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Gusto | Reviews by SmallBizGenius

ByIsidora Alimpic
January 25,2022
We form affiliate partnerships with some of the companies mentioned in our reviews, which means we may get a small monetary compensation every time you purchase a product using the links on our website. This does not influence the contents of our reviews. Learn more by reading our Affiliate disclosure.

Basic plan starts at $19/month + $6/month per person

pros thumb up Pros
  • Affordable pricing
  • Many positive Gusto reviews
  • Great customer service
  • Automated payroll
  • Gusto Cashout
cons thumb down Cons
  • D- BBB rating

The Cambridge English Dictionary defines the word gusto as “great energy, enthusiasm, and enjoyment that is experienced by someone taking part in an activity.” That is exactly the work ethic we see with the company boasting the same name. 

The company we’re talking about is, yes, you guessed it, Gusto – a startup dedicated to aiding small businesses with team care and management.


Gusto or ZenPayroll, as it was first called, was founded in 2011 by Josh Reeves, Tomer London and Edward Kim. The name change came about in 2015 when the company ventured beyond payrolls and expanded its services to HR, employee benefits, hiring and onboarding, time tracking and financial tools.

Over 100,000 businesses have found Gusto’s all-in-one user-friendly software to be the best when it comes to employee satisfaction, compliance, and overall efficiency. The goal of Gusto is to keep your firm running like a well-oiled machine.

It’s encouraging to know that Gusto reviews on Glassdoor give it a solid 3.6 mark, meaning that Gusto’s staff is predominantly pleased with their work conditions. After all, how can you trust a company that doesn’t stand by its own philosophy? As far as customer opinions go, Gusto has a great 4.1 score on Trustpilot. Having seen all of these positive endorsements, we were shocked to see Gusto’s D- rating on BBB. From what we could tell, it just seems like it has been somewhat neglectful of its BBB profile, resulting in failure to resolve a couple of complaints.

From our Gusto review, you will see that, although a poor BBB rating is not good for its image, it by no means represents the actual quality of its services. This doesn’t diminish how reputable BBB is, it just means that there are exceptions.

What Does Gusto Do?

Imagine you had a dream of owning a pub. Nothing big, just a quaint, local watering hole, with a few workers and a lot of charm. You finally open it, and it turns out that running it isn’t as fun or simple as you’d thought it would be. That’s where Gusto software swoops in to save the day.


It goes without saying that the first steps towards operating a business involve paying your team. Gusto’s centralized dashboard allows you to keep track of their work hours, time off and salaries. You will even get reminders for when it’s time to run payroll. Once you do, a few clicks are all you will need to make direct deposits into your employees’ accounts. You can use Gusto to pay contractors too or print out checks. That’s it, quick and easy, just how it should be.

What about payroll taxes? With Gusto, tax payments are automated. Local, state and federal taxes are calculated and filed after every submitted payroll. Without any fuss, Gusto takes care of this tedious, yet important task for you.

Hiring and Onboarding

So, you want to serve some food in that pub of yours and you’ve heard of a good cook living nearby. Gusto can assist you in making a customized offer letter for them. If you’d like to send letters to a couple other potential hires just in case, you can create a single template and then tweak it for each individual.

Choosing the new employee isn’t the end of the process – far from it. Luckily, Gusto can help you create an onboarding checklist, delegate tasks and give your employee access to software that they might need. This way, you won’t get overwhelmed or forget any crucial steps. 

Instead of collecting piles of documents in your office or home, your Gusto account lets you store them neatly in one place. From there, you can review them, send them and have them signed electronically whenever you want.


Most people you ask will tell you that what they most value when looking for a job are health benefits, which is something Gusto is perfectly aware of. Therefore, before you start sifting through thousands of health insurance plans yourself, consider letting the experienced advisors from the Gusto Benefits Team do the research and save you time. If you already have an insurance plan, the support team can work with your carrier to transfer it to Gusto.

