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9 min read

Top 10 Payroll Outsourcing Companies and Services

Payroll outsourcing has multiple benefits for growing businesses: It allows them to contract out a time-consuming back-office task, and focus on their core operations. 

But with so many payroll outsourcing companies to choose from, where to begin? We have analyzed and graded dozens of payroll outsourcing services to come up with the top 10 payroll outsourcing companies for 2023.

Top 10 Payroll Outsourcing Solutions

  • Best Overall for Payroll Outsourcing — Rippling
  • Best Payroll Outsourcing for Small Businesses — ADP Run
  • Best for Contractor Payment — Square
  • Best for Payroll Analytics — Zenefits (TriNet Zenefits)
  • Best Payroll Outsourcing for Startups — Paychex Flex
  • Best Payroll Outsourcing for Large Companies — Paycor
  • Best Payroll Outsourcing for US Companies — Gusto Payroll
  • Best for Add-On Service — Deluxe
  • Best for Integrations — Wave Payroll
  • Best Payroll Platform — OnPay

What we looked for

Picking the right payroll outsourcing company is not always easy: Business owners must take their available budget, industry, and other HR needs before working out which provider is best for them. Our review of the top payroll companies provides something for everyone; a la carte and add-on options for companies that are scaling at pace, budget-conscious plans for smaller operators, international capabilities for global companies and more.

The top 10 payroll companies on this list cover everything that a business may seek in a payroll provider. As always, though, be sure your payroll company operates in the same regions as your business and employees, offers the tools that you need, and provides the right coverage to keep your employees happy and safe.

Our reviews are based on an assessment of dozens of payroll companies, looking at their customer reviews, service offerings and reputation within the industry. 

Best Overall Payroll Outsourcing


Rippling homepage

Rippling is a relative newcomer to the payroll outsourcing market, but that doesn’t mean it’s short on features and options.

The payroll outsourcing service includes processing for every state in the US as well as international payroll processing; international, federal, state, and local tax filing; workers comp, garnishing service; W-2, W4, 1099 and international form filing, and General Ledger syncing.

A la carte add-ons includes; time tracking with kiosk and mobile clock-in, benefits administration, commuter benefits, ACA and COBRA administration, applicant tracking, compliance courses, employee surveys with trend analysis, HR help desk support, national and global PEO services, employee app management, employee device management, device inventory management, corporate card management, international expense management, and more on the way.

With all of these options, Rippling becomes an all-in-one HR and enterprise solution. Rippling also provides setup assistance to ensure the software is configured to the needs of each business.

Rippling Pros

great hand  Extensive integrations

great hand  Tiered pricing, so customers only pay for what they need

great hand  Ease of scaling to PEO and EOR solutions

Rippling Cons

bad hand  Paying by component means costs add up

bad hand  Not all service pricing listed on site

Our Verdict

Rippling is arguably the leading payroll solution on the market, and services can easily be scaled up or down as business needs require. To learn more, check out our 2023 breakdown of Rippling’s product offerings

Best Payroll Outsourcing for Small Businesses


ADP Run is the payroll outsourcing service specially designed for small businesses from ADP, the world’s largest payroll outsourcing company. The service offers four packages, with the basic option including W-2 and 1099 form filling, tax filing, and a General Ledger (GL) interface. More advanced packages add State Unemployment Insurance (SUI) management, garnishment services, ZipRecruiter, background checks, HR training, a compliance database, onboarding, training, legal assistance, and more. Beyond that, ADP Run clients can always upgrade to the main ADP service for more enterprise and PEO tools.

ADP Run Pros

great hand  A system that is simple to use

great hand  Automated tax filing and reporting

great hand  Add-on marketing and legal services available

great hand  Flexible and custom plans available

ADP Run Cons

bad hand  Contractor payroll processing and benefits administration require add-ons

bad hand  Tax filing incurs add-on charge

Our Verdict

ADP Run was developed with small businesses (less than 50 employees) in mind. Its packages start with basic payroll outsourcing but upgrade options support companies with growing needs. For small companies looking to grow quickly, especially those planning on outsourcing further HR capabilities and signing up for PEO services in the future, ADP Run is a sound choice.


Best for Contractor Payments


Square Payroll

Square Payroll is unique in offering a plan with no monthly base fee; the contractor plan charges a small monthly charge for each contractor payroll processed as a basic, no-frills plan. The standard Square Payroll plan will include regular employees as well, however, this does come with a monthly fee. 

An advantage of Square is that Square Payroll will work with all of Square’s other products, such as POS and online store solutions, banking management, staff scheduling, and more. 

