Pick a Payroll Service Provider for Your Startup

Popular Payroll Service Providers In Our Comparison: ADP, Onpay, Gusto, Paychex, Trinet, and Intuit Payroll

Before we go into different categories of comparison, it is important to say that all of them have the ability to process basic payroll functions. But when it comes to customer service and ability to adapt to small business needs, some are definitely better than others in our portfolio CEOs' experiences. 

Comparison Overview

 ADPOnPayGustoPayChexTrinetIntuit Payroll
Customer Service Wait TimeLong ShortestMinimal  Average  Average  Average  
Process Payroll R&D CreditsWorst GreatBestNoneAverage None
Payroll AutomationYesYesYesYesYesYes

Best Suited for Startup :  OnPay and Gusto

When startups looking to run payrolls, cost and convenience should be the two biggest factors to consider. For high growth startups, future scalability in terms of service provider's ability to grow with your company should also be considered. In our CEOs' experience, we found that Onpay and Gusto are the two favorite choices. Some startup CEOs don't know Onpay or Gusto at the getgo, but were quickly convinced once switched that those two are better and cheaper than the rest. Cost wise, Onpay is cheaper than Gusto and is one of the cheapest you can find while receiving a comprehensive service package as a SaaS. Gusto, on the other hand offers very intuitive user interfaces. Both companies also offer to manage some of the benefits (health insurance for example) at no extra cost. Onpay and Gusto also both have expanded HR management platform that startups can track employee records, histories, and benefits all under one login. 

Other Considerations:

ADP - Because most of our Startups have R&D payroll tax credits to claim at each quarter, we had to work with ADP constantly and fix ADP's mistakes and miscommunications internally to help our startups claim timely refunds. ADP is notoriously inefficient in helping claiming those refunds for our startups. Not only they make uneducated mistakes, they were slow to correct them. In several instances, they sat on the open cases for 8-10 months before any actions were taken, and we are talking about refunds that could have been received 8-10 months earlier. Not all things are bad with ADP. ADP is a large company, and offered HR services that others stayed away. One of our portfolio companies gave high remarks to ADP's HR services. 

OnPay - The best thing about OnPay has to be their customer service. When you call them, there is no wait time, and their chat option is also very responsive for those one-off questions. OnPay also has a knowledge repositories to help you figure out things like how to get state tax IDs. Given that they have the lowest cost, OnPay has become the go-to service provider if all other services were equally offered by others. 

Gusto - Gusto is a typical silicon valley startup (out of Y-Combinator) that has reached their unicorn status. Gusto is doing their best to offer more services and combine all features under the same dashboard. Most startups knew about Gusto if startup CEOs are also part of the silicon valley startup ecosystem.

PaycheX Its hard to say where Paychex stack up against the rest of the pack. Paychex manages their accounts using regional managers. That means if your regional manger is not very educated about what you need, then you are out of luck. In our comparisons, Paychex is like a step child with very few of our Companies using them, and won't consider them at the beginning either. 

Trinet - Trinet is a Professional Employment Organization (PEO) that can manager everything under one roof. Whats unique about PEO is that all of your employees are considered as Trinet employee from payroll standpoint. One benefit comes with this arrangement is that your employer insurance cost is relatively lower due to Trinet's ability to negotiate premium cost on your behalf. If insurance carrier choices and cost are the primary criteria to you when selecting HR/Payroll service providers, you might want to check Trinet out. Other than that, Trinet was not that relevant in our CEOs' decision making process. 

Intuit Payroll - Intuit offers 2 types of payroll services. The one we are comparing here is the more comprehensive version. While it is automated, but it has no ability to process R&D payroll tax refund claims. That's why we don't like them much.

If you have more questions or questions on selecting a payroll service for your company, feel free to leave a comment below or email us at info@technologycredit.io. We will be happy to address any questions you may have. 




28 4