GUIDE 2024

12 Best Payroll Services for Small Businesses in 2024

Seeking the ideal solution for managing your small business’s payroll tasks? 

Selecting the right payroll service can save valuable time and ensure your employees are paid accurately and on time.

 A well-chosen service can help your business stay tax-compliant, saving potential legal headaches.

What are the Best Payroll Services for Small Businesses?

Small businesses need payroll services that offer functionality and affordability. After thorough research, here are our top picks:

Let’s dive into the details of each service:

1. Bambee

Bambee is a unique player in the HR and payroll space, providing full-service HR for small and medium-sized businesses. What sets Bambee apart is that it combines technology with human expertise to provide an accessible, affordable, full-service HR solution. 

Regarding payroll, Bambee makes it easy to manage all aspects, from calculating taxes and processing payments to managing benefits and maintaining compliance.

Moreover, Bambee provides each client with a dedicated HR manager who can help with everything from crafting HR policies to advising on complex HR issues. These HR managers are certified professionals with an average of over 10 years of experience, so you can trust that you’re getting expert advice.

While it’s not the largest payroll provider on the market, Bambee provides a high level of personalized service that many larger providers can’t match. It also offers a flat-fee pricing model, which is simpler and more predictable than the per-employee pricing models used by many other providers.


  • Full-service HR and payroll
  • Dedicated HR manager
  • Compliance assistance


Bambee uses a flat-fee pricing model. Visit their website for current pricing.


  • Personalized service
  • Flat-fee pricing model
  • Combines technology with human expertise


  • Less established than some competitors
  • May not have as many advanced features as some larger providers

2. OnPay

OnPay is one of the highly-rated online payroll services known for its simplicity and value. The company has designed its payroll platform to be as intuitive and user-friendly as possible, making it an excellent choice for small businesses that want a straightforward solution to process payroll.

In addition to its easy-to-use interface, OnPay is notable for its comprehensive feature set. The payroll software handles all aspects of small business payroll, from calculating taxes and processing payments to managing benefits and tracking time. It also includes HR tools to help small business owners manage employees more effectively.

Another thing that sets OnPay apart is its transparent pricing model. Unlike many payroll providers, which charge per feature or employee, OnPay offers all its features for one low monthly price, making it an excellent value.


  • Comprehensive payroll features
  • User-friendly interface
  • Included HR tools


OnPay uses a straightforward pricing model with a monthly base fee and a per-employee fee. Visit their website for the latest pricing information.


  • Easy to use
  • Transparent pricing
  • Good value for the price


  • Fewer integrations than some competitors
  • Not as many advanced HR features as some providers

3. ADP

ADP is a comprehensive payroll and HR solution suitable for businesses of all sizes, including small businesses that plan to scale. With a history spanning over 70 years and serving hundreds of thousands of businesses globally, ADP brings extensive industry knowledge and expertise to its offering.

ADP’s platform is designed to grow your business. It starts with basic payroll processing and tax filing and extends to various HR-related services, including benefits management, retirement, insurance, and more. It also offers employee self-service and mobile app functionality, providing easy access for your workforce.

The platform integrates seamlessly with many popular business software solutions, allowing businesses to connect ADP with their existing systems. ADP’s customer service also has a solid reputation, providing support when needed.


  • Comprehensive payroll and HR solution
  • Employee self-service and mobile app
  • Integrates with popular business software


ADP offers customized pricing based on your business needs. Visit their website for a custom quote.


  • Extensive HR features
  • Scalable to grow with your business
  • Excellent customer service


  • Pricing is not transparent.
  • Some users report the interface is not as intuitive as competitors.

4. Paychex

Paychex offers a robust suite of payroll, HR, and benefits management solutions suitable for businesses of all sizes. This provider is known for its high degree of customizability, allowing businesses to choose and pay for only the needed services.

From basic payroll processing and tax filing to more complex tasks like employee benefits administration and compliance assistance, Paychex covers a wide range of HR needs. The service also offers employee self-service and a mobile app, which helps increase accessibility and convenience for your workforce.

A standout feature of Paychex is its dedicated payroll specialist offering. Every client gets a specialist as their main point of contact, providing personalized support and expertise. This can be particularly helpful for small businesses needing a dedicated HR department.


  • Comprehensive payroll and HR services
  • Customizable service offering
  • Dedicated payroll specialist


Paychex provides customized pricing based on the services you need. You can request a free quote on their website.


  • Highly customizable
  • Wide range of services
  • Personalized support


  • Pricing is not transparent
  • Some features may be overkill for very small businesses.

5. Gusto

Gusto is an intuitive, easy-to-use payroll service ideally suited for small to medium-sized businesses. Gusto’s simplicity and elegant design streamlines payroll, benefits, and HR into one convenient and efficient tool.

