Gusto Review

Get the lowdown on Gusto in our ultimate review, which goes over the available plans and what you get from this payroll service.

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Though Gusto is only available for customers in the US and lacks the mobile app that other providers offer, it’s a great choice for business owners. You can set up direct deposit for employees and handle their time off requests through the system.

What is Gusto?

Gusto is a payroll service provider that can help you manage requests from employees and their paychecks. Zen Payroll opened in 2012 as a company that offered payroll cloud support and services. It quickly became popular among small business owners in California, Texas, New York and Florida. Less than two years after opening, it handled more than $10 million in payouts every year. After receiving more support from investors, Zen Payroll became Gusto. You can now use the service to manage time off requests from employees and to make sure that they get the right paychecks as well as reach a dedicated customer support department.

Features and Services

The features and services that you get depend on which of the Gusto plans you pick. With the Contractor plan, you get support for 1099 workers. A 1099 worker is a contractor who is responsible for paying his or her own taxes. This plan makes it easy to create 1099 forms that you send out at the end of the year to show contractors how much they made. You also get help with sending them payments via direct deposit as well as a system that allows contractors to log in and keep track of their tax records and other information.


Those looking for something simple and easy to use might opt for the Core plan. It features direct deposit support for employees who have a linked bank card or account and helps them get paid within two days. You can view a checklist to keep track of what you need to do for your payroll every week and store documents online safely. Those who sign up for the Core plan also receive all the payroll support they need, including easy to follow records at tax time. It provides employees with a system that they can use to keep track of their records too.


The Complete plan is a more expensive option that reduces the time it takes for employees to get paid. Once they set up their direct deposit information, they’ll get paid the day after you release the payroll. Employees can set up profiles and access services designed for them that help them keep track of their hours worked and paid time off requests. You can use the time tracking function to record the hours that your employees worked to pay them for their time. This plan includes options for health benefits and workers’ comp cases too.


Though Gusto offers an even more expensive option called the Concierge plan, it is worth the cost due to the human resources support it offers from trained professionals. Those pros can both help you set up the system and answer questions that you have years from now. A dedicated resource center is available online for HR professionals that help them learn from each other and give feedback when needed. This center also allows you to create a custom handbook for employees, write templates for job listings, train on what to do with harassment claims and stay up to date on compliance regulations.

Who is This for?

Gusto is the best payroll service for those who have contractors working for them. Though the Contractor plan includes services specifically designed for 1099 workers, you get access to the same services with all the other plans. That can help you as your business grows from just contractors to traditional employees. Gusto is also a good service for those who no longer want to deal with paper checks. Not only can you pay employees with 48 hours or less of releasing your payroll, but you can let them request the Gusto Cashout program. This allows employees to request up to $500 from each paycheck sent to a savings account.

How it Works

Using Gusto is easy because you can sign up for a new account the first time that you visit the website. Though you need to enter your full name, work address and other basic information, you do not need to register a credit card. Gusto offers a free trial and asks for a credit card as you near the end of that trial. Once you have an account, you can log in with your information or through Google. The site also lets you link an Intuit or Xero account. You’ll then have the chance to pick the plan that you want and set up accounts for your employees.


The cost of using Gusto depends on which plan you select. Those who choose the Contractor plan pay only $6 per person and do not face any monthly fees. With the Core plan, you pay $39 a month, which is the base rate and an extra $6 for each employee you have. Gusto charges the same monthly base rate for the Complete plan and an additional $12 per employee. The most expensive plan is the Concierge plan, which charges a $149 monthly base fee and another $12 per person.

Customer Support

With an online troubleshooting guide, Gusto makes it easy for customers to get help. That guide walks you through common problems and includes tips on getting back on track. You just need to log into your account first and find the six-digit code attached to your account. Gusto has a customer support team onsite from 6 am to 5 pm on weekdays from Monday to Friday. You can contact either of the company’s offices in Denver, Colorado or San Francisco, California through the mail. If you decide to call Gusto directly, dial (866) 906-1740. Through your phone or computer, you also have the option of filling out an online contact form.

Final Verdict

Gusto is a strong option in the field of payroll service providers, though some did find that it was a little more expensive than the similar products cost. All customers have access to an easy to read interface that features bold colors and large buttons that help you find what you need. You can export records as needed and handle paid time off requests with ease. Gusto is one of the best payroll services for those who need a provider that can handle traditional workers and 1099 employees and grow with their businesses.