As the old adage goes, numbers don’t lie. In the case of Gusto, an all-in-one platform for payroll, benefits and HR, the key number is 60,000. That’s 60,000 satisfied customers nationwide who say that Gusto has simplified complicated yet essential business tasks and saved them time and money as a result. RewardExpert recently spoke with Gusto spokesperson Rick Chen to learn more.
A Traditionally Frustrating Experience
Gusto was founded in 2011 by Josh Reeves, Tomer London and Edward Kim. “Before they started the company, they had all run other small businesses and used other payroll systems,” Chen explained. “To be frank, they were frustrated with the experience and knew payroll could be better.”
“Every year, approximately 40 percent of small businesses pay penalties or fines for late or incorrect payroll filing,” Chen continued. “The main reason is because so many of them do payroll by hand. For many small business owners, calculators are the most advanced technology they’ve used to run payroll.”
The trio, who met while in graduate school at Stanford, decided to combine their backgrounds and experience in software development to automate payroll and other back-office operations using cloud and mobile technology. And, thus, Gusto was born.
Everything You Need to Tame HR Chaos
Payroll processing remains Gusto’s flagship service to this day, enabling small business owners to run their company’s payroll online with easy-to-use software, built-in compliance and flexibility. “We often call it ‘payroll on autopilot,’” Chen explained.
Chen said set-up is a breeze and can be synched with time tracking, accounting software, banking partners and more to create a seamless, automated payroll solution. A full 85 percent of Gusto customers say the platform is easier to use than their previous payroll provider. Three out of four say that Gusto makes compliance easier, and 77 percent say that it takes tedious tasks off their plates.
Gusto’s full-service payroll will automatically file and pay local and federal payroll taxes as well as prepare W-2 and 1099 forms. You can even set the software to automatically run payroll and compensate your employees according to a set pay schedule. “You don’t even need to log onto Gusto on payday,” Chen added.
Gusto can also help small businesses offer the benefits today’s employees demand. “We have fully-licensed brokers on staff,” Chen said. “They’ll walk you through everything you need to consider, like your typical employee count throughout the year if you’re a seasonal company, or whether you are expecting new folks to join.”
Once you’ve created your benefits package – which can include everything from medical, dental and vision insurance to 401(k) plans, 529 college savings plans, disability and life insurance –
Gusto will automatically invite new employees to enroll. Gusto’s operations are ACA, ERISA and HIPAA compliant and can also help you meet COBRA requirements should an employee leave your company.
Chen noted that employment, payroll and compliance laws can vary from state to state. “Let’s say you’re a retail chain with stores that sell apparel across several states,” he said. “It can be really hard to figure out what you need to do when someone joins or leaves your company. At Gusto, we keep track of all of these regulations and automate any changes. You don’t have to be bothered with learning all those complexities.”
You can learn more about additional Gusto HR tools – like job offers, onboarding, PTO and employee survey features– here.
Simple, Transparent Pricing
Gusto offers a range of customizable plans suitable for any small business.
“Our Concierge plan is $149 per month plus $12 per month per employee or contractor,” Chen explained. In addition to full-service payroll, benefits administration, time tracking, offers and onboarding, the Concierge package includes access to Gusto’s team of certified human resource professionals.
“If you need help creating something like an employee handbook or have spur-of-the-moment questions about health insurance regulations or something, you can contact us and we’ll connect you to an actual HR professional over the phone to talk it through,” Chen continued.
Gusto’s Complete plan is $39 per month plus $12 per month per employee or contractor. It includes every Gusto service with the exception of HR professional resources. “This plan can help you differentiate your small business,” Chen noted. “You can set up customized offer letters and automate onboarding tasks. When a new employee has his or her first day, you can focus on training rather than sitting by the copy machine trying to figure out what forms they need to complete.”
Gusto’s Core plan is pared down to the company’s core services. “It is $39 per month plus $6 per month per employee or contractor,” Chen said. “That’s full-service payroll, health benefits administration, worker’s compensation and paid time off features.”
One-month free trials of all three plans are currently available. “You can give us a try and kind of ‘kick the tire’ so to speak,” Chen added.
New People-Centric Solutions Ahead
“We call ourselves ‘The People Platform,’” Chen said when asked about what’s in store for Gusto customers in the future. “We get excited about improving the employer-employee relationship because when you boil it down, people are the foundation of every business. This people-centric approach guides everything we do.”
To that end, Gusto recently launched a flexible pay feature within its payroll service. “Flexible pay allows employees who are paid through Gusto to access money on-demand without having to wait until payday,” Chen explained. “If an employee’s car broke down, he would have had to rack up credit card debt or take out a payday loan in the past or ask his boss for an advance or a loan.”
Chen said that the company noticed that their customers were giving their employees advances in situations like that, so they decided to build the capability into the platform.
“We’ve formalized it,” he continued. “This means you can stay compliant with payroll deductions and benefits but still help the people who work for you. If they have a need of funds, they can self-serve without having to have an awkward conversation.”