Whatever industry you work in, if you run a crew, you need a way to run payroll. People don’t like working for free, as it turns out, and cutting paychecks can be a job all of its own. For construction crews, though, payroll can be even more complicated, and not every payroll solution is up to the task.
If you’re in search of a tool to make this process less frustrating, this article will help jumpstart your search.
- Top construction payroll software comparison
- Top construction payroll software
- Key features of construction payroll software
- How do I choose the best construction payroll software for my business?
Top construction payroll software comparison
|Starting price per month||Certified payroll||Union pay and benefits||Compliance management||Multi-job management|
|ADP RUN||Custom||Yes||Yes||Yes||Yes||Try ADP
|Gusto||$40 + $6/person||No||No||Yes||Yes||Try Gusto
|Paychex Flex||Custom||Requires setup||Requires setup||Yes||Requires setup||Try Paychex
|QuickBooks Payroll||$45 + $6/employee||Yes (with add-ons)||Yes (with add-ons)||Yes (with add-ons)||Yes (with add-ons)||Try QuickBooks
|OnPay||$40 + $6/person||No||No||Yes||No||Try OnPay
Top construction payroll software
ADP RUN: Best for outsourced support
ADP is a payroll, HR and talent management platform, with options for small teams, mid-sized brands and enterprise-level businesses. With all-in-one functionality and designed to meet the use case of a number of specialized industries, it’s an excellent option for those who have billing in hand, but are looking for a way to handle internal administration needs.
Of particular note, however, is ADP’s Professional Employer Organization services, allowing smaller teams to outsource these tasks entirely. For growing teams or teams that need to run leaner to minimize overhead, this can ensure smoother operations.
Plans and pricing
- Select: Contact for quote.
- Plus: Contact for quote.
- Premium: Contact for quote.
- Industry-specific functions, such as automated union wage management, job costing reports and certified payroll.
- Supports paying unbanked workers through Wisely Pay.
- Expansive list of advanced features, including time and attendance, enterprise resource planning and more.
- All-in-one solution that can cover nearly every core HR, payroll or talent management function.
- PEO support offers a fully functional outsource option for teams that would rather focus on getting projects done.
- Native time tracking, wage and tax adjustments and industry-specific reporting make it easy to streamline the paperwork behind construction projects.
- Pricing is less transparent than some competitors.
- No free trial for teams that want to take ADP for a test drive first.
- May be more expensive than is needful for smaller crews.
For more information, read the full ADP RUN review.
Gusto: Best for payroll software newcomers
Not everyone who cuts paychecks considers themselves an expert accountant — or a power user, for that matter. Sometimes, what you need is a digital tool that makes the task simpler; that often entails software that removes extraneous bells and whistles to minimize confusion and distraction.
That’s where Gusto comes in. With an intuitive interface, construction-specific features and minimal onboarding time, Gusto can have crews running payroll digitally practically overnight, regardless of payroll experience or digital literacy levels.
- Simple: $40 per month, plus $6 per person per month.
- Plus: $80 per month, plus $12 per person per month.
- Premium: Contact for quote.
- Full-service platform featuring payroll, benefits management, time tracking, talent acquisition and management and more.
- Extensive project costing functionality, making it easier to create accurate estimates and determine profit margins.
- Simplified attendance, time reporting and overtime tracking, so crew members can be paid appropriately for their hard work.
- Gusto includes options for benefits packages, workers’ compensation (including pay-as-you-go), employee self-service and more.
- Transparent pricing, making budget-related decisions easier.
- Intuitive user interface, increasing onboarding speed and minimizing learning curve.
- Automated tax filing, compliance reporting and other HR time-saving features.
- Basic plan limits access to advanced features.
- Some construction crews with more complex payroll needs may find Gusto lacking critical functionality.
For more information, read the full Gusto review.
Paychex Flex: Best for benefits management
One area where many construction crews struggle in comparison to white collar professions is in benefits and benefits management. Not every construction job comes with insurance, PTO, retirement plans or other forms of compensation. Those that do, often have to handle all of the administrative details themselves, making it more of a burden than it should be.