Giving your employees the care they deserve is expensive. However, you don’t have to worry about going outside of your budget limits. Using Gusto, you can come up with different payment options for various types of coverage. Aside from medical, dental and vision benefits, you can offer:

  • 401(k) retirement plans
  • Life and disability insurance
  • Health savings accounts
  • Commuter benefits
  • College savings plans
  • Workers’ compensation
  • Flexible spending accounts

Every member of your team enrolls themselves and selects the coverage options that best suit their specific needs. Gusto payroll and health insurance are synced, so the required payments are made automatically, relieving you of yet another chore.

Gusto Cashout

One of Gusto’s new features enables you to provide your trusted workers with an additional perk of withdrawing funds between paydays. They can withdraw up to 40% of their paycheck twice a month. The money will come out of their next paycheck, so it doesn’t affect your books one bit. The Cashout feature doesn’t cost you or your employees anything, it’s just there as an extra bonus of cooperating with this company. 

Innovation is a regular part of that partnership, as Gusto reviews the market information available and comes up with solutions to problems you might not have even been aware of.

Time Tracking

Monitoring how much your staff is working, their time off, and upcoming holidays might seem easy when there are only two or three employees to worry about. But what if you have more, are planning on expanding, or operate a business across multiple locations? It’s starting to sound a bit daunting, isn’t it? If only there was a way for a machine to do that… Oh, right, there is. The Gusto time tracking system has an easy-to-use interface that pretty much anyone can master in a matter of seconds. Even so, if you have a time tracking app that you’d prefer more, Gusto won’t mind. Whichever one you choose, you won’t encounter a single problem connecting it to Gusto’s payroll software.


Human resource experts and tools might not be a necessity, but they make running a business less difficult and quicker. You will be in safe hands with Gusto’s experts who are certified by SHRM (Society for Human Resource Management) and HRCI (Human Resource Certification Institute). The Gusto HR resources are abundant – from job description templates to compliance reports, administrators will be left with little to be desired. The only downside is that these services are reserved for top-tier members.

How Much Does Gusto Cost?

Depending on the size of your organization and your budget, you can start using Gusto by selecting one of the four plans:

  • Basic
  • Core
  • Complete
  • Concierge 


For an extremely affordable amount of $19/month + $6/month per person, you can get the Basic beta plan. It’s intended for very small businesses, and it covers essential Gusto payroll services such as:

  • Unlimited payrolls
  • Running payrolls in all 50 states
  • Automatic tax filing and payment
  • Four-day direct deposit
  • State and Federal Unemployment Insurance
  • W-2s and 1099s
  • Garnishments (plus child-support payments excluding South Carolina)
  • Multiple pay rates and schedules
  • Tip credits
  • Paid-time-off policy tracking
  • Holiday pay
  • Time-off tracker and reporting
  • State new hire reporting
  • Payroll reports
  • Employee access to paystubs and tax forms
  • Lifetime account access for employees
  • Self-onboarding
  • Payday emails
  • New hire welcome
  • Profiles for teams, departments, and managers
  • E-sign I-9 and W-4
  • Calendar reminders
  • Integrated pay-as-you-go policies
  • Automated billing
  • Online estimates


The Core Gusto pricing plan was also designed with modestly-sized teams in mind, but for $39/month plus $6/month per person, it adds benefits and a few payroll features to the Basic package, and those are:

  • Running payrolls across multiple states
  • Two-day direct deposit
  • Accounting integrations
  • Time-tracking integrations
  • Payroll on AutoPilot
  • Gusto Cashout
  • Licensed health benefits advising
  • Online enrollment
  • Employee support
  • ACA, HIPAA, ERISA compliance
  • Online offer letters
  • Onboarding checklist
  • Online document storage


The Complete package has everything we’ve discussed so far in this review, aside from HR assistance. With it, you get the best value for your money out of all four plans that are offered by Gusto, the price being $39/month plus $12/month per person. So, for the same base payment as with the previous plan and a mere $6 more per person, you receive several additions:

  • Next-day direct deposit
  • Custom onboarding checklist
  • Software provisioning
  • E-sign custom documents
  • Customizable admin permissions
  • Manager permissions
  • Gusto’s time tracker
  • Time-off requests
  • Automated PTO and payroll sync
  • PTO requests
  • Custom paid holidays
  • Org chart
  • Coworker directory and fun facts 
  • Custom fields for employee profiles
  • Anonymous employee surveys
  • Survey trend analysis


