Guide to Finding Low-Cost Payroll Services for Small Business

Finding affordable payroll services is crucial for small businesses to manage their finances efficiently. In 2024, small companies can choose from a range of cost-effective payroll systems tailored to their specific needs.

Understanding Payroll Services

Payroll services are essential for any business, handling employee payment processing, tax filing, and compliance with labor laws. For small businesses, finding a cost-effective solution without compromising on quality is vital. The best payroll services for small companies offer comprehensive features at competitive prices, ensuring smooth operations.

Key Features of Affordable Payroll Services

  1. Automated Payroll Processing: Modern payroll systems automate the calculation and distribution of employee salaries, reducing errors and saving time.
  2. Tax Filing and Compliance: Payroll services manage tax filings, ensuring compliance with federal, state, and local regulations.
  3. Direct Deposit and Payment Options: Offering direct deposit and other payment methods provides convenience for employees.
  4. Employee Self-Service: Employee portals allow staff to access pay stubs, tax forms, and personal information.
  5. Integration with Accounting Software: Seamless integration with accounting systems simplifies financial management.

Top Low-Cost Payroll Services for 2024

1. Gusto

Gusto is renowned for its user-friendly interface and comprehensive features tailored for small businesses. It offers full-service payroll, including tax filing, direct deposits, and employee benefits management. Gusto’s pricing starts at $39 per month plus $6 per employee, making it an affordable option for many small businesses in areas like Atlanta, Chicago, and San Francisco.

2. QuickBooks Payroll

QuickBooks Payroll is a robust option for businesses already using QuickBooks accounting software. It provides automatic tax calculations, filings, and employee self-service portals. The pricing starts at $45 per month plus $4 per employee. This service is popular in regions such as Los Angeles, Houston, and Miami due to its seamless integration with QuickBooks.

3. Patriot Software

Patriot Software offers budget-friendly payroll services with a straightforward interface. It provides basic payroll processing and tax filing starting at $10 per month plus $4 per employee. Patriot Software is widely used in smaller markets such as Boise, Portland, and Austin.

4. OnPay

OnPay delivers comprehensive payroll services, including automated tax filings and employee benefits management. It charges a flat fee of $36 per month plus $4 per employee. OnPay is a top choice for businesses in cities like Denver, Nashville, and Raleigh, thanks to its affordability and robust features.

5. Square Payroll

Square Payroll is ideal for businesses already using Square’s payment processing services. It offers full-service payroll and benefits management starting at $29 per month plus $5 per employee. This service is particularly beneficial for small businesses in retail-heavy regions like Seattle, Phoenix, and Orlando.

Factors to Consider When Choosing Payroll Services


While affordability is crucial, it’s essential to consider the value provided. Compare the base fees and per-employee charges across different providers. For instance, Gusto and QuickBooks Payroll have higher base fees but offer extensive features that can justify the cost.


Ensure the payroll service offers all necessary features for your business, such as tax filing, direct deposits, employee self-service portals, and compliance management. Patriot Software and OnPay, for example, provide essential services at lower costs but may lack some advanced features.

Ease of Use

A user-friendly interface is vital for efficient payroll management. Services like Gusto and Square Payroll are known for their intuitive platforms, making them ideal for businesses with limited payroll experience.

Customer Support

Reliable customer support can make a significant difference, especially during the initial setup and tax season. Look for providers with robust support options, such as QuickBooks Payroll and OnPay, which offer extensive customer service resources.


If you use accounting or HR software, choose a payroll service that integrates seamlessly with your existing systems. QuickBooks Payroll is an excellent choice for businesses already using QuickBooks accounting software.

Regional Considerations

Different regions may have varying labor laws and tax requirements, so choosing a payroll service that understands local regulations is crucial. Here are some specific considerations for different areas:

  • Atlanta, GA: Look for services familiar with Georgia state tax laws.
  • Chicago, IL: Ensure the provider can handle Illinois-specific payroll requirements.
  • San Francisco, CA: Choose a service that complies with California’s stringent labor laws.
  • Los Angeles, CA: Look for providers experienced with both state and local regulations.
  • Houston, TX: Ensure the service can manage Texas’s tax requirements efficiently.
  • Miami, FL: Consider services familiar with Florida’s business environment.
  • Boise, ID: Look for providers that cater to smaller markets and understand Idaho’s regulations.
  • Portland, OR: Ensure compliance with Oregon’s labor laws.
  • Austin, TX: Choose a provider experienced with the Texas market.
  • Denver, CO: Consider services familiar with Colorado’s specific requirements.
  • Nashville, TN: Look for providers that can handle Tennessee’s tax and labor regulations.
  • Raleigh, NC: Ensure the service can manage North Carolina’s payroll requirements.
  • Seattle, WA: Choose a provider experienced with Washington’s labor laws.
  • Phoenix, AZ: Ensure the service can handle Arizona’s tax and employment regulations.
  • Orlando, FL: Look for providers familiar with the Florida market.


Finding the right low-cost payroll service involves balancing affordability with comprehensive features and reliable support. By considering factors like cost, features, ease of use, and regional expertise, small businesses can select the best payroll service to meet their needs in 2024. Whether you’re in a bustling city like San Francisco or a smaller market like Boise, there’s an affordable payroll solution to help streamline your business operations and ensure compliance with all regulations.