Gusto vs Justworks: Comparing PEO Services

When you're running a business, there's a lot on your plate, especially when it comes to managing your team.

That's where Professional Employer Organizations (PEOs) and HR services like Gusto and Justworks come in, offering a lifeline for businesses drowning in payroll, benefits, and compliance issues.

This guide will dive deep into what makes Gusto and Justworks tick, helping you decide which PEO service could be your business's next best friend.

Understanding PEO and How Gusto and Justworks Fit In

Navigating the world of PEOs can feel like deciphering a complex puzzle.

At their core, PEOs provide a bundle of services designed to take the HR load off your shoulders, covering everything from payroll to regulatory compliance. This allows you to focus on growing your business while they handle the nitty-gritty details of employee management.

In this evolving workforce landscape, Gusto and Justworks have emerged as two key players, each with its own approach to simplifying HR tasks.

Gusto is often praised for its comprehensive features and user-friendly experience, making it a go-to for businesses that value intuitive design and a wide array of HR functionalities.

Justworks, on the other hand, is known for its straightforward, no-frills approach, offering scalable solutions that grow with your business.


Gusto is often highlighted for its rich array of HR functionalities and intuitive user interface, making it an attractive option for businesses prioritizing a seamless experience and comprehensive features.

Gusto's platform is crafted to meet the needs of small to mid-sized businesses, offering a user-friendly payroll service that streamlines tax filings and compliance checks.

However, Gusto's offerings extend beyond payroll; they provide a wide range of employee benefits, including health insurance and retirement plans, to foster a content and healthy workforce.

Additionally, Gusto strongly emphasizes HR support, offering resources and tools to help businesses develop custom policies that align with their unique needs while ensuring compliance with labor laws.

Innovations like Gusto Reimbursements underscore their commitment to simplifying financial processes, making expense management more manageable and less time-consuming.


Justworks adopts a more streamlined approach, offering scalable solutions that simplify the complexities of payroll and HR tasks. It has gained popularity among startups and growing businesses for its ability to automate payroll processing and ensure tax compliance efficiently.

Justworks extends its services beyond payroll, providing a robust benefits administration platform that gives employees access to premium health insurance and perks. The platform's design focuses on simplicity, minimizing the learning curve and making it accessible to businesses of various

sizes. This user-friendly approach, combined with Justworks' scalable solutions, positions it as a strong candidate for businesses searching for a PEO that can grow alongside them.

Core Features of Gusto as a PEO Provider

Gusto's platform shows their deep understanding of the needs of small to mid-sized businesses, offering a suite of services that go well beyond payroll:

  • Automated Payroll Processing: Gusto simplifies the payroll process, automating tasks like tax filings and compliance checks, thus reducing the potential for errors and saving valuable time.
  • Comprehensive Employee Benefits: From health insurance to retirement savings plans, Gusto offers a range of benefits designed to meet the diverse needs of your team, contributing to their overall satisfaction and well-being.
  • Robust HR Support: Gusto provides resources and tools for developing customized policies, ensuring they align with your business's unique requirements while remaining compliant with current labor laws.
  • Gusto Reimbursements: A standout feature that streamlines the reimbursement process for expenses, making it straightforward for both employees to submit and for employers to approve, thereby enhancing the financial management within the company.

Justworks Payroll Solutions: An Overview

Justworks simplifies payroll and HR tasks, providing a straightforward and efficient platform that's particularly beneficial for startups and growing businesses:

  • Streamlined Payroll Automation: Justworks offers a hassle-free approach to payroll processing, ensuring accurate and compliant tax filings with minimal effort from the business side.
  • Robust Benefits Administration: Employees can access high-quality health insurance and an array of perks, significantly affecting employee retention and satisfaction.
  • Simplicity and Accessibility: The platform is designed to be intuitive, reducing the learning curve for users and making it accessible to businesses of various sizes. This simplicity and scalable solutions make Justworks an appealing option for businesses looking for a PEO that can adapt to their evolving needs.

When choosing between Gusto and Justworks, it's essential to consider your business's specific needs, priorities, and the value each platform can bring to your HR processes.

Head-to-Head Comparison: Gusto vs Justworks

When it comes down to the wire, choosing between Gusto and Justworks depends on what your business values most. Both platforms offer robust solutions in the realm of payroll and taxes, but Gusto edges ahead with its detailed reporting and analytics.

