Gusto vs Zenefits: Which is Best

Cody Cromwell
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When to Use Gusto

When to Use Zenefits

Gusto and Zenefits are two cloud accounting services that are designed for freelancers who are looking to manage their finances when they don’t have a big team of in-house accountants. While both services are great for people just starting out, they also require you to buy extra services in order to fully experience them.

We’ve previously compared Zenefits vs Gusto, and after using both of these platforms for several months, we’re ready to say that each company has their own strengths and weaknesses. So if you haven’t already, let’s look at the pros and cons of each.

Any Zenefits user should be comfortable with account activation or having to contact customer service. While Zenefits does have a support team, they don’t have walk-in reimbursement centers or phone support.

When to Use an Alternative

If one of your employees leaves, incorporate a small business away from work, or suddenly cannot access their email for another reason, your business could become paralyzed over finding a solution to this and ultimately resolve the problem.

During the transition period, your small business may want to use an alternative email solution and potentially set up their own dedicated service.

Although extra costs are required to implement this, it is a solution that is easily accessible. Before using an alternative email solution, it is important to understand why your state of business can benefit from it.

Which Payroll Software Is Right For You?

If you are just now hearing about payroll software, don’t worry. Payroll can be complicated. A bad payroll system can slow you down, add hidden costs, and even cause errors in your payroll process.

That’s why Gusto and Zenefits offer you a lot of software options. They both provide payroll services for startups with little to no experience. The question is which one is the right fit for you?

Both services provide an extensive feature set. Both offer a mobile app, work in different ways, and integrate with your existing payroll and tax software. So how can you choose between them? Let’s take a closer look at what you can expect from each service.

Question 1

Gusto and Zenefits

The comparison between Gusto and Zenefits is always an interesting debate.

Even though Gusto and Zenefits have several similarities, the two have some differences.

They are sometimes referred to as the two top players in the on-demand staffing industry, which is a fact.

Gusto offers both custom and managed payroll service for small businesses, whereas, Zenefits is mainly known for their managed payroll service for small businesses.

Both charges a monthly subscription fee for its services.

Gusto and Zenefits use the same core software, Paylocity, but they have different apps.

Gusto’s app is available for iOS and Android devices.

Zenefits’s app is available for iOS, Android, and Windows devices.

Gusto offers a simplified employee management and time tracking solution.

Zenefits’s solution is more focused on the end-to-end payroll process. Zenefits is known for its award-winning business process management software, while Gusto focuses more specifically on payroll management.

Gusto offers a wide range of tools that make the onboarding experience as easy as possible for new hires. Much like Zenefits, Gusto also makes it easy to onboard new hires within the employee management section of its platform.

How many employees do you have in your business?

Zenefits is a one man show. In fact, CEO Parker Conrad, still lives in the same studio apartment he moved into as a recent Stanford grad. Backed by Peter Thiel, Zenefits is the new face of the office sharing economy and promises to be disruptive inside your organization. The Zenefits model is clearly centered around its technology. Its software gives its employees a resume. It provides health insurance for the self employed. It allows people to fill out the paperwork to do payroll by themselves. And, in the same way that the Uber app works, the concept is that Zenefits will aggregate work from a wide variety of sources and deliver it to a company for a fee. But what people don’t realize is that the Zenefits model is much different than the idea of employees doing paperwork in house.

Question 2

Side-By-Side Comparison: Gusto & Zenefits Both have been on a meteoric rise within the past year, and we are constantly asked: "What's better for small businesses? Husto or Zenefits?"

Do you want to provide an online portal for employees to view and manage their data?

Template:Gusto and (Enterprise) Zenefits are your go-to options if that’s what you have in mind. Although they appear to overlap with a blend of benefits (blended rates, free insurance, etc.), they are different and cater to different needs. Here’s a comparison to help you decide on the more apt choice.

Question 3

Gusto or Zenefits?

If I were given the option to do either one, I would go with Zenefits. Otherwise, I’d go with Gusto. Zenefits has actual accountants where you can talk to, while Gusto would be the better option if you’re a newbie to the world of finance and with a new business entity. The user interface of Gusto is better than that of Zenefits, on account of the number of features and tools it gives you for your convenience.

Are you interested in purchasing benefits directly through the payroll provider?

Are you looking for an alternative to Gusto, or company in-house benefits administration?

You’ve got many options in the marketplace, and in this post we’ve examined what makes do both Gusto and Zenefits, in terms of price, features, and customer service. Here, we’ve compared the costs of purchasing benefits directly with an alternative of using in-house benefits administration.