Square Pros

great hand  Form 1099 filing included, with automated end-or-year filing

great hand  Contractor plans have no monthly base fee

Square Cons

bad hand  One option only for plans

bad hand  Few HR tools

Our verdict

For businesses that mainly employ contractors or freelancers, Square Payroll can take the headache out of payroll easily and inexpensively. It also provides an advantage for business owners who are looking for retail and POS solutions; all can be integrated easily within the Square ecosystem. For those looking for a payroll outsourcing company that can be upgraded into a full HR or PEO solution, this may not be the best product.


Best for Payroll Analytics

Zenefits (TriNet Zenefits)

The Zenefits Payroll service (a solution from TriNet Zenefits) offers a range of payroll features. These features create a flexible system that can be easily upgraded as the company grows. The basic Zenefits plan includes automatic federal and state tax filing, automatic compliance, payroll reporting, automated onboarding, time off tracking, integration with other apps, analytics dashboards, employee management, scheduling, and a mobile app. Upgrades add people analytics, compens ation management, performance management, employee engagement surveys, People Hub (a communication tool for employees and management), advisory services, and recruiting.

Zenefits Pros

great hand Onboarding and management tools

great hand Simple, user-friendly interface

great hand Powerful Business Intelligence (BI) reporting

Zenefits Cons

bad hand  Customer service complaints from online reviewers, occasional long waits

bad hand  Not all admin tools available on mobile app.

Our verdict

The basic Zenefits Payroll plan offers plenty of features, such as tax filing and compliance, at a reasonable monthly price. This package will be attractive and affordable to many businesses, and integrates well with other software tools. The system does not support contractors or international payroll, however. For larger employers who plan on upgrading to a full HR or PEO solution, it is straightforward to move to the full TriNet PEO solution (Read more about TriNet in our 2023 TriNet review)

Best Payroll Outsourcing for Startups


Paychex PEO Homepage

Paychex is one of the largest payroll and HR outsourcing providers, currently processing payroll for 1 in 12 private sector employees in the United States. 

The Paychex Flex service is a stripped-down, upgradeable option for small businesses that want to start with basic payroll outsourcing services and add additional tools when needed. Paychex Flex’s basic service includes payroll processing for both employees and contractors, garnishment service, and an employee self-service portal that allows staff to view their own pay and tax info. 

The service does not fill and file W-2 and 1099 forms, however, without an added fee. Other paid add-ons include time, attendance, and mileage tracking through the Flex Time feature, a self-service onboarding portal and background checks with the Flex Pro plan.

Paychex Flex Pros

great hand Easy-to use system

great hand Paycheck garnishing service at no extra charge

great handFlexible and custom plans available

great hand Contractor payment processing included

Paychex Flex Cons

bad hand Payroll tax, W-2, and from 1099 filing incurs extra charge

Our verdict

For small companies looking for payroll outsourcing for employees and contractors, and little else, Paychex Flex will be a good choice. By tapping into the resources of Paychex, these basic payroll outsourcing services can be accomplished professionally and easily. As needs grow, businesses can always upgrade with Flex Time, Flex Pro, or the full Paychex service. For those who need tax filing and form filling as part of their basic package, though, other services may be more economical.


The ability to easily scale up the payroll package means Paychex Flex is our payroll outsourcing pick for startups

Best Payroll Outsourcing Providers for Large Companies


Paycor Payroll

While Paycor per-employee fees are similar to those of many competitors, their monthly base fees are higher. 

The service included, however, also meets a high standard. Even the basic plan includes automated payroll, unlimited payroll runs, a self-serve portal for employees, compliance support, and automated tax filing. Upgrade plans add onboarding support, HR support, analytics, 401(k) administration, and garnishment service.

Paycor Pros

great hand  Simple system

great hand  Performance reviews, recruitment, and other HR tools included.

Paycor Cons

bad hand  Contractor payroll not included

bad hand  Monthly fees and charges per employee high

bad hand  Employee portal needs upgrading

Our verdict

For companies with more staff, the Paycor features may be worth the higher base fee, as opposed to paying higher per-employee fees for add-ons such as tax filing and compliance support. For businesses with just a few employees who wish to outsource payroll processing only, or those looking for an option to upgrade to full PEO service, this may not be the best option.

Best Payroll Outsourcing for US Companies

Gusto Payroll

Gusto Payroll

Gusto offers competitive features with its basic package, such as employer and contractor payroll (and a contractor-only option with no basic monthly fee), and tax filing. What sets it apart are the benefits administration, and time tracking, services included in the basic package. 

Benefits administration includes the option to purchase employee insurance packages through the platform, commuter benefits administration, as well as retirement, saving, housing, and wellness support.

To find our more about Gusto’s offerings, check out our detailed 2023 Gusto review

Gusto Pros

great hand  Simple system for both employees and independent contractors

great hand  Automated tax filing and guidelines on regulatory compliance

great hand  Free checking, savings accounts, and advances on employee paychecks

great hand  Health insurance add-on available in some states

great hand  Unlimited payroll runs.

