The 6 Best Payroll Software Services For 1-Employee Businesses In 2023


The 6 Best Payroll Software Services For 1-Employee Businesses In 2023

  • ADP: Best overall

  • Gusto: Best for scalability

  • Paychex: Best for tax handling

  • QuickBooks: Best for customizable payroll reports

  • Paylocity: Best for easy setup

  • Square Payroll: Best for payment flexibility

Managing payroll can be daunting for small business owners, particularly for one-employee businesses. Running a one-employee business means you are not just responsible for your business growth but are also faced with handling payroll operations, such as tax calculations, invoicing, record-keeping and more. Managing all these factors can be stressful and distracting.

Fortunately, there are payroll software and services that can automate these payroll operations and save one-employee businesses from payroll complexities. Here is a review of the best one-employee payroll solutions to help you make the right choice for your company.

Jump to:

  • Top one-employee payroll software comparison table
  • Key features of one-employee payroll software
  • How do I choose the best one-employee payroll software for my business?
  • Methodology

Top one-employee payroll software comparison table

Here is a comparison chart of the best one-employee business payroll software solutions in 2023. This chart compares some key features of payroll software for one-employee businesses and a summary of what to expect in their pricing plans.

Advanced reportingAutomated payrollFree trialMobile app for payrollPricing
ADPYesYesYes, for three monthsYesInformation available upon request
GustoYesYesNoYesStarting at $35 plus $6 per person per month (Contractor Only plan)
PaychexYesYesNoYesStarting at $39 plus $5 per user per month
QuickBooksYesYesNoYesStarting at $45 plus $5 per employee per month
PaylocityYesYesNoYesInformation available upon request
Square PayrollNoYesNoYesStarting at $5 per month per person paid (Contractor Only plan)

ADP: Best overall

Image: ADP

ADP is a payroll services provider that offers a customizable and scalable payroll solution for different scales of business. ADP’s one-employee payroll solution provides enough flexibility within its payroll system, allowing you to pay for only the services you need, thereby lowering the cost of the service.

With ADP payroll software, one-employee business owners can choose either the payroll processing service or managed services option. With the ADP payroll processing service option, ADP hosts the processing platform while you manage data entry and validate data output. On the other hand, you can opt for the managed services option, where ADP manages the entire payroll process for you.

Regardless of the option you select, ADP ensures you stay compliant with IRS and other regulations while receiving quarterly and annual reports.


  • ADP ensures that payroll taxes are calculated, deducted and paid automatically.
  • ADP is enabled for direct debit, ensuring any employee you bring on gets paid fast.
  • The software can complete your quarterly and annual reporting for you.
  • ADP gives one-employee businesses access to a marketing toolkit from Upnetic to help them build, grow and manage their digital services.
  • If you offer hourly pay services, ADP can seamlessly integrate time tracking with payroll.


  • ADP offers an automated payroll service.
  • Offers quick payments that are done in minutes.
  • Offers a mobile app version.


  • Pricing is not explicitly stated.
  • The features covered in the lowest plan are only for basic payroll.


ADP offers the following pricing categories:

  • ADP Essential: for basic payroll.
  • ADP Enhanced: for basic payroll and ZipRecruiter services.
  • ADP Complete Payroll and HR: includes features from the plans above.
  • ADP HR Pro: houses a complete suite of payroll and HR services.

You will need to get a price quote from the ADP sales team to get a specific price for each category.

Gusto: Best for scalability

Image: Gusto

Gusto’s payroll solution helps one-employee businesses navigate payroll complexities, including compliance, audits, regulatory changes, invoicing and handling sensitive payroll data.

With Gusto, pricing tiers are clearly stated, allowing you to know how much each plan is worth.

In addition, Gusto payroll allows you to run unlimited payroll and offers 24/7 support that addresses complaints and questions promptly. Gusto also allows for scalability, making it easier for one-employee businesses to onboard, pay and insure more employees without reworking their entire business structure.


  • Gusto offers unlimited pay runs for one employee.
  • There is an automatic payroll feature that ensures you get paid on time.
  • Gusto can handle unlimited contractor payments across all 50 states.
  • There is lifetime access to digital pay stubs and W-2s in their Gusto account.


  • Pricing is clearly outlined.
  • There is 24/7 support available for customers.
  • The platform offers plenty of how-tos and reference materials to ensure ease of use.


  • International contractor payments are only available as an add-on feature.
  • Direct deposit takes up to four days.


Gusto offers a contractor-only plan at $35 per month plus $6 per month per contractor.

Other available plans include:

  • Simple: $40 per month plus $6 per month per person.
  • Plus: $80 per month plus $12 per month per person.
  • Premium: pricing is available upon request.