Question 4

What is the Difference Between Gusto and Zenefits

They say that opposites attract, and this is true for the two startups we’re comparing today. Zenefits and Gusto have of course been competing for great talent to join their organizations, and their respective approaches to HR have created an interesting dynamic between the two. So you’re not the only one who’s wondering which it right for you.

We’ve taken a closer look at the careers of both companies and examined their websites to help you determine which one is the right fit for you.

Is automated payroll a must-have for your business, or do you prefer saving money using a self-service plan?

Traditionally, the management of payroll has had a negative connotation for employers. After all, payroll is one of the biggest expenses that a business may incur. If your payroll team handles the entire responsibility of processing payroll manually, you can quickly realize cost savings over manually tracking hours. With Gusto and Zenefits payroll services, there’s no need to hire a dedicated payroll team, and the cost savings of automated payroll can help your bottom line, regardless of the size of your company.

But although automated payroll may be the future of business, these two platforms have some significant differences when it comes to core payroll services. Gusto and Zenefits both use an average of about eight business days to process payroll and direct deposits, but the sales tax reporting offered by Zenefits is much faster.

Here’s an overview of some other differences between Gusto vs Zenefits payroll services.

Work Off the Books: Zenefits requires your business to be registered for sales tax. Meaning that you must charge your customers the sales tax for each transaction in order to use Zenefits. While Gusto allows you to begin working off the books immediately and charge your customers the appropriate sales tax.

Gusto vs Zenefits at a Glance

Gusto vs Zenefits: Pricing & Features

Gusto vs Zenefits Pricing Table

Gusto Zenefits Pricing Category Details Monthly Fee 0 0 Project Management Application Email marketing/communicating with your clients For free Yes Yes Project Management (Spork) Time tracking Yes Yes Collaboration Helping your team do their jobs effectively Yes Yes Client Management Your clients use you for their business purposes Yes Yes Sales and Marketing Targeting your clients and the potential opportunities you have Yes Yes Monitoring Of your sales volume, contacts, leads, and more Yes Yes.

Gusto and Zenefits are both project management solutions that allow entrepreneurs to easily and efficiently run a business and manage employees, clients, and projects all at once. However, they both also offer different services to fit your business:

It’s best to compare both sides of the equation to pick the one that works best for your business.

Gusto Pricing & Features

Gusto is a premium personal financial management platform that helps small businesses and freelancers manage all of your finances from paychecks to investments.

It’s easy to sign up for Gusto – you can sign up online for free and take up to 12 months to try it out. After that, it’s monthly or annual subscription pricing that you make payments for.

After signing up for the free trial, you will be asked to confirm your email address. Your invitation will contain a link and a pin number – touch the link or dial the pin and you will be taken to the homepage that takes you through the Gusto signup process.

After signing up for the free trial, you will be asked to confirm your email address. Your invitation will contain a link and a pin – touch the link or dial the pin and you will be taken to the homepage that takes you through the Gusto signup process.

Gesture Screenshots

PIN is a gesture.

Step 1: Look at the direction of the clock.

Step 2: Nudge the opposite direction.

The red area is ready to confirm.

Step 1: Point at the camera.

Step 2: Press the on-screen button.

Gusto Pricing by Features

Zenefits Pricing & Features

Zenefits Pricing Table

Zenefits is one of the biggest startups of the past decade. Originally known as GetSatisfaction, it was acquired by LogMeIn in 2013, with an eye for acquiring more businesses. The software was also an essential part of portal companies like Travelocity and Orbitz. GetSatisfaction had already experienced success, particularly while under the leadership of David Dhanani in the early days. He moved down to become the CEO and co-founder of the company in 2004.

The idea for the product originated in 2004, when Dhanani joined travel site GetSmarter which was part of GetSatisfaction. The original idea worked in a similar way to a Craigslist, but with a few important upgrades.

A relatively new concept was the idea of a customer account system offering online services. The primary focus of GetSatisfaction was support for the airline industry, and it was very popular among professionals in the design industry where its support was essential. According to a report done by Time, Dhanani even believes that his company disrupted the way people booked vacations on airlines and hotels, and his employees have been able to gain millions of dollars in savings.

Zenefits Add-ons

Zenefits offers simple and affordable HR Software add-on services that let companies do the following:

Engage and Attract Great Talent. Adding Zenefits instantly makes your existing talent management software address the HR needs of expanding beyond the front desk. It puts people in touch with individuals who are a great fit for their culture.

Adding Zenefits instantly makes your existing talent management software address the HR needs of expanding beyond the front desk. It puts people in touch with individuals who are a great fit for their culture. Maximize Your Qualifications. Zenefits will help you eliminate the time and costs associated with human resources management. By covering the core mission of an H.R. department, it makes your qualifications and skills management easier, as well as more effective.

