How Much Does Payroll Software Cost? 2024 Pricing Guide

In the dynamic landscape of business operations, the efficient management of payroll is imperative for sustaining a motivated and productive workforce. The adoption of payroll software solutions has become increasingly prevalent as organizations seek to optimize their processes. For those contemplating the integration of payroll software in 2024, understanding the associated costs is pivotal. This comprehensive guide aims to elucidate the factors influencing payroll software pricing while adhering to the guidelines set forth by the United States Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

What is Payroll Software?

Before delving into the intricate details of costs, it is essential to comprehend the nature of payroll software. Payroll software is a specialized tool meticulously designed to automate and streamline the payroll process, encompassing tasks such as calculating salaries, withholding taxes, and managing benefit contributions.

Common Features of Payroll Software Include:

Payroll Processing

Automate the computation of employee wages, taxes, and deductions, ensuring precision in compliance with IRS regulations.

Tax Management

Effectively handle federal, state, and local tax obligations, ensuring accuracy and compliance with IRS guidelines.

Tax Form Preparation

Generate and file tax forms, including W-2s and 1099s, to fulfill IRS reporting requirements.

Time and Attendance

Accurately track employee working hours to facilitate precise payroll calculations and adherence to IRS regulations.

Benefits Management

Administer employee benefits, encompassing health insurance, retirement plans, and other perks, in compliance with IRS regulations.

Payment Processing

Facilitate secure and timely payment distribution through various methods, such as direct deposit, while ensuring compliance with IRS guidelines.


Generate comprehensive reports providing insights into payroll expenses, tax liabilities, and employee costs, meeting IRS reporting standards.

Employee Self-Service

Empower employees to access their payroll information, update personal details, and view pay stubs securely, adhering to IRS privacy guidelines.

Payroll: Keep it In-House or Outsource?

Before exploring payroll software, businesses must decide whether to handle payroll internally or outsource it to a third-party provider, considering IRS regulations and guidelines affecting both approaches.

Payroll Software vs. Payroll Module

It is crucial to differentiate between standalone payroll software and integrated payroll modules within larger HR or accounting systems. The choice should align with your business needs and IRS compliance requirements.

Payroll Pricing Models

Understanding different pricing models is imperative for making an informed decision. Let’s explore three common structures, considering IRS compliance:

Per Month, Plus Per Employee Monthly Subscription Plan

A combination of a base monthly fee and an additional fee per employee is suitable for businesses with fluctuating workforce sizes while adhering to IRS reporting standards.

Per Month Subscription Plan

A flat monthly fee, regardless of the number of employees, provides predictability for budgeting and facilitating IRS compliance.

Perpetual License Fee

A one-time upfront payment for the software license, often accompanied by ongoing support and maintenance fees, ensures continual IRS compliance.

Additional Costs to Consider

Apart from software subscription or license fees, businesses should be aware of additional costs associated with payroll software implementation and maintenance:


Costs related to setting up and configuring the software for specific business needs, ensuring alignment with IRS requirements.


Ongoing support services provided by the software vendor, are essential for timely issue resolution and adherence to IRS guidelines.


Regular updates, patches, and maintenance to keep the software running smoothly and compliant with IRS regulations.

Payroll Software Vendor Pricing

Now, let’s delve into the detailed pricing structures and benefits offered by some of the leading payroll software vendors, keeping in mind IRS compliance:

CheckMark Payroll

CheckMark provides flexible pricing models tailored to different business needs:

  • Payroll Software:
    • Basic Package: $429 for a one-time purchase.
    • Pro Package: $499 for a one-time purchase, including advanced features.
    • Subscription: Starting at $25 per month for basic and $35 per month for Pro.


  • Transparent pricing.
  • Robust tax form preparation.
  • Comprehensive reporting features.

Equip Payroll

Equip Payroll offers scalable solutions with transparent pricing:

  • Payroll Software:
    • Essential Plan: $45 per month plus $6 per employee.
    • Growth Plan: $75 per month plus $8 per employee.


  • Cloud-based platform for accessibility.
  • Additional modules for advanced HR features.


Gusto simplifies costs with a per-employee per-month model:

  • Payroll Software:
    • Core Plan: $39 per month per person.
    • Complete Plan: $39 per month per person + $12 per month base fee.
    • Concierge Plan: Custom pricing.


  • All-in-one solution with employee self-service.
  • Transparent and predictable pricing.


OnPay offers straightforward pricing suitable for various business sizes:

  • Payroll Software:
    • Monthly Plan: $36 per month plus $4 per employee.
    • Annual Plan: $360 per year plus $4 per employee.


  • Unlimited monthly plans for cost predictability.
  • Full suite of features for a comprehensive solution.

Patriot Software

Patriot Software caters to small businesses with affordable pricing:

  • Payroll Software:
    • Basic Payroll: $10 per month plus $4 per employee.
    • Full-Service Payroll: $30 per month plus $4 per employee.


  • Cost-effective solutions for small businesses.
  • Comprehensive features, including tax management.

Paychex Flex

Paychex Flex provides robust solutions for mid-sized to large enterprises with customizable pricing:

  • Payroll Software:
    • Customized pricing based on business size and needs.


  • Tailored solutions for complex payroll needs.
  • Extensive reporting and benefits management features.


PeopleGuru targets mid to large enterprises with customized pricing:

  • Payroll Software:
    • Pricing tailored to specific business requirements.


  • Advanced HR and payroll capabilities.
  • Customized solutions for complex payroll processes.


QuickBooks seamlessly integrates its payroll module with transparent pricing:

  • Payroll Software:
    • Core Plan: $45 per month plus $4 per employee.
    • Premium Plan: $75 per month plus $8 per employee.


  • Integration with QuickBooks accounting software.
  • Extensive reporting capabilities.

Rippling Payroll

Rippling Payroll offers an all-in-one platform with pricing based on business size:

  • Payroll Software:
    • Customized pricing based on business needs.


  • Unified platform for HR, benefits, and payroll.
  • Scalable solutions for growing businesses.


Zenefits provides integrated HR and payroll solutions with per-employee per-month pricing:

  • Payroll Software:
    • Essentials Plan: $8 per month per person.
    • Growth Plan: $14 per month per person.


  • Transparent per-employee pricing.
  • Comprehensive HR and compliance tracking features.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the cost of payroll software in 2024 is influenced by various factors, including business size, required features, and the chosen vendor. Adhering to IRS guidelines and regulations is paramount in the selection process. Carefully evaluating your business needs and budget constraints, while considering the nuances of IRS compliance, will guide you in selecting the right payroll software solution. Whether you opt for a standalone payroll system or an integrated HR suite, investing in the right software can lead to increased efficiency, compliance, and overall success in managing your workforce.