SurePayroll, an online payroll service now owned by Paychex, was created specifically for small businesses with no more than 100 employees. In fact, SurePayroll was the very first online payroll and tax solution tailored to small businesses, and small businesses only.1 Want to find out if SurePayroll is right for your small business? Business.org’s SurePayroll review covers the software’s perks, like its 100% tax-filing guarantee and Auto Payroll feature, and its drawbacks—namely its longer payroll processing time for self-service plan users.
SurePayroll Review 2021
SurePayroll recently restructured its general business payroll plans. Instead of three full-service plans, SurePayroll now offers two plans: one self-service plan (which doesn't include automatic tax filing) and one full-service plan (which does).
SurePayroll recently overhauled their payroll plans and pricing. Prior to this change, SurePayroll had just one payroll plan, and its pricing wasn’t available online. Now, SurePayroll has three payroll plans with up-front pricing. That’s a huge step up from contact-for-quote pricing, and we hope that means more good things are ahead for SurePayroll’s users. Our biggest quibble with the company prior to this update was their lack of up-front pricing; now that the prices are online and broken down into three plans, SurePayroll offers some of the most affordable payroll plans on the market.
SurePayroll plans and pricing
Data effective 12/11/20. At publishing time, pricing and features are current but are subject to change. Offers may not be available in all areas.
SurePayroll pros and cons
Okay, we said SurePayroll was made specifically for small-business owners, not accountants or corporations, but what does that look like in practice?
Basically, SurePayroll aims to take as many payroll-related tasks off your plate as possible so you can focus on different business activities. As a cloud-based payroll solution, SurePayroll is entirely online—no pricey desktop software required. Its self-service payroll solution makes e-filing taxes yourself as easy as possible while its full-service payroll solution automatically calculates and files state and federal payroll taxes for you.
SurePayroll’s payroll plans are some of the cheapest out there. Its $19.99 self-service plan is comparable to Wave’s $20 per month plan, while its full-service plan is $10 cheaper than Gusto’s established plans. (Gusto’s newest $19 a month full-service plan is still in beta-testing mode.) It's also $16 cheaper than QuickBooks' cheapest plan—and, crucially, SurePayroll provides an all-important tax penalty guarantee, while QuickBooks doesn’t.
Gusto still gives you more features for your buck (especially when it comes to state and local tax filing, which Gusto includes even with its cheapest plan). But if cost is your biggest consideration, either the self-service or full-service plan should fit your bill.
Worried that automating payroll tax filing with a full-service plan could cause you to miss an error? As long as a tax-related mistake isn’t your fault (for instance, as long as you didn’t enter an employee’s withholding information incorrectly), you don’t have to worry about fines and penalties from the IRS. Instead, with SurePayroll’s 100% tax-filing guarantee, SurePayroll deals directly with the IRS and pays any fines or penalties caused by its own errors.
Most payroll companies include a guarantee with only full-service plans. Some (most notably QuickBooks) don’t include tax-filing guarantees with each plan, which is unfair to the point of being unjustifiable. But SurePayroll offers a guarantee with its self-service plan too: the Tax Calculation Guarantee verifies that SurePayroll calculates taxes withholding correctly so you don’t have to worry about errors when you file taxes yourself.
One of SurePayroll’s biggest perks is its US-based customer service, which runs six days a week and not just during regular business hours. You can reach SurePayroll’s customer support team Monday through Friday, from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m. central time, or Saturdays, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. central time.
SurePayroll also has an A+ rating with the Better Business Bureau (BBB) and fewer than 50 BBB-registered customer complaints—which is pretty good for a business as big as SurePayroll.2 (Make sure to take BBB ratings with a grain of salt, though: they're not necessarily all they're chalked up to be.)
Customer service is an area where a lot of payroll companies struggle, up to and including QuickBooks. So if fast, helpful, US-based customer service is important to you, you might want to give SurePayroll’s small-business payroll team some extra consideration.
SurePayroll integrates with the best accounting software, including QuickBooks Online—which is great news, since QuickBooks Online Payroll is too pricey for us to really get behind. But with the new SurePayroll plans, accounting software integration costs extra. Charging consumers a monthly fee just to integrate payroll with accounting is a low blow, even if it’s a fairly affordable $4.99.