If benefits administration is your top priority, Gusto's wide variety of options might appeal to you, though Justworks' competitive rates through group buying power are also worth considering.

Payroll and Taxes

Gusto shines in the payroll department, offering unlimited payroll runs as part of its base package and a next-day direct deposit option, which is faster than the standard timeline.

So, is Gusto a PEO? Nope, it’s better described as a payroll management platform.

Justworks, while not explicitly stating unlimited payroll runs, allows for all necessary domestic payments across your team at no additional cost, including one-off payments.

Both platforms provide automatic tax calculation, deduction, remittance, and W-2 and 1099 tax form filing.

However, Justworks steps ahead with its strong compliance support, backed by tools to help comply with state and federal laws and its Employer Services Assurance Corporation certification, indicating high financial, ethical, and operational standards​​​​.

Benefits Administration

For benefits administration, Gusto offers an in-house brokerage with a wide range of health, vision, and dental insurance options in 37 states and Washington, D.C., without charging a fee to integrate these benefits with your payroll software.

On the other hand, Justworks provides medical, dental, and vision insurance for employers in all 50 states but requires the more expensive Plus plan for insurance brokerage access. Both platforms require you to sign up for workers' compensation insurance​​​​.

HR and Compliance Support

Gusto provides a wealth of comprehensive HR and compliance support tools, including state new hire reporting, employee onboarding, and harassment prevention and inclusion training.

However, Justworks, being a PEO, offers more robust HR features and places you in an enterprise-level insurance plan, potentially at much better rates.

Justworks also assumes fiduciary responsibility for 401(k) options, reducing legal risk for employers. It's worth noting that Justworks' compliance support is more substantial, offering online training for sexual harassment and discrimination prevention to easily comply with state and city requirements​​​​.

Choosing between Gusto and Justworks ultimately depends on your specific business needs and preferences. Gusto might be more appealing if you're looking for a comprehensive payroll solution with a wide range of integrations and built-in benefits administration.

Justworks could be the better option if you're seeking a PEO who can handle more aspects of HR and workforce management, offering comprehensive tax compliance and 24/7 support​​.

Additional Services: Gusto Reimbursements and Certified Payroll

When it comes to managing employee reimbursements, Gusto takes the forefront with its intuitively designed feature that simplifies the entire process.

This functionality shines in its ability to streamline the submission, approval, and payment of employee expenses, turning what is often a cumbersome task into a seamless experience.

Whether it's travel expenses, office supplies, or any work-related outlay, Gusto ensures that employees are reimbursed promptly and accurately, fostering a positive and trusting work environment.

Beyond everyday expenses, Gusto steps into a more specialized domain with its certified payroll support. This service aspect is particularly invaluable for businesses engaged in government-funded projects.

Certified payroll is not just a requirement but a cornerstone for compliance with prevailing wage regulations set forth by the government.

Gusto's adept handling of such payroll requirements ensures that businesses adhere to these stringent laws and manage to do so easily, thereby avoiding potential legal pitfalls and fostering a fair work environment.

Technology and Integration: Gusto Status Page and Justworks' OnPay Inc Text Message

Gusto’s status page reports on the system's health, including real-time updates on any interruptions or scheduled maintenance. This level of openness builds trust and enables businesses to plan their operations with the assurance that they have the latest information at their fingertips.

Switching to Justworks, their innovative use of OnPay Inc's text messaging service for communication marks a significant advancement in how businesses stay connected with their workforce.

This method of direct engagement ensures that vital updates, reminders, and notifications reach employees promptly, cutting through the clutter of email inboxes. The immediacy and personal touch of text messaging enhance the user experience, keeping everyone in the loop and significantly reducing the chances of overlooking important information.

Both Gusto and Justworks exhibit a forward-thinking approach to their integration capabilities. Their seamless connectivity with other software tools and systems is a testament to their understanding of modern business needs.

This interoperability is not just about convenience; it's about creating a cohesive ecosystem where data flows freely and processes are optimized and efficient.

Through robust integration, these platforms empower businesses to create a more streamlined, interconnected operational framework, laying the groundwork for future innovations and growth.