It’s important to note that many of these plans are offered with discounts on a regular basis.

Paychex: Best for tax handling

Image: Paychex

Paychex is an all-in-one payroll, HR and benefits platform designed for different levels of business. For one-employee businesses, Paychex offers a payroll package known as Paychex Flex. With Paychex Flex, one-employee business owners can access automated and manual payroll services online from desktop or mobile with the option to work with a dedicated payroll specialist.

Included in Paychex payroll technology are multiple payment options such as direct deposit, same-day ACH and real-time payments. In addition, customers can utilize Paychex Voice Assist, allowing them to use voice prompts to handle such activities as payroll reviews, approvals, submissions and updates.


  • The platform offers multiple payment options for customers.
  • Users can use the built-in Paychex Voice Assistant feature to perform payroll tasks quickly.
  • There are in-app help options, including tutorials and how-to guides for users.
  • Payments can be processed on autopilot or manually.


  • Paychex automatically calculates, files and remits payroll taxes from your account.
  • Users can access the platform on their mobile devices.
  • There are different payment options.


  • W-2 and 1099 features come only as add-ons.
  • Custom analytics and report center features are available only on the Paychex Flex Pro plan.
  • Only the basic plan (Paychex Flex Essentials) has a clear-cut pricing plan.


Paychex Flex operates with a three-tier pricing model:

  • Paychex Flex Essentials: starts at $39 per month plus $5 per employee per month.
  • Paychex Flex Select: pricing information is available upon request.
  • Paychex Flex Pro: pricing information is available upon request.

QuickBooks: Best for customizable payroll reports

Image: Intuit QuickBooks

QuickBooks is another popular one-business payroll solution with features to help one-employee business owners automate payroll processes. The platform is designed to help you streamline your tax and financial information to get your payroll processes up and running.

With QuickBooks Payroll, one-employee businesses can stay compliant as the platform collects all necessary information from bank account details, tax ID numbers, IRS filings and W-2s. Also built into QuickBooks are over fifteen customizable payroll reports, which enable users to view bank transactions and payroll tax deductions in real-time.


  • The platform offers multiple options for payroll report customization.
  • Users can view their payroll and banking transactions in real-time.
  • QuickBooks provides features that enable you to track projects.
  • Users can carry out payroll from their mobile phones.


  • Pricing details are more transparent than most competitors.
  • There is flexibility in how users view payroll reports.
  • Users can access full-service payroll on the lowest plan.


  • The basic plan does not cover same-day direct deposit.
  • Tax penalty protection is only available in the Elite plan.


The pricing plans available for one-employee businesses using QuickBooks Payroll are:

  • Core: $45 per month plus $5 per employee per month.
  • Premium: $75 per month plus $8 per employee per month.
  • Elite: $125 per month plus $10 per employee per month.

It’s important to note that many of these plans are offered with discounts on a regular basis.

Paylocity: Best for easy setup

Image: Paylocity

Paylocity is another payroll tool that provides one-employee businesses with a comprehensive and easy-to-use solution for managing payroll. With Paylocity, you can automate your payroll processes and ensure accuracy and compliance with various state and federal regulations.

The tool also offers features such as direct deposit, tax filing and year-end reporting, making it a valuable resource for businesses looking to streamline their payroll operations. In addition, the software is designed to be intuitive and user-friendly, with customizable dashboards and reports that provide you with insights into your payroll operations.


  • Paylocity offers payroll services that can be managed from both desktop and mobile devices.
  • The platform automates the calculation, payment and filing of taxes.
  • Users can get quarterly and year-end reporting at no extra charge.
  • The tool can help you determine your state and local taxes automatically based on home and work locations.
  • Paylocity can resolve tax notices on your behalf without altering your address with taxing authorities.


  • Helps to track time worked and calculates payroll accordingly.
  • The tool automatically updates your local and state taxes automatically based on your location.
  • The platform offers customizable payroll reports and provides real-time insights into critical metrics.


  • There is no free trial.
  • Pricing information is not transparently provided.


Pricing information is only available upon request from the sales team.

Square Payroll: Best for payment flexibility

Image: Square

Square Payroll is a payroll solution designed to assist small businesses in managing their payroll operations online. Square Payroll software can handle payroll needs such as automatic payroll and tax filing across federal, state and local tax jurisdictions. The software operates a flexible payment model that enables users to pay with manual paychecks, direct deposit or the Square Cash application. Payments can also be scheduled weekly, biweekly or bimonthly.

In addition, Square Payroll is compatible and integrates with a range of other payment processing and accounting software, such as Square POS and QuickBooks.


