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The 3 Best Payroll Services for San Diego Businesses

Business owners are constantly asking us about payroll service providers (scroll to the bottom to learn more about us), so we’ve decided to put together this guide on the 3 best payroll services for San Diego businesses. (Well, all businesses really, but we are a bit biased.) Read on to learn a bit more about why payroll services are important, and the pros and cons of three of the biggest players out there: Gusto, ADP, and Intuit QuickBooks.

Why is Using a Payroll Provider Important?

No matter what field you work in or the size of your business (in beautiful San Diego or elsewhere), payroll activities can be complex to handle. Payroll tasks require a lot of time and effort which are often better spent on your core business activities. Then, as your business grows, payroll-related tasks will likely get more and more complicated. That’s why choosing the right payroll service can give your company a competitive edge.

The right software will enable your business to automate every step in the payroll process. This will make tasks like withholding payroll taxes or keeping accurate records go more smoothly and save you a boatload of time. Not only that, automating payroll activities will also help your San Diego company avoid making costly mistakes.

A man holds up hundred dollar bills, symbolic of using a good payroll provider to pay employees.
Keep your employees paid and happy with a good payroll service provider. (Hopefully, your employees are cool enough to wear awesome sunglasses like these.)

Which Payroll Provider is Right for My Business?

With so many options for payroll software in the market today, selecting the right fit for your San Diego business can become overwhelming. Here is a list of the top payroll software solutions with their pros and cons.


Ranked #1 by US News as Best Payroll Software of 2022, you cannot go wrong with this choice. With just a few clicks, gusto will automatically set up payroll, file your taxes, create a benefits package, and much more. This payroll software can even identify hidden tax credits to save you some money.

With gusto payroll software, you won’t need to worry about hidden costs or extra charges. Even if your business needs to pay taxes in multiple states (doing business outside of San Diego is, after all, acceptable), Gusto won’t charge you extra fees. Almost all the pricing structure of this payroll software is outlined on their website. So, you’ll know right from the start how much you’ll pay for their services.

What sets Gusto apart from the rest is the value they offer for each tier of their software plans. Just like other payroll software solutions, they enable you to use both direct deposit and checks to pay your staff. But, by choosing Gusto, you’ll benefit from the direct deposit feature, even in the lower-priced tier. Then, as you go up in Gusto’s plans, the direct deposit option becomes even more convenient, for example taking fewer days to clear. In the highest plan, your business will enjoy next-day direct deposit.

Gusto’s Pros

  • Gusto might not be the cheapest payroll software; however, it offers very good value for your your money.
  • Basic payroll reports for all tiers.
  • Direct deposit for all plans.
  • No extra charges for tax payments in multiple states.
  • Unlimited payroll runs for no extra cost.
  • Automatic tax calculations.
  • Paid time off (PTO) tracking feature.

Gusto’s Cons

  • Next-day direct deposit feature available only for the more expensive plans.
  • Dedicated support only for highest-tier subscribers.
  • No expert support during the evenings or on weekends.


ADP is one of the most well-known payroll software in the market today and it has been around forever. It is an extremely reliable payroll software solution, in particular for large companies or businesses that are growing fast.

The cheapest plan offers full-service payroll, direct deposit, reporting, and a self-service employee portal. These are great features for a basic payroll plan. If your company requires more options, you can choose one of the higher-priced plans.

Unlike Gusto, ADP doesn’t have the greatest pricing transparency, as they don’t publish the cost of each of their payroll software plans. To learn more about the cost, you’ll need to fill out some forms. In return, you will receive a custom quote which will be based on your company’s specific needs and number of employees.

ADP’s Pros

  • Customized options to suit your specific business needs.
  • Robust reporting features.
  • Excellent 24/7 customer support and tax filings for large companies.
  • Lots of HR add-ons.

ADP’s Cons

  • Low pricing transparency.
  • Might not be worth the cost for some businesses.
  • Several fees, including setup charges.

Intuit QuickBooks

Many San Diego companies are already using QuickBooks software solutions for accounting. If you are one of them, then setting up and using QuickBooks payroll software will come easily. Even if you are new to QuickBooks, you might not need any support to get started. They offer thorough tutorials, and there are also plenty of walkthroughs and other resources online to help you out.

Unlike ADP, QuickBooks Online Payroll works better for small to midsize businesses. They offer three different plans, all of which include the normal baseline features. No matter which plan you choose, you’ll enjoy features like health insurance administration, unlimited payroll runs, and automated state and federal tax filings.

QuickBooks Payroll’s Pros

  • Easy setup and user-friendly interface.
  • Best payroll software for quick direct deposit.
  • Specialized payroll plans for businesses already using QuickBooks accounting software.
  • Seamless integration with QuickBooks accounting software.
  • One of the most budget-friendly lowest-tier plans compared to other payroll software solutions in the market.
  • Tax penalty protection for Elite plan subscribers.

QuickBooks Payroll’s Cons

  • Higher-priced plans may not offer great value for their cost.
  • Not necessarily a good payroll software solution for large businesses.
  • Extra filing fees for Core and Premium plans.


What is the conclusion. Well, that may be the fact that you can’t really go wrong with any of these options. What it really comes down to is which best suits your needs and your price range. If you have a small business and are already using QBO for your bookkeeping, QuickBooks payroll might be the best choice. If you have a large business and are growing with high support needs, ADP might be the way to go. Or, if your business isn’t too big and Gusto’s options pique your interest, they are a great choice as well.

So, there you have it: the pros and cons of the 3 Best Payroll Services for San Diego Businesses. We hope you’ve found this helpful. Have a different opinion or additional insights to add? Let us know in the comments. It never hurts to get another opinion.

Want to read some more cool stuff? Check out our post on why SD is such a great place to run a business. Or, for if you want some more business tips, take a look at this post on the some great apps to help real estate businesses.

Who are we and why do we have so much to say about payroll service providers? We’re My SD Bookkeeper, San Diego’s premier bookkeeping and business consulting firm. We help all kinds of San Diego businesses with everything from managing their payroll to getting their books caught up to handling their AR and AP. (And everything in between. You name it. If it has to do with SD County business we can help.)

What to learn even more about payroll? Check out the video below for a nice introduction to payroll.

Want to keep reading? Check out our article on 5 Great Things About Running a Business in San Diego.

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