What is The Cheapest Payroll Service: Everything You Need to Know

The Milestone Team October 26, 2022
Cheapest payroll service

There are hundreds of payroll services and software solutions on the market, and at Milestone, we’re committed to staying abreast of the marketplace to ensure we’re recommending the best products. In this article, we delve into some of the more affordable payroll services available, catering especially to the unique needs of small businesses.

Navigating the world of payroll can be a daunting task for any business owner. It’s not just about finding a service that handles the basics; it’s about discovering a solution that offers the right balance of cost-effectiveness, ease of use, and comprehensive features to streamline your payroll process. Whether you’re a burgeoning startup or an established small business looking to optimize your payroll operations, understanding the nuances of what each service offers versus its cost is crucial.

We explore not only the cheapest options on the market but also weigh their features against their pricing, helping you to make an informed decision that aligns with your business’s financial strategy and growth objectives. From free software with essential features to scalable solutions with a range of add-ons, we’ll guide you through the cheapest payroll services perfect for small businesses in today’s ever-evolving business landscape.

Are there free payroll services for small businesses

Are there free payroll services for small businesses?

Yes, free payroll software exists. But the reality is that the use cases for free payroll software are extremely limited. Payroll4Free is the best “free” software company on the market. Their software allows you to house 25 employees for free. The interface is relatively simple, and it integrates with QBO. Payroll4Free has the essential features. It can handle direct deposits, payroll processing, taxes, multiple contract types, and PTO. One major con is that it only works on Windows software. It also has no mobile app. Additionally, it will force you to watch ads.

If your business fits the niche market for Payroll4Free, then by all means try it while your business is getting established. Most other free payroll services lack direct deposit, which is becoming more and more necessary in the modern business landscape.

Ultimately, best practice is to avoid using free payroll services. As your business grows, the price for a quality, low-cost software will be well worth it. 

What is the cheapest payroll software for scaling small businesses?

The best low-cost and scalable payroll services for small businesses are Patriot, Gusto, and Onpay. These companies combine effectiveness with a low-price. 

Patriot is a great option for small businesses that want to start with the bare minimum and upgrade as needed. Patriot offers $17/month payroll plus $4/month per employee. This does not include tax filings. Their full-service payroll is $37/month with the same employee cost. It includes sales tax filings, but multiple states are an additional $12/month. Patriot’s main advantage is its ease of use and administrative support. Its main con is additional fees and lack of additional HR features. 

Gusto starts at $40/month plus $6/month per employee. Gusto is rich with add-on features, and it is simple to set-up. Its pricing makes it great for small businesses, but its add-ons make it one of the most scalable low-cost payroll solutions. The downside is the extra cost for multiple state-tax filings. 

Onpay starts with the same pricing as Gusto. The major advantage of Onpay is it does not charge for multiple state tax filings. This is really advantageous for a small business with a spread out workforce. Onpay can also help with benefits administration and onboarding. They do not have as many HR add-ons as Gusto, but their core packaging is very comparable. 

What is the average cost of payroll services for small businesses?

Payroll services for small businesses include both the cost of payroll software and payroll management. The average cost for a payroll software is around $6-$15 per employee per month plus a base monthly fee between $40-$80. There’s an additional $10-$25 per employee per month for any outsourced payroll, or nearly $40,000 annually for a payroll specialist. 

Let Milestone help with your payroll problems.

We know and believe in the entrepreneurial journey at Milestone. We are here to help take stress off your shoulders, so you can focus on building your business. Our professionals have experience with a wide range of payroll problems and software solutions. Contact us today to learn how we can make payroll easy for your company. 

Related Content


What Payroll Company Is The Best?

There are many excellent payroll service companies in the marketplace. They all offer different pros and cons, and the best ...

What are the names of payroll companies

What Are The Names Of Payroll Companies?

There are tons of popular payroll service companies, from ADP, to Gusto, to Rain. The best way to find a ...


What Are The Different Types Of Payroll Systems?

The two different types of payroll systems are payroll processors and payroll softwares. A payroll processor is a system where ...

Stay in the know