Zenefits will help you eliminate the time and costs associated with human resources management. By covering the core mission of an H.R. department, it makes your qualifications and skills management easier, as well as more effective. Improve Your Customer Service. Zenefits will make your customer satisfaction top-of-mind. It works with your existing recruiting, screening and management software to help you instantly book interviews and hire better qualified candidates.

Gusto vs Zenefits: Ease of Use

Both are new “bro”-centric healthcare start-ups offering a platform to connect customers to doctors.

Gusto has a little bit more extracurriculars. It has a smaller team, but has a more laid back culture. It’s more intuitive. Zenefits has a lot more corporate elements.

Winner: Gusto

Gusto comes across as the Mascot of the startup world. Many of the features they show off, such as the facilitation of payments and scheduling, are features of the healthcare and insurance industries. The ease of use of the platform to allow for both registering to see a doctor and payment has a warm and fuzzy feeling about it and probably won’t hurt in the long run.

Zenefits looks like a sleeker and more corporate version of Gusto, but also has an additional level of complexity to achieve the same ease of use. Much of the services offered on Zenefits are in the form of automation, things like automatic credit card payment or auto renewal of insurance. Zenefits had a massive/crash-prone launch that has left a lot of negative vibrations surrounding them. This makes it difficult for them to catch up because a friendlier and simpler experience will most likely drag down more positive reviews than negative ones.

Gusto Ease of Use

Gusto is a more user-friendly option in terms of ease of use. It’s highly user-friendly and intuitive so that when all is said and done, easy and smooth are two words that aptly describe the software.

The platform is easy to navigate, and adopting and adjusting to the new system does not take much time. You can rock up to the benefits of your company and those you are going to help without facing much hassle.

Whether it’s performing tasks or researching the industry, the interface is a breath of fresh air. Even though it’s not as extensive as Zenefits, Gusto does the job pretty well.

The flexible office hours make it possible for you to manage your workload at a time that’s most convenient to you. It makes the accounting and daily recording process much easier and streamlined.

User-friendly trial version allows you to fully explore the software by trying out different features of the software. So, you understand it well and fully appreciate the benefits without forming any preconceived notions about the product before you sign up for the product.

Zenefits Ease of Use

Gusto Customization

The two platforms are both from startup companies, and both provide B2B payroll services products.

Zenefits and Gusto are pretty similar in many ways. They both bring together remote workers and employers by using their technology to the payroll services industry, and this is why they both have some similar features.

The main difference, however, is in the ease of use. Both Zenefits and Gusto offer the same administrative tools, applications, and functions. But Zenefits’s interface is far more user-friendly than that of Gusto.

The apps on their respective platforms are very different. Zenefits’s application is very sleek and simple, while Gusto’s app seems to be entirely custom built.

The documentation that comes with the apps is also very different.

Zenefits comes with a book that explains the whole process and is also available online on their website.

Gusto comes with a booklet that explains the basics of their services as well as a video tutorial that helps you get a better understanding of their product.

Gusto vs Zenefits: Customer Service

One of the top concerns of a potential Gusto user is the initial customer service.

The first step is that end of the line, conversion, where the associate is likely to have varying degrees of experience and knowledge. They likely have no online research or training on how to best convince a customer to sign up. Since the Gusto reps are brand new with no significant experience, I can’t imagine they have the best reputation – however if you only hear about great experiences, just be aware that you may be part of the few.

Bonus: You will frequently get the once in a lifetime offer, it's practically a sign up fee per month, this is likely why they are hired as new reps.

One of the advantages of Zenefits, is that they have an ambassador program where they have quite a reliable pool of existing support agents that work directly with you. This helps ensure that the support agents receive adequate training and testing.

Also, Zenefits uses AngelList to vet support agents to make sure that they have the experience to help you. The Zenefits support agents have a required set of criteria that need to be met before they are hire.

Longer Term Customer Service

Once you’ve been with the company long enough, you may be eligible for additional bonuses and promotions.

Gusto Customer Service

If you're looking for a great customer service experience, Gusto's GSA Advantage provides best of the class customer service. At Gusto, It's all about helping customers … it's really the only thing we care about.

While we are very serious about great service, it's important to stay lighthearted and use GSA Advantage as a platform for fun. The friendly staff tries to have one or two fun things like an Employee of the Month and an Employee of the Week.

If you're looking to build leadership skills by helping customers, you can't beat the GSA Advantage for hands-on experience.

At Gusto, building your leadership skills is everyone's responsibility. It may be through helping customers, developing a project, launching a new initiative, or pitching at your weekly meeting.