Cost Analysis: Gusto vs Patriot and Other Competitors

When it comes to choosing a PEO for your business, the price tag is often one of the first things you'll look at.

Both Gusto and Justworks are known for their transparent, scalable pricing plans designed to accommodate the diverse needs of small to medium-sized businesses. But how do they stack up against competitors like Patriot and others in the market?

Gusto and Justworks: Value Beyond Pricing

Gusto and Justworks might come with a higher price point compared to some competitors, but it's crucial to consider what you're getting for that investment.

Unlike more basic services like Patriot, which might offer pared-down payroll services at a lower cost, Gusto and Justworks provide a comprehensive suite of HR tools and services.

From advanced benefits administration to full-scale HR support and compliance assistance, these platforms are designed to be all-in-one solutions for businesses looking to streamline their HR processes. It’s also worth mentioning that Gusto support chat is very responsive.

The ROI of Comprehensive PEO Services

The true value of a PEO service isn't just in the features list; it's in the time, resources, and headaches saved. With Gusto or Justworks, you're not just paying for payroll processing or a benefits platform; you're investing in peace of mind.

The ability to offload complex, time-consuming HR tasks to experts can free up your time and energy to focus on strategic growth initiatives.

When you factor in the potential cost savings from reduced errors, improved compliance, and more efficient processes, the ROI of these comprehensive services becomes even clearer.

Choosing the Right PEO: Factors to Consider

Selecting the right PEO for your business is a decision that goes beyond just comparing price tags. It requires a deep dive into your business's unique needs, goals, and the specific value that a PEO can bring to your operations.

Assessing Your Business Needs

Start by outlining what you need most from a PEO. Are you drowning in payroll queries and compliance issues? Do you need robust HR support to manage a growing team?

Or are you looking for a platform that can scale seamlessly as your business expands? Understanding your primary pain points can help you identify which PEO features will be most valuable to you.

Evaluating Service Offerings and Support

Consider the full range of services offered by each PEO. With its extensive HR tools and personalized support, Gusto might be the perfect fit for businesses seeking a comprehensive HR solution.

On the other hand, Justworks' simplicity and scalability could be ideal for startups and growing companies that need a straightforward, efficient platform.

Customer support is another critical factor. The quality and accessibility of support can make a significant difference in your day-to-day operations, especially when you encounter issues or have complex questions. Gusto customer service chat has a good reputation.

Integration and Long-Term Scalability

Think about how well the PEO will integrate with your existing systems and workflows. Seamless integration can significantly enhance efficiency and reduce the risk of errors.

Additionally, consider the PEO's ability to scale with your business. As your business grows, your HR and payroll needs will evolve, and your PEO should be able to accommodate those changing needs without skipping a beat.

Cost vs. Benefits Analysis

Finally, weigh the costs against the benefits. While it might be tempting to choose the cheapest option, consider the broader impact on your business.

A more expensive PEO that saves you countless hours, helps you avoid compliance pitfalls and provides a better employee experience can offer far greater value in the long run.

FAQs about Gusto and Justworks

Is Gusto considered a PEO?

Yes, Gusto extends beyond traditional payroll services to offer Gusto Pro, a comprehensive PEO solution that includes payroll, benefits administration, HR support, and compliance services.

What are the main differences between Gusto and Justworks?

The primary distinction lies in their service offerings. Gusto is known for its wide range of HR tools and services, making it a one-stop shop for businesses seeking extensive HR support.

Justworks, meanwhile, focuses on providing a streamlined, efficient platform that's easy to use and scales with your business.

How do Gusto and Justworks support small businesses?

Both platforms are designed for small businesses, offering scalable solutions that grow with your company.

They provide the essential services small businesses need, such as payroll processing, benefits administration, and compliance support, but each does so with a different approach tailored to varying business needs and preferences.

In Conclusion

Choosing between Gusto and Justworks comes down to understanding your business's unique needs and priorities. Whether you value a comprehensive array of HR tools and personalized support or prefer a platform that emphasizes simplicity and scalability, both Gusto and Justworks offer compelling solutions.

By carefully assessing your requirements, considering the full scope of services, and analyzing the cost versus benefits, you can select the right PEO partner to propel your business forward.

Remember, the best PEO for your business is one that not only meets your current needs but also supports your long-term growth and success.