The Concierge option is the most expensive plan, and even with the many HR-related assets, we’re not sure if it’s worth the $149/month pulse $12/month per person cost. Nevertheless, the Gusto HR reviews we’ve seen are predominantly positive, which basically translates to you determining for yourself if these services are going to significantly elevate your business endeavors. Aside from everything from the Complete plan, you will receive:

  • Actionable feedback
  • Unlimited access to HR experts
  • HR compliance help
  • Employee relations advising
  • Custom employee handbook
  • Job description templates
  • HR guides and policy templates
  • Harassment prevention training
  • Proactive compliance updates
  • Direct line for phone support

Add-On Benefits

The benefits shown in the table below can be added to Gusto’s employee care. You just need to contact Gusto, and one of its brokers will guide you through the necessary steps.



Add'l. cost

Workers’ comp



401(k) retirement



529 college savings



Health savings accounts


$200 ann. service charge

Commuter benefits


$200 ann. service charge

Flexible spending accounts


$200 ann. service charge

* $18/month minimum

** $20/month minimum

Which Integrations Does Gusto Offer?

Compared to other payroll companies, the selection of Gusto integrations is truly impressive in both quality and quantity. You’ll have your pick of integrations for:

  • Accounting (FreshBooks, Xero, QuickBooks, QuickBooks Online, Aplos, ZipBooks and Autobooks)
  • Time tracking (Homebase, TSheets, When I Work, Deputy, Ximble, Boomr, Time Tracker and 7shifts)
  • Point of sale (Clover, SpotOn and Upserve)
  • Business operations (Procare, Trainual, Veryfi, Accelo, ClienTrak!, Hubstaff and Vagaro)
  • Expense management (Expensify and Receipt Bank)

How to Get in Touch with Gusto

Gusto’s customer support has a few layers to it. If you’re a non-member, you can reach its representatives by phone or live chat Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The next Gusto support tier refers to paying members. They are entitled to a prolonged time interval Monday through Friday from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m. for phone, email, and chat assistance. There’s also a direct phone line available for additional support – you receive an exclusive phone number that grants you the fastest response times possible.

Our team reached out to Gusto’s support representatives for the sake of testing out their speed and expertise. We are happy to report that their response times were satisfactory and their advice was helpful and easy to follow, not to mention how pleasant the advisors were. In all honesty, having read many Gusto reviews chock full of nothing but praise, we were not surprised by our experience.

Before contacting Gusto, you could take a look at its exceptional resources, as there is little you can’t find there. Calculators, tools, articles, guides and accountant-finding are all available, free of charge. Gusto’s experts have even set up a COVID-19 resource hub for information and tips on navigating these unprecedented circumstances.

Related products and services

Is Gusto payroll safe?

Gusto has several security measures in place, including encryption, software testing, an on-site security team and more. The Gusto company is dedicated to keeping your data safe; after all, it would be bad for business not to!

How much does Gusto charge for payroll?

Gusto’s payroll services are embedded in all four pricing plans, along with many other features. If you’re only interested in the payroll part of the Gusto repertoire, we would suggest getting the Basic membership. It mainly encompasses payroll-related assistance, and its price is set at an affordable $19/month plus $6/month per person.

How long does Gusto direct deposit take?

The direct deposit times are determined by pricing packages. With the cheapest Basic plan, you have to wait four days for direct deposits. The Core offer splits the waiting time in half – two days and, lastly, next-day direct deposits are guaranteed by the two top-tiered packages.

Is Gusto a good company to work for?

There are plenty of indicators that point towards Gusto being a good place to work at. The Gusto Glassdoor overall score is 3.6, with its San Francisco office scoring as high as 4.3. The Gusto reviews on that website don’t mention any major workplace issues. Additionally, Gusto can be found on the Best Workplaces for Women in 2019 list, the results of which are based on anonymous surveys collected by the Best Place to Work team.