowance
  • Customer support options
  • Tax support
  • Scalability

These features will separate the good cheap payroll software from the options that aren’t worth your time. Fortunately, the best payroll software offers a mix of value and quality, so you don’t have to choose between getting a payroll software you can afford and one that actually makes running payroll easier.

For extra help, check our full guide on how to choose payroll software.

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Davina Ward

Davina Ward

Senior Staff Writer
Davina joined Merchant Maverick in 2022, covering small business payroll and accounting. She began writing for small businesses in 2018 and has since gained expertise in the SaaS industry. She earned her Bachelor’s of Arts in English Literature from SUNY Geneseo in 2018. She currently resides in New York.
Davina Ward
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