Paychex sets itself apart in how it makes these offerings more accessible to teams that might otherwise decide against adopting them.
- Contact sales for quote.
- Benefits management, including health insurance, PTO, retirement plans and more.
- Onboarding, training, talent management, HR functionality and other tools make finding and keeping team members much easier.
- Native time tracking with companion biometric time clock devices, making clock in/clock out processes touchless.
- Makes acquiring and managing benefits easier and less costly for small- and mid-sized crews.
- Mobile app offers self-service functionality to crew members, including attendance tracking, work schedules and even job assignment management.
- User-friendly platform makes running payroll and HR functions hassle-free, both for administrators and for crew members.
- No subscription tiers, and no pricing information available online.
- Can be more expensive for smaller teams.
- Some users report inconsistent responsiveness from support teams.
For more information, read the full Paychex review.
QuickBooks Payroll: Best for end-to-end accounting
Ever the financial solution juggernaut, QuickBooks has a reputation for being comprehensive and virtually exhaustive in its list of features, functions and supported use cases. It’s known throughout the professional sector as an easy-to-use solution, and it’s often used by small businesses. It’s also known as a more pricey option, but one with features to match the added cost.
Throughout the platform, there are numerous plug-ins, add-ons and integrated solutions, so crews can mix and match their needed tools to get the exact functionality they’re looking for.
- Payroll Core: $45 per month, plus $6 per employee per month.
- Payroll Premium: $80 per month, plus $8 per employee per month.
- Payroll Elite: $125 per month, plus $10 per employee per month.
- First-class platform with tools for accounting, resource management, field service management, order management and a good deal more.
- Industry-leading expert support across a variety of accounting and financial verticals.
- Mix and match modules to build a custom solution that meets your team’s unique needs.
- Get easy-to-use software tailored both for payroll needs and the specifics of the construction industry.
- Rely on one of the most trusted brands in the financial industry.
- Leverage the expertise of an army of accounting experts and access support directly when needed.
- QuickBooks ranks among the most expensive financial software options for smaller businesses, especially when combining multiple module add-ons.
- Standalone payroll doesn’t include construction-specific features, and standalone construction accounting doesn’t include the payroll module — so you’ll have to pair the two together.
For more information, read the full QuickBooks Payroll review.
OnPay: Best for small construction crews
OnPay provides a straightforward, easy-to-use solution for teams that want to get started with digital payroll quickly. With a streamlined platform, transparent pricing and unlimited payroll runs in any given month, there’s a lot to love for smaller teams that have tight budgets and simpler accounting needs.
While it comes with fewer bells and whistles, it offers a host of integration options and an extensive library of HR resources, helping those who are learning payroll and accounting as they go.
- $40 per month, plus $6 per person per month.
- Affordable payroll solution, with smaller teams benefiting from lower costs.
- Unlimited payroll runs mean teams can cut checks as often as they need to for employees and contractors.
- Self-service portal for employees to manage their information on their own.
- Simple solution for simple use cases.
- Easy to get started and easy to use.
- Integrates with a variety of popular accounting and management tools.
- Lacks volume discounts, making the software increasingly expensive for larger teams.
- Teams with more complex needs may find the lack of features frustrating.
- Mobile app available for only iOS right now.
For more information, read the full OnPay review.
eBacon: Best for wage management
Even from its logo, eBacon communicates who the target market for the software is. Designed especially for construction and labor crews, eBacon is payroll software built to navigate the complex environment of wage differentials, workers’ compensation and time tracking that make up a given crew’s day-to-day activities.
With baked-in functionality to accommodate union and nonunion pay, prevailing wage, certified payroll, fringe benefits and more, there are few tools on the market more accurately tailored to the needs of construction teams.
- Contact sales for more information.
- Baked-in functionality to address a host of complex construction wage concerns, such as prevailing wage.
- Streamlined job/project setup, allowing for hassle-free management of teams and assignments.
