• Features & Benefits
  • Client Reviews
  • Pricing
  • Workflow
  • Materials & Technology
  • Common Questions
  • Worldwide Delivery
  • History of Architectural Models
  • Download Brochure/Guides
  • Featured Projects


Looking for a payroll service for your business? This guide provides you with everything you need to know about different types of payroll services, the state of the payroll industry, the key features to look for, how much you can expect to pay for a payroll service and answers to frequently asked questions.

In addition, we offer our recommendations on the payroll services we think are best for your needs, a rundown the most popular services and a comprehensive listing of other payroll services that might work for you.

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Features & Benefits

A growing number of businesses are finding value in outsourcing their payroll responsibilities. Today's payroll services handle several critical, time-consuming, tasks, including payroll processing and the calculating, filing and paying of payroll taxes.

Experts say that outsourcing payroll not only helps prevent errors that can be made when the work is done in-house, but it also frees up employee resources.

A recent report on the payroll industry by IBIS World shows that there are nearly 300,000 payroll and bookkeeping businesses in the United States that employ more than 1 million people. Full-service payroll companies account for 60 percent of the total number of businesses in this industry.

Overall, payroll and bookkeeping businesses generated $74 billion in revenue last year, up 5.4 percent over the past five years. To industry generated 9.1 billion in profit.

"As the number of businesses in the United States has grown each year over the past five years, the industry's consumer base has grown and corporate profit expansion has given more businesses the resources to afford outsourcing their payroll," the report's authors wrote." Over the five years to 2022, revenue is forecast to continue to increase, though at a slower rate compared with the previous five-year period as employment stabilizes, and companies in the industry are expected to attract customers to new cloud-based products and services."

The report shows that of the businesses in the U.S. using payroll services, the most prominent are technology-producing companies, healthcare providers and manufacturing institutions. Those three types of companies alone account for more than 40 percent of the total organizations using payroll services.

"Operators in these industries are often highly specialized and prefer to outsource human resources such as payroll and bookkeeping services to focus on their core, profit-generating business functions," the study's authors wrote.


Today's payroll systems offer a lot more than just payroll processing. From tax filing and direct deposit to employee portals and mobile apps, many of today's payroll services are full of valuable features. Here is a rundown of some key payroll service features and how many of the providers we researched offer them.

Tax Services

Provider handles payroll tax responsibilities, including the calculating, filing and payment of all payroll taxes to the proper federal, state and local agencies. They also provide year-end W-2 and 1099 tax forms.

Employee Access

Employees can access the system online to review their pay stubs and receive their year-end tax forms.

Mobile App/Website

Employers can review and process their payrolls from smartphones and tablets.

Tax Guarantee

Provider offers a no obligation test of the payroll system for no charge.

Free Trial

The provider guarantess that all payroll taxes are filed correctly and on time. If a mistake is made, the provider assumes all liability

Better Business Bureau Accredited

To become accredited, businesses must meet the eight principles that the BBB believes summarize important elements of creating and maintaining trust in business.


Intuit Payroll provides businesses of all sizes with some, or all, payroll and payroll tax services. The Intuit service is available in three different plans, which cost between $20 and $99 per month, plus $2 per employee. The basic plan only includes payroll processing, while the enhanced plan includes payroll processing and payroll tax calculations.

With the full-service plan, Intuit files and pays the required payroll taxes to all federal, state and local agencies on your behalf. It also includes a guarantee that if any payroll tax mistakes are made, Intuit will incur any penalties you incur. Intuit offers a 30-day free trial period for all its pricing plans.

Materials & Technology

Looking for a detailed breakdown of the more than 20 services we researched and analyzed? Download our comparison guide that offers details on each service, including its cost, features and customer service options.

Common Questions

We asked our Business.com community members to tell us what payroll services they use, the features they consider most important and the customer service methods they prefer

Worldwide Delivery

ADP is the most popular payroll service among Business.com readers. Besides its popularity among our own rmembers, ADP has a strong reputation as a payroll industry leader. It is used by businesses across a wide range of industries and holds a 12 percent share of the entire payroll industry marketplace, according to a recent report from IBISWorld

Part of what makes ADP so appealing is that it offers specified payroll platforms for small, mid-size and large businesses. It's Run platform is designed for businesses with fewer than 50 employees, while its Workforce Now platform is built for businesses with between 50 and 999 employees. Larger organizations with more than 1,000 employees have access to a range of options with ADP, including its Streamline platform.