  • Square Payroll can be accessed on desktops and mobile devices and can run on Android and iOS operating systems.
  • Timecard integration allows you to import hours worked from partner apps.
  • The software enables you to automatically track and import tips and commissions from the Square POS.
  • Square Payroll offers specialist support for users switching payroll providers.


  • It is easy to set up.
  • It can be accessed on desktop and mobile.
  • Operates in all 50 U.S. states.


  • No free trial.
  • Limited customer support hours.


Square Payroll offers two pricing plans:

  • Pay Employees & Contractors: $35 per month plus $5 per month per person paid.
  • Pay Contractors Only: $5 per month per person paid.

Key features of one-employee payroll software

When choosing payroll software for a one-employee business, these are essential features to consider in your selection process.


Although one-employee business owners operate independently and determine how to offer their products and services, this does not write off the organization’s chances of expansion. As a result, business owners should consider that they might need to scale their business in the future and choose a payroll solution that promises scalability.

Scalability, in this sense, could be the ability of a payroll platform to incorporate and accommodate the growing needs of your business, which could come in the form of expanding your client network to different parts of the globe where you have to different tax laws.


Automated payroll makes it easy to set your payroll on autopilot. Running a one-employee business where you are responsible for different aspects of business growth and the risks involved can be tasking. Having a payroll solution where all you need to do is set up the software to handle payroll even when you are not looking is a feature your preferred payroll solution should have.


The ability to use any tool without encountering many difficulties is critical to how successful you will be while using the tool. The same goes for payroll software and services for one-employee businesses. Consider a solution with an easy-to-navigate interface, straightforward installation, explicable reports, flexible integration and abundant resources on how to use the software.


Payroll involves the movement of funds, invoicing, tax details and other forms of personally identifiable information. With data breaches on the rise, cybercriminals are often attracted to such information and look for vulnerabilities to exploit. Therefore, it’s important to consider if the payroll software you want meets industry security standards.


Customization is an essential feature of modern payroll tools. A payroll solution with customization features will allow you to customize various features and modules, such as reports and setup processes.

As a one-employee business owner, you’re likely more interested in having things run as easily as possible. Having a software solution you can customize to your standard is one way to achieve that. For instance, your payroll report might come with extensive information you consider irrelevant and distracting. However, with customization, you can tailor this report to fit your needs.

How do I choose the best one-employee payroll software for my business?

Choosing the best one-employee payroll software for your business requires careful consideration. Here are some tips on how you can make the right choice.

Consider the features

Payroll software features vary widely depending on the vendor and package you choose. Some software packages offer basic features for calculating taxes, generating pay stubs and making direct deposits, while others offer more advanced features like vacation and sick time tracking, employee benefits management and tax filings. Determine which features are essential for your one-employee business and choose a payroll service that meets those needs.

Check for compliance

Payroll taxes can be complex, and as a one-employee business owner, you may not be familiar with all the tax laws and regulations that apply to your business. You want to choose payroll software that automatically calculates and deducts payroll taxes and ensures all taxes are filed correctly and on time. Check if the software offers features such as automatic tax calculation, tax form generation and reminders for tax deadlines.

Consider integrations

If you are already using accounting or bookkeeping software, it is essential to choose a payroll solution that integrates with your existing solution. Integrations help you avoid manual data entry and reduce the risk of errors.

Look for affordable pricing

Price is a significant factor when choosing payroll software. As a small business owner, you need to ensure that the software fits your budget. Look for payroll software that offers affordable pricing with no hidden fees or charges.

Determine whether the software you want offers a free trial period and, during the trial period, evaluate whether software features justify the cost. For instance, ADP offers a three-month free trial, which should be enough time for you to determine whether this tool suits your business.

Consider customer support

Even with user-friendly software, you may need assistance or have questions or concerns about the software. Therefore, choosing payroll software with excellent customer support is crucial. Check if the software offers multiple support channels like phone, email, chat or a knowledge base. From there, choose a software vendor that provides responsive, knowledgeable and helpful customer service.


Our selection process for the best payroll software for one-employee businesses involved comparing the most popular options and assessing key features that are unique to each. We narrowed our choices to the best six solutions based on criteria such as payroll automation, tax filing, ease of use, customization parameters and reporting capabilities.

We considered these features as critical aspects for every payroll software for one-employee businesses to have. Thus, these criteria informed our decisions as we conducted a thorough review of each payroll solution, highlighting their notable features, advantages and disadvantages.

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ADP: Best overall Gusto: Best for scalability Paychex: Best for tax handling QuickBooks: Best for customizable payroll reports Paylocity: Best for easy setup Square Payroll: Best for payment flexibility Managing payroll can be daunting for small business owners, particularly for one-employee businesses. Running a one-employee business means you are not just responsible for your business…