The GSA Advantage at Gusto is designed to give employees the chance to grow their knowledge, skills, and experiences as part of their continuous learning program.

Gusto started recruiting from the community because we want to share our excitement with the talent and communities in our surrounding cities. Any developer can create a Gusto account, use the API, and play around. The first 1,000 developers were from the application process, but now people come from all over the world.

Zenefits Customer Service

Exceptionally bad!!!

I’ve been fighting with them to stop collecting my salary for 3 months now- they are the worst customer service ever imaginable. They are unreliable and overpriced like a startup shame on you guys!

Since I’m getting paid from a client till payday, I don’t know how much my paycheck was but it was not enough (even though they told me that my payroll was successful). Continuing calling, I got a message that I’m being paid again but the money didn’t show on my bank account. Today I asked for my payroll again and they told me that my payroll was unsuccessful again.

I told them to stop taking my pay, but continuing their way. They mocked me by asking for the code of my payroll. I explained them that I’m an employee and I need to give it to them (not other way around). I explained them that payroll can’t be made again anymore.

So I was expecting a long conversation, but shockingly, a clearly spoken guy in their call center came and told me that they can’t do anything for me and I should check with my employer like an idiot.

They don’t care about your service!

Gusto vs Zenefits: Customer Reviews

Gusto is another new service startup for small businesses to cut through the layers involved in payroll. You’re going to pay a transaction fee for this, but just like how analytics platforms and email marketing platforms chip away at your subscription fees, you’re going to be saved a lot of money.

On the other hand, Zenefits is a one stop shop for all your HR needs. By integrating with other third party platforms like Quickbooks, you can save a lot of time and get an all-in-one solution that’s tailored to small businesses. You can sign up using Crunchbase and can check out what other businesses are saying about this tool.

Overall, choosing between these two will depend on your budget, HR needs and the service you’re prioritising. If you want a one stop HR solution, then Zenefits is the way to go. If you’re going to be using third party platforms, then Gusto is the better of the two. But if you’re up against small firms that are still using paper for payroll and don’t get along with their workers a lot, then Gusto is your call.

Gusto Customer Reviews

Gusto was founded in 2007 in Palo Alto, California, by Garrett Grimm and is a startup that provides an online service for cloud-based payroll, tax and benefits.

According to their slogan, Gusto aims to make payroll and benefits as easy as taxes.

With over three million end-users, Gusto is the start of people’s payroll and benefits.

Gusto provides a cloud-based solution for small and medium-sized businesses that need a software and human resource solution to automate and control their payroll, benefits and payroll taxes.

If you are looking to manage your payroll, calculate and track employee retirement benefits, manage your payroll taxes and receive W2 and 1099 Forms via email, this is a good cloud solution to consider.

Gusto has a 50% discount of the first year’s fees and 30% of the second year’s fees, so you can evaluate the product for free for the first 12 months.

Gusto Customer Reviews

Some of the positive customer reviews:

Steve L. Nice web interface for quick and easy processes. If I know I need to make payroll adjustments up to a certain time, I can be in and out for those weekly paychecks without constant (or multiple) visits to the payroll office.

Zenefits Customer Reviews

Zenefits is a relatively new company and has faced some criticism for alleged unauthorized practices for business insurance scams and for being too closely tied to the technology of Google.

There were whispers of employees allegedly marketing some of their insurance companies to clients without obtaining appropriate consent and that this is part of a model that allows them to sell more business insurance policies.

However, there is no evidence of a widespread or systematic practice from the company reported by the media or customers which would violate business insurance laws.

They deny the sales practices and claims that their workers are overworked and under trained.

Employees have been terminated for violating company policies, and some of them were actually let go for not being hired for the right position in the first place. In fact, over 500 employees have reportedly been let go, but a spokesperson for the company spokesperson said that the claims of mass layoffs are not true.

Founded in 2013 Zenefits is considered to be more of a technology company than a traditional human resources agency. So it’s not surprising to find that it doesn’t quite have the same history and relationship with customers that more traditional business insurance agencies have.

However, the company works with over 30 insurance companies and is still actively searching for clients with more insurance companies (and smaller policyholders) to cover.

Bottom Line

Gusto or Zenefits

Gusto is definitely a step in the right direction. They’ve nailed the onboarding user experience as you don’t have to fill in endless forms and wait for your application to be processed. As a result, your application gets easily approved. In addition, switching between applications is easy as well.

If you’re looking for a managed SaaS application, then Gusto is a must for you.

However, if while working as an agent you’re looking to earn additional income during your free time on the side, then Zenefits is the better solution.

I would give a strong nod to Zenefits for future growth potential, especially considering that they are a unicorn growing at a stunning 300% year on year.