While the platforms differ in some of the features they offer and the additional ADP services they integrate with, they all offer the same core payroll services, including the ability to run payroll online, over the phone or via a mobile app. In addition, they all calculate, file, deposit and reconcile your payroll taxes, come with a tax payment guarantee that no errors will be made and provide employees with year-end tax forms.

Other features the platforms include are automatic new hire reporting, the ability to pay employees via direct deposit, printed check or prepaid debit card, and access to a host of payroll, labor and wage reports.

Among the programs the ADP payroll platforms integrate with are HR management, time and attendance systems, talent management, benefits administration and retirement services.

The cost for ADP's payroll service varies based on the platform being used and the number of employees being paid. For a business with 10 employees payroll process and complete tax services, we were quoted prices starting at $60 per payroll run. The costs increased by about $2 for each additional employee.

History of Architectural Models

While pricing varies from provider to provider, the cost structure most payroll services use is similar. Most services charge a base fee, plus a per employee charge.

  •  Base fees typically range between $20 and $100 depending on the services included.
  •  Per employee costs can range from $1 to $12 each.

How often you are charged also varies by provider. Some providers charge fees monthly, while others charge them each time a business runs their payroll. The providers that have monthly charges allow for unlimited payroll runs each month.

While some providers offer just one package that includes all of their services, others offer several plans at various price points that include different levels of service. For example, the cheapest plan may include payroll processing only, with the most expensive plan featuring additional services, including all payroll tax filing and payment responsibilities.

Besides the monthly or per pay run costs, some providers have additional charges for things such as setting up the system and completing year-end tax services.

Download Brochure/Guides

When getting ready to sign up with a provider, there are several steps you should take to ensure you are getting the best deal possible, including:

  •  Check to see if they offer a discount for agreeing to a long-term contract.
  •  See if they are offer discounts for businesses with a large number of employees.
  •  Ask if they would be willing to waive any first-time costs they charge to land your business.
  •  See if they would be willing to match the price of one of their cheaper competitors.

Also, it is critical that you review all the contract details before signing anything. Make sure the contract includes everything you have agreed to and ensure it doesn't have any built-in price increases after an extended period of time.

Additionally, read all the print when it comes to cancelling the service. Know if there are any costs associated with that and how much notice you need to give.

Featured Projects

Looking for a detailed breakdown of the more than 20 services we researched and analyzed? Download our comparison guide that offers details on each service, including its cost, features and customer service options.

Payroll Services Comparison Guide

How are you handling payroll? Our helpful comparison chart helps you identify the best payroll service for your business. Download PDFPay day: employees love it, employers dread it. Payroll management can be painful and time consuming for any employer but thankfully there are payroll service providers to help alleviate the pressure and stress of running a business. Payroll services have seen benefits from the advancement in technology which ranges from mobile payroll applications to improved interfaces.

Payroll Services Checklist

With a variety of existing payroll services providers, choosing the right one can be a challenge. Use this checklist to compare options. Download PDFAs a business owner, you know that your employees are your most valuable asset. Taking care of their needs ensures that business's success, and the most basic need of your employees is being paid for the hard work they do. Payroll services not only help you effectively pay your employees on time, but can also remove the hassle of dealing with both state and federal taxes.

Guide to Payroll Services

One in three business owners face IRS penalties for payroll errors. Pay employees anytime, anywhere, and safely with a payroll service. Download PDFIt's a common goal to find a job that you love, but it's not sheer conviction that keeps us going to work day after day, year after year—it's money. Your hard work, and that of your employees, deserves to be rewarded with consistent and dependable pay. Though at face value, paying your employees for their hours worked seems relatively straight-forward, there are many important factors to consider concerning your company’s payroll.

How to stop wasting time (and money) on payroll

Payroll is a beast with a bad attitude. This infographic shares how to simplify the process and combat further stress. Download Infographic

Payroll. It’s the pesky little HR demon that eats up your time, energy, and money.

To keep the beast at bay, you're required to spend hour upon hour tracking employees' hours, monitoring time off, and keeping up with tax filing.

None of us like doing it, but we do. And what's worse is -- just when you think it’s all done and the checks are ready to go out -- a new pay period begins and you start the battle all over again.

Solving Payroll Problems: The New Employee Management System

Examine the headaches of today's human resources managers and how advanced, yet affordable, payroll services can help cut HR costs and risks. Download PowerPoint

For a more robust employee management system through your payroll services providers, you may choose to add benefits management, 401(k) management, or other enhancements to the basic payroll processing service. Here are some common HR obstacles and ways in which payroll services can mitigate these challenges.