With Gusto, you can automate payroll and tax filing processes, significantly reducing administrative time. In addition, Gusto handles benefits administration and offers a range of HR tools and resources that small businesses will find beneficial.

What stands out about Gusto is its clear and straightforward pricing structure, including features such as unlimited payroll runs, employee self-service, and health benefits administration, even in its basic plan. Customer support is readily accessible, providing peace of mind for businesses venturing into payroll services for the first time.


  • Payroll automation
  • Benefits Administration
  • Employee self-service


Gusto offers several pricing tiers based on the features you need. Check their website for the most current pricing details.


  • User-friendly interface
  • Clear pricing structure
  • Extensive features, even in the basic plan


  • Limited advanced HR features
  • May be too simple for larger businesses

6. Paycor

Paycor offers an all-in-one HR and payroll solution designed to streamline operations for small to medium-sized businesses. With Paycor, you can manage payroll, time and attendance, recruiting, and HR from a single platform.

Paycor’s standout feature is its customizability. The platform allows you to create custom workflows, fields, and reports to tailor the system to your needs. Also, it integrates with several third-party systems, enhancing its functionality and flexibility.

The service offers a mobile app, providing employees access to their data anytime, anywhere. Moreover, Paycor offers exceptional customer service, with each client assigned a dedicated support team to ensure a smooth and efficient experience.


  • All-in-one HR and payroll solution
  • High degree of customizability
  • Dedicated customer support team


Paycor’s pricing varies based on the services you need. Visit their website for a personalized quote.


  • Comprehensive solution
  • Highly customizable
  • Excellent customer service


  • Pricing is not transparent
  • Can be overwhelming for very small businesses

7. Intuit QuickBooks

Intuit QuickBooks is a robust payroll service widely recognized for its tight integration with QuickBooks accounting software. It’s an excellent solution for small businesses already using QuickBooks for their accounting needs, providing an all-in-one solution for bookkeeping and payroll.

QuickBooks Payroll offers automatic payroll runs, tax filing, direct deposits, and an employee portal where employees can access their pay stubs, tax forms, and more. Its intuitive interface and seamless integration with QuickBooks make payroll processing a breeze.

One of QuickBooks Payroll’s unique features is the inclusion of a workforce portal that allows employees to access pay stubs, W-2s, and other information online. The platform also supports a range of benefits, including health insurance and retirement plans.


  • Automatic payroll runs
  • Employee Portal
  • Integration with QuickBooks accounting software


Intuit QuickBooks offers different pricing plans based on the features included. Visit their website for more detailed pricing information.


  • Seamless integration with QuickBooks
  • Easy to use
  • Wide range of benefits


  • Might be less suitable for non-QuickBooks users
  • Advanced features require higher-tier plans

8. Rippling

Rippling is a comprehensive HR and payroll platform that stands out for its powerful automation capabilities. It’s an excellent choice for businesses seeking a streamlined and efficient way to manage payroll, HR, IT, and more in one centralized platform.

Rippling’s payroll software automates various payroll tasks, from tax filing to benefits deductions. Beyond payroll, Rippling also offers robust HR and IT management tools, providing a comprehensive solution for managing employees from onboarding to offboarding.

The platform supports flexible payment schedules, multiple pay rates, and garnishments, providing the flexibility to handle various payroll scenarios. With Rippling, businesses also access a dedicated customer support team to assist with queries or issues.


  • Comprehensive HR and payroll platform
  • Powerful automation capabilities
  • Flexible payroll management


Rippling offers customized pricing based on the services you need. Visit their website for a personalized quote.


  • Wide range of automation features
  • Consolidates HR, IT, and payroll in one platform
  • Dedicated customer support


  • Pricing is not transparent
  • Might be overwhelming for very small businesses

9. Deluxe

Deluxe is an established business service sector player, with a rich history spanning over a century. Its payroll service offering, Deluxe Payroll, is designed to simplify payroll management for small businesses while ensuring compliance with government regulations.

Deluxe Payroll provides various payroll processing features, including direct deposit, paper checks, detailed reports, and automatic tax filing. It also integrates seamlessly with popular accounting software, further streamlining your business operations.

One of the standout features of Deluxe Payroll is its dedicated support team that guides businesses through setup and beyond. This customer-centric approach and its extensive payroll features make Deluxe a worthy contender for small businesses seeking an easy-to-use, efficient payroll service.


  • Comprehensive payroll processing features
  • Integration with popular accounting software
  • Dedicated support team


Deluxe Payroll offers custom pricing based on the features you require. Check their website for a personalized quote.


