Contractor payroll software tools ensure you pay your independent contractors on time while freeing up your human resource staff and accountants so that they can concentrate on more critical tasks.
In this article, we will review the top eight contractor payroll services of 2023 to help you support your staff and improve your payroll operations.
- Best contractor payroll services: Feature comparison
- The best contractor payroll solutions for 2023
- Our methodology
- How to choose the right contractor payroll service
Best contractor payroll services: Feature comparison
|Starting base price||Starting per payee price||International payroll||Standalone contractor plan|
|Gusto||$35/mo.||$6/mo.||Contractors only||Yes||Try Gusto|
|Papaya Global||None||$2/mo.||Yes||Yes||Try Papaya|
|Square Payroll||$0||$6/mo.||No||Yes||Try Square|
Plan and pricing information up to date as of 7/28/2023.
The top contractor payroll solutions for 2023
Gusto: Best overall contractor payroll software
Our star rating: 4.1 out of 5
Gusto is a contractor payroll software ideal for first-time employers. As one of the best payroll solutions for small and midsize businesses alike, it offers modern HR features such as payroll, benefits, hiring and management resources. The vendor serves over 200,000 small and large companies.
The software comes with competitive compensation tools and expert guidance to help small businesses stay compliant. In addition, it is a cloud-deployable SaaS payroll tool with an easy-to-use interface. The cherry on the top is a wallet app for contractors to easily track their entitlements.
Gusto is a comprehensive payroll software that offers a range of features, including automated tax filing, employee onboarding, direct deposit and more. It also provides an easy-to-use interface that allows you to manage your payroll with ease.
- Contractor self-service portal.
- Unlimited monthly payroll runs.
- End-of-year 1099-NEC preparation.
- Four-day direct deposit for contractors.
- Fully automated payroll runs.
- International payroll for contractors in 120+ countries (add-on service).
- On-demand pay option through Gusto Wallet app.
- Thorough time-tracking and accounting software integrations.
- Time tracking available through third-party integrations only with cheapest plan.
- No international employee payroll plan.
For contractor-based companies, the base price is waived with only $6 per contractor per month. After those six months, the base price is $35 per month with the same $6 per contractor per month on top.
Our Gusto review can tell you more about Gusto’s prices and plans.
Rippling: Best for midsize businesses
Our star rating: 3.8 out of 5
Rippling’s contractor payroll software provides unique support for businesses with remote contractors. The platform offers national and international payroll processing including direct deposit, tax administration and tracking of paid time off. It also enables contractors to clock in and out to ensure accurate recording of hours worked, alongside other features such as quote-based pricing.
With Rippling, you can also keep track of individual contractor expenses through its customizable reports, making it the best tool for global contractors.
- Streamlined contractor onboarding.
- Local currency contractor payments.
- Centralized platform for all HR, IT, finance and payroll tasks.
- Built-in time tracking.
- Streamlined, intuitive and user-friendly experience interface.
- Hundreds of integrations via the Rippling App Shop.
- Manage contractor attributes and map them to other systems.
- Comprehensive plans may be too pricey for some small businesses.
- No standalone payroll for contractors only.
Rippling’s payroll software costs $8 per contractor paid per month on top of an unspecified monthly base fee.
Our Rippling review can tell you more about Rippling’s prices and plans.
Paychex: Best for businesses with employees and contractors
Our star rating: 3.5 out of 5
Paychex offers contractor payroll software with features tailored to small, medium and large organizations. Paychex doesn’t have a standalone contractor-only payroll plan, but it does have comprehensive HR-and-payroll packages with benefits for in-house employees. As a result, Paychex is a solid option for companies that hire plenty of contractors along with benefited employees.
- Automatic payroll runs.
- Multiple plans for growing businesses.
- 200+ compliance experts.
- Direct deposit, paper check, prepaid debit card and tip disbursement pay options.
- Comprehensive HR library.