- Real-time validation and autoverification of time and rates to ensure accuracy and compliance.
- Minimizes effort and time needed to manage payroll compliance and accuracy.
- Reduces complexity and automates calculations for details such as wage restitution, compliance reports, fringe benefit management and more.
- Designed to meet the unique concerns of construction-centered payroll functionality.
- Lacks pricing transparency.
- No contractor-only payroll plan.
Payroll4Construction: Best for complex construction teams
While many construction crews are smaller teams that operate locally, some are larger outfits, licensed to operate across state lines. With the increased size and operational area comes added complexity, as labor laws vary from city to city and state to state, and tracking all of that manually can become prohibitively time-intensive.
Payroll4Construction is built to address that very problem, providing the push-button simplicity to complicated construction payroll that simpler payroll use cases have enjoyed for years.
- Contact sales for quote.
- Built-in functionality for managing multiple jobs, locations, union/trade pay rates, compliance concerns and more.
- Automatically handle pay rates, fringes, prevailing wages, workers’ compensation and more.
- Robust reporting to facilitate compliance with a host of regulations across the country.
- All of the benefits of a fully functional, first-rate payroll solution with all the added features critical to construction teams.
- Minimize compliance issues and reduce payroll labor costs.
- Ensure payroll accuracy regardless of circumstantial wage concerns.
- Mobile functionality to support time tracking, timecard approval, payroll runs and more.
- May carry higher expense than competing solutions.
- May be less suited to outfits operating at a smaller scale or at a single locality.
Key features of construction payroll software
A lot of white collar, office-based professions can get by with standard, out-of-the-box payroll solutions. The construction industry carries some special circumstances that may make these same solutions a poor fit. Specifics will obviously vary from crew to crew, but on the whole, there are a number of important features that any software will need to include.
A large portion of professionals and laborers that work in the construction industry base their pay on hourly rates. That’s why accurate time tracking is so important and why so many crews need it. Manual labor jobs have very strict overtime regulations, and the penalties for violating them can be hefty.
Wages for laborers, tradespeople and construction crews can get incredibly complex and difficult to track. Most who work outside of the construction industry don’t realize how much has to be checked and cross-referenced to get correct numbers — union rates, prevailing wages, fringe wages, overtime pay — and how much work that takes to do manually. A payroll solution that can’t automate this functionality is leaving a hefty burden on the user’s plate.
Bank accounts, direct deposits and debit cards are all things many of us take for granted. However, not every laborer has or can facilitate those things. It’s still pretty common for workers to need their payment by check or in cash because they don’t have a bank account. For teams that deal with this, having software that supports multiple methods of paying employees is critical.
Union and trade concerns
A lot of wage issues are tied to union agreements, differences in pay scales between trades and the like. But those aren’t the only matters that paying union or trade workers can present a company with. There are a host of rules, stipulations and regulations that may require financial and legal navigation, and automating the paperwork as much as possible is key to reducing administrative burden.
They don’t call them “subcontractors” for nothing. Most people who hear the term “contractor” immediately think of construction crews, and there’s a good reason for that. The term is used quite heavily in the industry to denote the roles and business relationships between parties.
Long story short, not everyone on the payroll is a W-2 employee, and depending on the outfit, the independent subcontractors may outnumber the general contractor’s regular crew. In other words, payroll usually needs to be able to cover I-9 employees too.
How do I choose the best construction payroll software for my business?
To do a job right, you need the right tool for the job. And just like you wouldn’t use a screwdriver on a nail, a payroll solution that doesn’t support the needs of construction crews is best left “in the toolbox,” so to speak. Your crew’s needs are unique, even among other construction teams. A software suite that works for some of your competitors might not work for you.
So, be sure to shop around, ask around and test when you can to find what works for you. Just like on the jobsite, you’ll know you’ve found what you’re looking for when things go from painful frustration to effortless completion.
While writing this article, we researched the vendors and their websites, as well as customer reviews and ratings to gain a full understanding of where each solution fits into the market landscape — and who they serve most effectively.
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