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Payroll Services - Frequently Asked Questions

Derek Cromwell
1. I Handle My Own Payroll Right Now, Why Should I Change? Most businesses can spend as many as 20 hours or more per pay period handling payroll depending on the number of employees they have. Using a payroll service eliminates the need for manual calculations and filing and allows you to spend more time growing your business.

2. How Many Employees Do I Need to Use a Payroll Service

You can use a payroll service even if you only have one employee. You’ll pay a base fee plus a per-employee fee per month for most services and even with just 1 employee you’ll still save a lot of time in processing payroll each pay period.

3. What if There’s a Mistake With Payroll and Taxes Using the Service?

Most companies, such as Gusto, offer guaranteed accuracy with processing payroll taxes, they will even call the IRS on your behalf. In the event there is an error and a fine results, your payroll provider should cover those fines – but check with the service to make sure they offer this guaranteed protection and accuracy.

4. I Have Employees in Multiple States, Can I Use a Payroll Service From Another State?

Yes you can, and multi-state taxes will be accounted for when payroll is processed and taxes are filed. Intuit has a super simple guide to take care of this on their site. Some companies charge for multi-state filing while others include it in the monthly cost.

5. Do I Need to Download Any Software?

Not anymore. The majority of payroll services use cloud-based services so you can access your payroll from any computer or device with a network connection.

6. If it’s Web Based How Secure Is It?

Encryption can vary but just about every provider will use the highest level encryption commercially available (that’s the HTTPS you see at the beginning of the website URL once you log in.) This ensures all employee record and pay data is completely secure.

7. How Do I Pay My Employees

At the very minimum, payroll services allow you to use direct deposit or print checks on site at your business. Some also offer check stuffing and mailing services as well as payroll debit cards for employees without bank accounts.

8. How Long Does Setup Take?

You can have an account set up with a payroll service the same day you sign-up for one, often within just hours. From there you just need to configure your payroll for your employees and you’re ready to start running pay cycles.

9. How Long Does It Take to Approve Payroll?

This can vary among providers but in most cases you want to run and approve payroll 2 days before the actual payday for your employees.

10. How Much Do Payroll Services Cost?

This can vary widely among providers and it’s typically a flat fee plus a per employee/per month rate. Likewise you may have to pay for add-on services like employee time tracking or extra payment methods. Check the reviews for each provider to see if the costs line up with your budget.

11. Do I Need a Computer to Run Payroll?

Not necessarily. A number of payroll providers offer mobile accessibility or applications that let you use an iOS or Android device to access and run payroll.

12. Can I Manage Benefit Accrual, PTO, Garnishments and Such With Payroll Services?

Yes, that’s the whole idea behind these payroll applications. They’re designed to make every payroll processing easier including easily and accurate calculations for things like PTO use and accrual, garnishments and tax withholding.

13. Can I Pay Contractors With a Payroll Service?

Yes, all payroll services offer employee classification so you can pay hourly, salary and contract employees.

14. Will They File Tax Forms for Me?

Some will. A number of services include this for free but the majority charge a premium price to handle all of your local, state and federal tax filing.

Need more questions answered about payroll services? Check out our individual expert reviews today to find the right payroll service for your business.

Derek Cromwell
Derek Cromwell writes for and owns a consulting company that specializes in advising small businesses. Derek particularly focuses on credit card processing, point of sales, call centers, and payroll solutions, helping to save growing businesses time and money.