Gusto Cons

bad hand  International payments not supported

bad hand  Accounts receivable and invoicing are not included

bad hand  Charge per employee gets high for large employers

bad hand  Customer service not available on weekends

Our verdict

The Gusto contractor-only option gives small organizations working with teams of freelancers a simple way of handling payroll, while the basic package for employees and contractors offers many bonus features that are not available from other competitors for the same price. Gusto is a great solution for US-based companies looking for a simple payroll outsourcing solution, however, it may not have the features and add-ons needed by international employers or those looking for a full HR or PEO solution.

Best for Add-on Services 


In addition to payroll outsourcing, Deluxe offers software for business, payment processing, and marketing solutions. 

The Deluxe payroll outsourcing system includes competitive features such as a simple and intuitive dashboard, tax payment processing and tax penalty protection, custom reporting, and integration with accounting software and POS systems.

Deluxe Pros

great hand  Marketing and other services available on the same platform

great hand  Ability to combine services with other payroll providers

great hand  Simple, user-friendly, system.

Deluxe Cons

bad hand  Contractor payroll incurs an additional charge

bad hand  No free trial available.

Our verdict

Deluxe payroll outsourcing may be very attractive to businesses eyeing deluxe’s other marketing, payment processing, and business software offerings. For those looking for a simple payroll solution, however, Deluxe’s pricing will be less competitive than other options.

For more information on how to choose the right set of payroll services for your company check out our guide, How to Outsource Your Payroll – Step by Step Guide.

Best for Integrations

Wave Payroll

Like some other systems, Wave Payroll includes payroll processing for contractors. Unlike most others, however, Wave only charges a monthly fee for the contractors that were paid in a given period. If a company has 10 contractors or vendors on call but only used 2 in a given month, they will only be charged for 2 contractor payrolls. 

Wave will pay and file taxes in 14 states, but for clients operating outside of these areas, the monthly base fee is reduced. Payroll is not fully automated and there is no mobile app, however, the system is simple to use and pricing is competitive. The Wave ecosystem also includes other business management software products which integrate well with Wave Payroll.

Wave Payroll Pros

great hand  Invoicing and accounting included with payroll platform

great hand  Simple interface for both employees and employers

great hand  Contractor payroll services included

Wave Payroll Cons

bad hand  Benefits administration not included

bad hand  Automated payroll taxes not available in many states.

Our verdict

For businesses that use many different contractors, but do not necessarily pay each of them every month, the flexibility of Wave Payroll will bring significant savings on their monthly fees. Those operating in the states covered will get the added bonus of tax filing for a slightly higher base monthly fee. Companies that already use or plan on using Wave’s other software solutions will find the payroll outsourcing feature a simple and cost-effective addition to their business management suite.

Best Payroll Platform


OnPay is a user-friendly HR and payroll platform, designed to streamline payroll management and HR processes. It’s target market is small to medium-sized businesses (SMBs) and is competitively priced. 

OnPay pros

Benefits of using OnPay for payroll outsourcing include: 

  • A user-friendly and intuitive interface and platform
  • Clear and transparent-pricing
  • Added HR functionality, including an employee self-service portal and time-tracking. 

OnPay cons

  • Fewer integrations than some other providers
  • Does not connect to a full PEO solution for customers who seek to transition to that service. 

Our verdict

OnPay is a smart payroll outsourcing for small to mid-sized businesses after a cost-effective and user-friendly payroll platform. With a product focus, OnPay is an excellent option for companies after a solid payroll-only solution. Read more in our 2023 OnPay review.   

The best payroll outsourcing companies in 2023 — our take

Choosing the right payroll company for your business means paying attention to prices, additional services offered, customer reputation, and whether the company services businesses of your size and industry. 

With the variety of different payroll companies we have reviewed, it is likely you will find a solution that is well-suited to your particular business. 


The best payroll company for your business depends on the size of your business, the industry and which services you seek. While we have judged Rippling to be the best outsourced payroll solution overall, it may not be the right choice for every business. For example, some smaller businesses may find it more cost-effective to engage a payroll provider with more limited options. 

A payroll company specializes in processing payroll for client companies, whether in the US or internationally. A Professional Employer Organization (PEO) acts as the co-employer of workers and takes care of benefits and HR     compliance, as well as payroll. 

Some payroll companies, including Rippling, TriNet, ADP and Paychex also offer PEO solutions

You can find out more about PEO solutions in our Top Ten Guide to Professional Employer Organizations

Article By

Fact checked by Charlotte Evans

Travis is a global business development advisor. He has spent the last 14 years supporting business establishment and development in North America, Southeast Asia, and throughout the world. With multiple degrees from the University of Oregon, Travis currently splits his time between the US, and Bali, Indonesia. At RemotePad, Travis writes about remote work, hiring internationally and PEO/EOR business models.

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