  • Extensive payroll processing capabilities
  • Excellent customer service
  • Easy-to-use interface


  • Pricing information is not readily available.
  • Lacks some advanced HR features

10. Square

Best known for its payment processing solutions, Square also offers a payroll service tailored for small businesses, particularly those in the retail and hospitality sectors. Square Payroll stands out for its seamless integration with Square’s suite of business services.

Square Payroll provides all the essential features a small business would need: automatic payroll runs, tax filings, direct deposits, and more. It’s also designed to handle salaried employees and contract workers, making it an excellent option for businesses with a mix of worker types.

One unique feature of Square Payroll is its integration with Square’s point-of-sale (POS) system, which can automatically import employees’ hours for payroll. This can save considerable time and reduce errors associated with manual data entry.


  • Basic payroll features
  • Suits salaried employees and contract workers
  • Integration with Square’s POS system


Square Payroll has a transparent pricing model. For more detailed information, visit their website.


  • Seamless integration with other Square services
  • Good for a mix of worker types
  • Automatic import of employees’ hours


  • Limited advanced features
  • Might not be suitable for non-retail businesses

11. Papaya Global

Papaya Global offers a revolutionary global payroll service suitable for small businesses with international operations. Papaya Global is the way to go if you’re seeking to simplify the complex task of managing international payroll.

Papaya Global’s platform provides a unified global payroll, payments, and HR services solution. Its standout feature is the ability to manage, track, and process international payroll operations in over 140 countries.

One of the unique aspects of Papaya Global is its data analytics capability. Businesses get comprehensive, real-time reports that give insights into payroll costs across different regions, aiding strategic decision-making.


  • Unified global payroll, payments, and HR services
  • International payroll management
  • Real-time data analytics


Papaya Global offers customized pricing based on your specific needs. Visit their website for more details.


  • Ideal for international operations
  • Comprehensive data analytics
  • Simplifies global payroll management


  • Might be overkill for domestic-only businesses
  • Pricing is not transparent

12. Remote

Remote is another excellent solution for small businesses with a global workforce. The platform is designed to simplify international employment, providing a full suite of global payroll, tax, benefits, and compliance management services.

Remote’s payroll service simplifies global payroll by ensuring compliance with local labor laws and handling tax filings and benefits administration in various countries. It’s a true remote-first solution with features designed to support distributed teams.

One of Remote’s standout features is its commitment to providing a first-class employee experience. From localized contracts and benefits to seamless onboarding, Remote helps businesses attract and retain the best global talent.


  • Global payroll, tax, and benefits management
  • Compliance with local labor laws
  • Employee-centric features


Remote offers custom pricing plans based on your specific needs. Please refer to their website for a detailed quote.


  • Streamlines international payroll and HR
  • Ensures local compliance
  • Focus on employee experience


  • Pricing is not transparent
  • Might not be suitable for domestic-only businesses

Our Top Picks

In this swiftly evolving business landscape, selecting the right payroll service for your small business is imperative. Here’s a quick summary of our top picks based on their best use:

  • Bambee: Best for businesses looking for affordable, full-service HR and payroll solutions.
  • OnPay: Ideal for businesses that want a transparent, straightforward pricing model with no hidden costs.
  • ADP: Thanks to its extensive HR features, it is perfect for larger small businesses or those planning to scale.
  • Paychex: An excellent choice for businesses needing a comprehensive payroll, HR, and benefits management suite.
  • Gusto: Excellent for businesses desiring a user-friendly platform with robust features and excellent customer service.
  • Paycor: Suitable for businesses needing an easy-to-use, unified platform for payroll, HR, and timekeeping.

What are Payroll Services

At its core, payroll services handle the intricate and demanding task of paying your employees, making this crucial aspect of your business seamless. They cater to various functions such as calculating wages, withholding the right amount of taxes, processing direct deposits, issuing checks, and staying up-to-date with complex, ever-changing payroll tax laws.

However, payroll services extend well beyond mere paycheck processing. They are also responsible for managing your company’s payroll tax filings. They are tasked with preparing and filing payroll tax returns and making tax payments to local, state, and federal agencies. 

This ensures your business complies with the latest regulations, protecting you from penalties and tax-related issues.

Another crucial role of payroll services is dealing with year-end tax forms. These services prepare and distribute essential documents like the W-2 and 1099 forms for all your employees. This helps your team meet its tax obligations and lets you fulfil your business’s tax reporting requirements.

Contemporary payroll services have evolved to integrate other key HR-related tasks into their offerings. These can include time and attendance tracking, which allows for accurate computation of hours worked by hourly employees. 

They also often feature benefits administration, assisting your company in managing employee benefits like health insurance, retirement plans, and other perks.