If you want the more affordable self-service plan, but you also want some of the full-service plan’s perks, you can pay a little extra for some full-service features:
- $7.99/mo. for 2-day payroll processing
- $9.99/mo. for an HR advisor
Whether you choose full service or self service, each of these services costs an additional monthly fee:
- $4.99/mo. for accounting software integration
- $9.99/mo. for local tax filing in OH and PA
- $9.99/mo. for unlimited multi-state tax filing
You can also integrate a timeclock feature for an extra monthly cost:
- $5/mo. + $3/employee to integrate with StratusTime, Paychex’s time-tracking software
- $9.99/mo. to integrate your own timeclock software
In the past, one of SurePayroll’s main perks was its expedited one-day and same-day payroll options. But now, the self-service plan has a four-day payroll processing time, which is a lot longer than SurePayroll’s previous offer.
The longer processing time is definitely a hassle—a four-day turnaround means you need to run payroll super early in the work week if you want your employees to get paid on time. Still, we like that you have the option of paying an additional monthly fee for two-day payroll processing instead of being forced into one of the more expensive plans. That’s a big nod toward customer care, and it helps smooth over the loss of SurePayroll’s expedited payroll options.
With plans starting at $15 a month, FreshBooks is well-suited for freelancers, solopreneurs, and small-business owners alike.
- Track time and expenses
- Create custom invoices
- Accept online payments
Can accountants use SurePayroll?
SurePayroll was built for small businesses—and those include accounting, bookkeeping, and human resources firms that work on payroll for other companies. Additionally, SurePayroll partners with accountants to resell its software. If you’re an accountant, bookkeeper, or HR firm who provides outsourced payroll services to small businesses, you can reach out to SurePayroll’s accountants to learn more.
Does SurePayroll have a payroll calculator?
Yes. Even if you don’t have a SurePayroll account, you can use SurePayroll’s calculator to calculate net wages for your hourly employees. (And if you want a second calculator option, we’ve got a paycheck calculator too.)
Does SurePayroll offer nanny payroll?
Because nanny payroll is pretty different from typical small-business payroll, SurePayroll offers a nanny payroll plan specific to household employers. If you employ a nanny (or other household employees, like house cleaners), you’re responsible for filing new-hire paperwork with the state and local governments, withdrawing payroll taxes, and submitting year-end tax forms—all of which can seem overwhelming to a parent who’s never hired an employee before.
Does SurePayroll offer HR help and benefits?
The smallest of small businesses—a.k.a. SurePayroll’s target audience—don’t usually need an HR department or have the budget for a huge benefits package. But if you do want extra HR help, or if you just like the idea of keeping all your payroll-related eggs in one basket, SurePayroll lets you add on some HR and benefits features:
- Workers compensation coverage
- 401(k) retirement plans
- Health insurance coverage
- Pre-employment screening
- New-hire reporting
While SurePayroll’s site has a good guide to their workers compensation plans, you have to call to get additional information about its other add-ons.
Does SurePayroll have a mobile app for employers?
Yes. The iOS app is exceptionally well reviewed: it has a total of 4.8 stars out of 5 from 3.3K customers.3 However, the Android app has only 85 customer reviews and a middling 3.2 out of 5 stars.4 So while Apple users are in luck, Android users might not have the smoothest app experience.
Do I need to wait until the next fiscal year to switch to SurePayroll?
No. You can change payroll service providers any time of the year.
SurePayroll is one of the more affordable providers out there. Of course, the cost goes up if you want to add perks to your self-service plan, and we’re not thrilled with the four-day turnaround time. But if you have fewer than 100 employees and need simple, streamlined small-business payroll software, SurePayroll might just be made for you.
Not sure if SurePayroll fits the bill? See our best payroll software article to explore more good options for small-business owners.
At Business.org, our research is meant to offer general product and service recommendations. We don't guarantee that our suggestions will work best for each individual or business, so consider your unique needs when choosing products and services.