- Multiple add-on features to support in-house employees.
- Optional international payroll management through Paychex’s partner FMP Global.
- Comprehensive third-party integrations.
- Optional employee benefits.
- Additional fee for end-of-year tax form 1099 preparation.
- Additional fee for general ledger reporting.
- Time and attendance available as an add-on only.
The vendor has three pricing tiers as follows:
- Paychex Flex Essentials: Base fee of $39 per month with an additional $5 per month per employee.
- Paychex Flex Select: Custom pricing based on specific needs.
- Paychex Flex Pro: Custom pricing based on specific needs.
Our Paychex review can tell you more about Paychex’s prices and plans.
Justworks: Best PEO service
Our star rating: 3.7 out of 5
Justworks is a professional employer organization, or PEO, that serves as an all-in-one payroll, benefits, HR and compliance solution for businesses of any size. With Justworks, businesses can manage in-house payroll and pay contractors quickly and accurately.
The software makes it straightforward to set up payments for salaried and hourly employees as well as off-cycle payments for vendors and contractors. Businesses benefit from 24/7 customer service support to ensure that payroll is processed correctly and on time. Justworks also provides real-time GPS software to help manage employee time tracking and attendance.
With Justworks, businesses can focus on growing their business with confidence knowing that their payroll is taken care of.
- Mobile app access for contractors and employees.
- Automated direct deposit.
- One-off payments for bonuses, commissions and more.
- Automatic compliance notifications.
- Time and attendance software (available as an add-on).
- Mobile friendly with an interactive user interface.
- Sophisticated analytics and reporting.
- Easy-to-configure company rules, employee policies and compliance.
- Integration with small-business accounting software like QuickBooks Online and Xero.
- Lacks native expense management features.
- PEO solution may be pricey for some small businesses.
- Additional fee for time and attendance software.
Justworks offers two pricing plans for payroll services — Basic and Plus.
- The Basic plan: This plan begins at $59 per month per employee. For more than 50 employees, the cost drops to $49 per month per employee. This plan includes payroll processing, tax filing, direct deposit and access to HR tools.
- The Plus plan: This plan costs $99 per month per employee. The cost drops to $89 per month per employee once you hit 50 employees and beyond. It includes all of the features of the Basic plan plus optional medical, vision and dental benefits for employees.
Our Justworks review can tell you more about Justwork’s prices and plans.
Papaya Global: Best for international contractor payments
Our star rating: 3.7 out of 5
Papaya Global is a cloud-based global people and payroll solution that helps multinational businesses manage their international payroll, cross-border payments and contractors. It integrates your entire global workforce onto a single platform.
Papaya’s automated SaaS platform simplifies the process of managing global workforces and international payroll across many countries. It also provides features such as onboarding, time tracking and compliance management.
With Papaya, companies can quickly process payroll at a fraction of the time compared with other providers serving international workforces.
- International employee and contractor payments in 160+ countries.
- Multiple services including standalone contractor plan, employer of record service and global benefits plans.
- Comprehensive compliance.
- Powerful analytics and intelligence reporting.
- Multi-country payroll data integration.
- AI-based compliance automations.
- On-the-ground compliance experts.
- Employee relocation and immigration assistance.
- No employer-facing payroll app.
- Limited third-party software integrations.
Papaya Global’s supremely affordable contractor management service costs just $2 per month per contractor.
Our Papaya Global review can tell you more about Papaya’s prices and plans.
Square Payroll: Most affordable contractor payroll
Our star rating: 3.7 out of 5
Square Payroll is a comprehensive payroll solution designed specifically to support small-business payroll. With Square Payroll, you can easily pay W-2 employees and 1099 contractors, process year-end information, file and pay taxes and access helpful support resources. The software also comes with an app for Android and iOS devices that makes it easy to manage your payroll from anywhere.
Square Payroll offers an affordable pricing structure that makes it accessible to businesses of all sizes. With its intuitive interface and straightforward features, Square Payroll is a great choice for startups looking for an efficient way to manage their payroll needs.
