What is the Average Cost for Payroll Services?

The Milestone Team September 28, 2022
What is the average cost for payroll services_

When using a payroll service, there are typically two costs: base monthly costs and costs per employee per month. 

The cost of payroll services can range anywhere from $30 to $200 per month for a base account. In addition to a base account fee, payroll processing is usually charged per employee on average $10 to $25 per month. A one-time setup fee is usually charged as well. Additional costs will vary depending on whether you use basic payroll services or a full-service payroll provider. 

Payroll Services

One of your most important responsibilities as a small business owner is payroll. In addition to enhancing employee satisfaction, accurate payroll keeps you in compliance. Whether you run a small business with a few employees or a large enterprise with thousands of workers, payroll can quickly become complex as you grow, have workers in multiple states, and become subject to legislative requirements regarding payroll, HR, and benefits

Whatever day payday lands on, it’s safe to say that it is the day the workforce looks forward to most as they rely heavily on their paychecks. But to what extent? In a survey by QuickBooks Payroll, 1,000 employees over the age of 18 from businesses of all sizes, 1 in 6 of our respondents said a single inaccurate paycheck would make them quit their job. A company’s financial security and reputation are reflected in its ability to payroll process being on time and accurately.  When paychecks are not made on time or errors occur, employees may lose trust in the company. The more accurate and timely paychecks are, the more engaged and motivated employees are.

Payroll service providers often offer several different need-based packages, and the pricing of software-based payroll services can vary from platform to platform. There are many factors that can affect pricing.

  • Frequency: How often do you plan on paying your employees– weekly, bi-weekly, semi-monthly, or monthly? 
  • Number of Employees: How many active employees do you have on staff?
  • Direct Deposit: A direct deposit is an electronic transfer of funds from one bank account to another. Funds are transferred from employers’ business accounts to employees’ accounts. Your employees will find it convenient, safe, and reliable. You can also save money by using payroll services with direct deposit rather than setting up direct deposit with your bank and managing your own payroll.
  • Geographically dispersed workforce: Where are your employees located? In one state or in multiple states?
  • Tax assistance: Filing your taxes as well as sending out forms and documents. 
  • Employee benefits: Manages workers’ compensation and 401(k) and healthcare

Quickbooks Payroll Cost

Quickbooks Online is a monthly subscription accounting software. For the first few months of QuickBooks Online, first-time users typically receive a free trial or a discount. There are four tiers of plans for the company’s most popular accounting software choices for small-business owners:

Simple Start 

Basic accounting tools on a single-user license for $30 per month.


All Simple Start features for up to three users, plus bill management and time tracking for $55 per month.


All Essentials features for up to five users, plus project tracking and inventory tracking for $85 per month.


All Plus features for up to 25 users, plus a dedicated account team, advanced business analytics, employee expenses, batch invoicing, workflow automation, and more for $200 per month.

With its global brand recognition, QuickBooks Online is the most widely used cost-effective accounting software in the world. Milestone recommends using Quickbooks Online for accounting, but we do not recommend its payroll function. We believe accounting and HR software, in general, should radically reduce the amount of administrative tasks and be cost-effective. Milestone recommends Gusto or Rippling, as the industry standard for Payroll. 

Gusto is a Human Resources tool that offers payroll, benefits, hiring, and management resources in one complete cost-effective service. When you need a simple solution, Gusto is the perfect fit for your business! With Gusto, payroll takes just a few clicks. Make your payroll easier with their trusted system of automated tools. 

With Rippling, you can manage payroll, benefits, HR, and IT in one comprehensive platform.  By bringing all your employee information and systems together, you will be able to automate a lot of your busy work. It is the most technologically advanced and modern solution on the market today, as Rippling integrates with more than 400 apps. This remote team collaboration software has unique features, including inventory management and device management, but is easy to set up and use for you and your employees. When it comes to businesses with remote employees, Rippling has proved to be the best option.

Cheapest Payroll Service

The cheapest payroll service is Wave. It is the best free software in the market right now, which offers a lot of features in its free model with unlimited income and expense tracking, unlimited bank and credit card connections, complete invoices with credit card and bank payment functionality, and accounting reporting for past due invoices, cash flow, profit & loss. 

The price breakdown is $35 monthly & $6 per active employee it includes:

  • Direct deposit, T4s, and full tax remittances.
  • You are guaranteed to receive accurate results.
  • An easy-to-follow step-by-step guide to help you set it up.
  • Easily accessible forms and documents.

However, there are significant risks that come along with using inexpensive payroll software. From a compliance perspective, You typically get what you pay for. The role of accounting in business compliance and decision-making is crucial. It is worthwhile to invest in systems that will work long-term. If affordability is a concern, Gusto – our simple small business recommendation – provides inexpensive starter tiers for small businesses. 

Outsource your Payroll with Milestone

Having decades of combined experience in both accounting and human resources, Milestone is ready to help you grow your business and help you succeed. Contact us today to discuss your Payroll needs and get started with Milestone’s payroll services for small businesses

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