Top Gusto (ZenPayroll) Competitors:
The Best Alternatives for Your Business

Gusto (formerly known as ZenPayroll) can be a great option for many in the market for human resources (HR) software, but is it right for your company? A new HR solution impacts the entire team, and a hasty decision could lead to frustrated employees at every level of the org chart. Luckily, we’re here to help.

To narrow down the many HR software options out there, it’s ideal to make a short list of popular and well-reviewed solutions, so you can evaluate which one best meets your needs. In this article, we’ll provide an overview of Gusto followed by five competing systems you should consider in your software search, because of their online search traffic and glowing user reviews.

(Click on a link below to jump to that section.)

About Gusto (ZenPayroll)

Most Asked-About Gusto Competitors

Top User-Rated Gusto Alternatives

Next Steps

About Gusto (ZenPayroll)

ZenPayroll may have changed its name to Gusto last year, but it’s still one of the most recognized HR software vendors in today’s market. The cloud-based system was designed for small businesses and is often described as “cost effective” at $39 per month and $6 per employee.

Gusto offers the following capabilities:

  • Payroll (which can be used for independent contractors in addition to traditional employees)
  • Benefits administration
  • 401(k) tracking
  • Deductions management
  • Wage garnishment

It also allows users to calculate, pay and file local, state and federal payroll taxes. However, potential buyers should note, Gusto does not offer applicant tracking, compensation management or performance review applications.

Gusto is among the highest-rated HR products listed on Software Advice’s website. Clients who reviewed the solution like its “incredible support team” and “easy-to-use interface.” That said, one user says it sometimes feels as though “certain tasks were taking more clicks than necessary to complete.”

Click here to see more user reviews, or keep reading this article to learn more about Gusto competitors.

Most Asked-About Gusto Competitors

The following HR products get the most online search traffic alongside ZenPayroll/Gusto, which indicates business leaders see these companies as close competitors.

Note: you can learn more about our Alternatives methodology here.


While Zenefits has had some high-profile regulatory and organizational challenges, it’s still a big player in the HR market and a major Gusto rival. This is due to Zenefits’ low cost, small and midsize business (SMB) focus and robust functionality.

Buyers with tight budgets will appreciate the fact that many features in this cloud-based system are free, including:

  • Hiring and onboarding
  • Personnel tracking
  • Time and attendance
  • Affordable Care Act (ACA) reporting

It currently charges a $25 startup fee for payroll services under a limited pricing offer, but will be charging an additional $4 per person per month for this service in 2017.

The company can afford to operate this way because it gets paid by benefits providers when clients choose to manage their benefits through the platform. There are also some optional paid features it earns revenue from, such as stock options administration.

For a side-by-side comparison of these two systems, see our Zenefits vs. Gusto page.

RUN Powered by ADP

Vendor ADP has many solutions for every business size, but SMBs are best served by its RUN product. It comes in three packages with different price points, so you can pay for the applications you actually need. Here’s an overview of each package’s key capabilities:

Essential Payroll:

  • Basic payroll processing
  • Direct deposit functionality
  • Time and attendance
  • Tax filing

Enhanced Payroll:

  • Check mailing
  • Reloadable, prepaid debit cards
  • ADP-managed unemployment insurance and wage garnishments

Complete Payroll + HR:

  • Applicant tracking
  • Background checks
  • Cloud-based document management

You can add services, such as benefits administration and employee scheduling, to any of these packages. This level of flexibility makes RUN an attractive alternative to Gusto, but we should note ADP’s employee self-service portal has been critiqued for lacking features when compared to competitors.

For a side-by-side comparison of these two systems, see our Gusto vs. ADP page.


Paychex’s payroll processing capabilities may be what it’s best known for, but the cloud-based software has a number of additional functions that can be integrated into the system based on a client’s needs. Charges and pricing models for a particular system vary depending on the number of applications you choose.

Here are some hypothetical examples to show you how this works:

  • Buyer A wants payroll, time and attendance and benefits administration – Payroll and time and attendance are charged on a pay-per-period basis, depending on the number of employees at the company. The benefits administration application can be integrated for a monthly fee.
  • Buyer B only wants recruiting and onboarding – Paychex offers these as stand-alone applications for a monthly fee based on the number of users with administrator-level access.

Since Paychex doesn’t just cater to SMBs, it could be right for you if you want to customize your own solution in such a way that it can scale at the same rate as your company.

Top User-Rated Gusto Alternatives

Next, we want to show you the two highest-rated ZenPayroll/Gusto alternatives according to real users who have written software performance reviews on our website.


Synerion is the top scoring ZenPayroll/Gusto competitor based on user ratings. Clients describe it as “user-friendly” and say it’s “accessible to all users, across all locations.”

Synerion is the only product highlighted in this article that supports both cloud-based and on-premise deployments, so that immediately sets it apart. Their offering for SMBs is called Synerion Agile Workforce, which includes the following:

  • Time and attendance
  • Absence management
  • Staff scheduling
  • Labor costing
  • Business intelligence (e.g., tools that allow users to track and graph performance trends)

Buyers should be aware that payroll functionalities don’t come standard with this platform, though third-party integrations are available.


APS is our next highly rated alternative, and reviewers on Software Advice say “the conversion process was seamless.” One user reports:

“Although not completely intuitive, the software is easy to use and the customer service is excellent. I love how they assign one service rep for consistency, but others are always available to help you if needed.” - Jaime, New Orleans BioInnovation Center

APS is mostly known as a payroll processing solution, but it also offers employee onboarding, benefits administration, performance review and applicant tracking functionalities. The system is cloud-based.

Next Steps

Hopefully this article has given you a good sense of the ZenPayroll/Gusto alternatives available to you. If you’re still looking for products to put on your short list, consider taking one of these next steps:

  • Read more HR product comparisons, such as:  
  • Call an expert software advisor at (855) 998-8505 for a free, no-obligation consultation. We’ll provide price quotes for HR products based on your specific requirements.