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Gusto and Automatic Data Processing — better known as ADP — are two of the top competitors in cloud-based payroll software systems. Both can help you add up hours, calculate payroll, pay taxes and comply with federal regulations. However, is there a clear winner when it comes to the services offered by each?
RUN Powered by ADP
Starting at $39 monthly plus $6 per person. Contractor-only option is $6 per person.
Tax filing and payments
Federal, state and local taxes are calculated, filed and paid.
Calculates, files and pays federal, state and local taxes.
Ability to manage employee benefits
Employee health and financial benefits administration is included with all Gusto plans.
A range of group health insurance options to select from.
Employee access to portal
Lifetime access to their account to see paystubs, W-2s, hours worked and more.
Employees have access to pay history and up to three years of W-2s/1099s.
Phone, email and chat support available Monday - Friday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. Pacific Time.
24/7 phone and online support.
Ease of use
Easy-to-use platform with step-by-step guides, an “AutoPilot” feature to run payroll and a robust help center.
Straightforward dashboard that lets you run payroll from a computer or mobile device. Resource center, tools and webinars available.
Third-party integrations with QuickBooks, Xero, FreshBooks, Clover, Shopify and numerous other applications.
Export data into QuickBooks, Xero, Wave, Creative Solutions or a generic output file. Also time-tracking and HR integrations.
Gusto vs. ADP: Features
The most important thing to know about each payroll service is what it can do. The features for Gusto and ADP are organized based on their service plan. (The next section covers the cost of each service plan).
Gusto has three service plans, each with ascending pricing and services. Gusto also has an option for contractor-only employers, who pay the $6/employee rate and no base price. Here’s what you get with each plan:
ADP offers two different payroll products for small businesses based on the number of employees. ADP RUN, which is covered below, is for businesses with up to 49 employees and ADP Workforce Now is for businesses with 50 to 999 employees.
The features offered by both companies are quite similar. ADP RUN gets points for nice-to-have options like legal services and enhanced HR functions. However, Gusto’s solid feature selection in the Core package makes it the overall winner in this category. At its lowest plan level, Gusto not only runs payroll, files taxes and offers direct deposit, but it also handles wage garnishments, health benefits administration and workers’ compensation — features only available at a higher plan level or as an add-on with ADP RUN.
Gusto vs. ADP: Cost
Gusto and ADP offer tiered pricing models with a monthly fee based on the service plan selected and the number of employees included in your payroll run. Both also have add-on options that will increase your monthly cost if you select them.
Here’s the cost breakdown for Gusto’s plans:
Gusto Core: $39 per month, plus $6 per employee per month.
Gusto Complete: $39 per month, plus $12 per employee per month.
Gusto Concierge: $149 per month, plus $12 per employee per month.
Gusto also offers a contractor-only option that’s $6 per person without an additional base fee.
ADP RUN is a quote-based product that’s designed for businesses with a maximum of 49 employees. Each service plan for ADP RUN — Essential, Enhanced, Complete and HR Pro — features increasing pricing. However, you would have to contact ADP directly for a quote based on your business, number of employees and what features you need. ADP offers three free months of RUN when you sign up.
We’re selecting Gusto because we’re a proponent of transparent pricing that allows you to compare the cost of products and services. Also, unlike ADP, Gusto doesn’t limit your accessibility based on the size of your business. This means you can use Gusto as your business grows. With ADP, you have to change to the Workforce Now product once your business exceeds 49 employees. While Workforce Now does come with many of the same features as RUN, having to change services can be a headache.
Gusto vs. ADP: User reviews
Now that we’ve reviewed features and costs, let’s see how users rate Gusto and ADP.
Gusto user reviews
4.3 out of 5 stars on G2 Crowd.
7.1 out of 10 stars on TrustRadius.
On average, customer reviews of Gusto are largely positive. In fact, according to G2 Crowd, over 75% of reviewers gave the payroll product 5 stars. Customers commented that Gusto is user-friendly and affordable. Users also said it integrates well with other software apps. However, not all Gusto customers were fully satisfied and concerns were raised about inadequate customer support and tax issues.
ADP user reviews
4.6 out of 5 stars on G2 Crowd.
7.9 out of 10 stars on TrustRadius.
The customer ratings of ADP RUN are slightly higher than Gusto. ADP RUN users gave a rating of 5 stars around 80% of the time according to G2 Crowd. Users commented on the variety of services provided, ease of use and good customer service. On the other hand, some RUN customers thought the cost could be lower and experienced long hold times when calling in for help.
It should be noted that both Gusto and ADP scored poorly in customer reviews from the Better Business Bureau, each achieving only 1 out of 5 stars. Issues that involved taxes were mentioned by users of both products in their reviews.
Although it was close, ADP RUN was able to edge out Gusto in this category. ADP RUN posted higher star ratings from the customer review websites we looked at and also a higher percentage of users who were willing to give it a full 5 stars on G2 Crowd. However, because of the close ratings, you may want to explore customer reviews further for both products to see if the issues existing users experience would have an impact on your business.
A version of this article was first published on Fundera, a subsidiary of NerdWallet