- Automatic unlimited payroll runs.
- Integration with Square Point of Sale.
- Standalone contractor-only plan.
- Optional Cash App on-demand payment.
- Extended weekday customer service hours.
- Intuitive user interface.
- Automated built-in time tracking.
- 1099-NEC tax form preparation and mailing included free.
- No base fee for contractor-only plan.
- Fewer payroll reports than more robust payroll tools.
- Contractor-only plan: Costs just $6 per contractor per month.
- Employee and contractor payroll plan: Base fee is $35 per month plus $6 per employee or contractor paid per month.
Our Square Payroll review can tell you more about Square’s prices and plans.
OnPay: Most comprehensive payroll service
Our star rating: 4.2 out of 5
OnPay is a cloud-based payroll processing system that makes it easy for businesses to manage their payroll, taxes, HR and benefits. OnPay’s online payroll services provide an intuitive platform that simplifies the process of setting up employee records and running unlimited payrolls.
With OnPay, you can access your pay stubs and view hours worked and PTO balances on the go with the OnPay Mobile app. Plus, OnPay offers comprehensive HR solutions to help you stay compliant with state and federal regulations.
- Easy contractor onboarding using only ITINs.
- Full-service payroll.
- Self-service tools.
- End-of-year 1099 tax form filing.
- Easy payroll setup for contractors.
- Intuitive, user-friendly interface.
- Real-time payroll updates.
- Multiple payment options.
- Comprehensive HR solutions including onboarding and time tracking tools.
- Fewer third-party integrations than competitors like Gusto.
- One plan only.
OnPay costs $40 per month plus $6 per month per employee or contractor paid.
Our OnPay review can tell you more about OnPay’s prices and plans.
Deel: Best standalone international contractor plan
Our star rating: 4.2 out of 5
Like Papaya Global, Deel is an international payroll service. Along with its employer of record service, global payroll service and immigration assistance service, Deel has a standalone contractor payroll plan that pays contractors in 100+ countries. Deel also offers a free HR admin plan that lets employers store data, automate workflows, collect documentation and manage time off at no additional fee.
- Local compliance experts.
- 150 local currencies.
- Automated local tax payments (when applicable).
- Automated invoicing.
- Multiple plans to support different business types and sizes.
- Payroll in over 100 countries.
- Access to free hiring resources, including a global hiring toolkit.
- Emphasis on correct employee/contractor classification.
- Limited transparent pricing online.
- No mobile app.
Deel’s contractor plan starts at a flat rate of $49 per month (not per person).
Our Deel review can tell you more about Deel’s prices and plans.
To determine which contractor payroll services are best for small businesses, we looked at two dozen of the most popular payroll services in the U.S. We narrowed down our list by prioritizing payroll providers with contractor-specific features or plans. We viewed demos, signed up for free trials and downloaded free versions of each app whenever possible. We also looked at user reviews to ensure our reviews were as well rounded as possible.
To calculate our star ratings, we relied on an internal algorithm that assess brands in the following weighted categories:
- Price (25% of overall score).
- Contractor-specific as well as generic payroll features (35% of overall score).
- Ease of use (15% of overall score).
- Customer service (15% of overall score).
Our expert’s opinion and hands-on software testing experience makes up the final 10% of our calculation.
How to choose the right contractor payroll service for your business
Selecting the best contractor payroll service for your needs is critical. Your choice will depend on the kind of contractor-specific payroll services and features you need, as well as each contractor software service’s cost, ease of use, vendor reputation and scalability.
Once you’ve narrowed down our list of the best payroll software for contractors to one or two options, sign up for a free trial before signing a contract or committing to a payroll program. If a payroll company doesn’t offer a free trial, schedule a customized demo where you can ask questions about how the software will benefit your company specifically.
Read next: A Complete Guide to Payroll Software
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