Some payroll services offer HR tools such as employee onboarding, performance reviews, and employee record-keeping. These tools can help small businesses establish efficient HR practices and maintain compliance with labor laws.

Payroll services can also manage wage garnishments, which involve withholding part of an employee’s salary to pay off their debts. This process can be complex and time-consuming for employers to handle directly.

Benefits of Payroll Services for a Small Business

Outsourcing payroll can offer a wealth of benefits for small businesses. Let’s delve into these advantages in detail:

1. Reduction of Errors 

Payroll mistakes, such as incorrect tax withholdings or late wage payments, can lead to severe repercussions, including penalties from tax authorities and dissatisfaction among employees. Professional payroll services reduce the risk of such errors, as they have expertise in managing complex payroll processes and staying compliant with regulations.

2. Time-Saving

Payroll management can be time-consuming, particularly for small businesses without a dedicated HR department. Detailed tasks, such as calculating payroll taxes, managing deductions, processing end-of-year tax forms, and handling direct deposits, can be labour-intensive. 

By outsourcing these tasks, you free up precious hours to focus on strategic aspects of your business, such as growth and development.

3. Access to Expertise

A competent payroll service brings a wealth of experience to your business. These services stay abreast of the latest changes in tax laws, wage regulations, and labor laws. This knowledge can be invaluable, helping your business avoid compliance issues and potentially costly legal pitfalls.

4. Improved Security

Payroll processing involves handling sensitive data, including your employees’ personal and financial information. Professional payroll services use secure systems to protect this data from potential breaches, providing an extra layer of security.

5. Integration with Other Systems

Many payroll services integrate with your business’s other software systems, like accounting or human resources software. This integration can streamline your operations, enabling you to access all your crucial business data in one place.

6. Access to Added HR Services 

Many payroll services go beyond merely processing wages and provide additional HR services. These include benefits administration, worker’s compensation, retirement plan management, onboarding tools, time tracking, and assistance with HR compliance. 

These additional features can improve the overall efficiency of your HR functions and provide a more comprehensive experience for your employees.

7. Scalability

As your business grows, your payroll processes will become more complex. A good payroll service can scale your business, accommodating more employees, handling more complex payroll tasks, and offering additional services as your needs evolve.

How Small Businesses Can Get the Best Out of Payroll Services

Small businesses need to be proactive and strategic to fully reap the benefits of payroll services. Here are several ways to ensure you’re getting the most out of your chosen service:

1. Understand Your Business Needs

Identify what your business needs most before selecting a payroll service. Are you looking for basic payroll processing, or do you also need HR services like benefits management, time and attendance tracking, and compliance assistance? Understanding your needs will help you select a service that offers the right features for your business.

2. Leverage Integrations

Many payroll services offer integrations with other business systems, such as accounting software, HR platforms, or time-tracking systems. Take full advantage of these integrations to streamline your business processes and have all your essential data in one place.

3. Stay Informed

Payroll services often update their features and add new services. Stay updated with these changes and understand how they can benefit your business. This way, you can utilize the service to its full potential.

4. Ensure Proper Employee Classification

Misclassifying employees as independent contractors can lead to hefty fines. Your payroll service can assist you in correctly classifying workers to avoid compliance issues. Make sure to use this feature if it’s available.

5. Use the Service’s Expertise for Compliance

Compliance with tax laws and labor regulations can be complex and time-consuming. Payroll services are experts in these areas, so don’t hesitate to use their knowledge to your advantage. They can help ensure your business stays compliant, saving you from legal troubles.

6. Embrace Additional Services

 Many payroll services offer additional services beyond payroll, such as HR management, benefits administration, and time tracking. Embracing these services can streamline your operations, save time, and create a more comprehensive HR experience for your employees.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Here are some frequently asked questions about payroll services for small businesses:

1. Why should I use a payroll service?

A payroll service handles all aspects of paying your employees, saves time, reduces the risk of errors, and often offers added HR features.

2. Are payroll services expensive?

Pricing varies between providers. Some charge a flat monthly fee plus a per-employee cost, while others offer customized quotes.

3. Can I manage payroll myself?

While it’s possible, managing payroll can be time-consuming and complex, especially with changing tax laws and compliance requirements.

4. What’s the best payroll service for a small business?

The best service depends on your business’s specific needs. Factors like cost, features, and whether you have international employees all play a role.

5. Do payroll services offer HR features?

Many modern payroll services offer HR tools such as benefits administration, time tracking, and compliance assistance.

Josh Fechter
Josh Fechter is the founder of HR.University. He's a certified HR professional and has managed global teams across 5 different continents including their benefits and payroll. You can connect with him on LinkedIn here.