SurePayroll Review: A simple, service-oriented solution

Posted 5 years ago in Product Reviews
by Tim Chaves

SurePayroll is an online, full-service payroll solution for small businesses and individuals. It was founded in 2000 and acquired by Paychex in 2001. While its simplicity is not recommended for large companies, we’ll review some of the features that customers love about SurePayroll.  

What are the features of SurePayroll?

SurePayroll is a cloud-based payroll solution, meaning that you can access or run payroll any time, any where. Their goal is to make payroll simple for small business owners, through a three step process:

  1. Enter employee wages and hours
  2. Preview deductions and tax rates
  3. Approve payroll

Additionally, SurePayroll offers many reports that are beneficial to employers—payroll, employee benefits, quarterly reports, etc.—as well as the following features:

Tax filing guarantee

SurePayroll handles all tax obligations for you. From calculating to filing to paying taxes, they guarantee accuracy and timeliness. SurePayroll promises to keep track of federal, state and local taxes and they also handle all new hire reporting.

If something is amiss and you receive a tax notice based on a SurePayroll filing, they will work with the agency on your behalf and pay any associated fees or penalties.

In accordance with tax compliance, you have access to SureAdvisor business forms, including downloadable posters, how-to guides and customizable business templates.

Flexible employee options

SurePayroll allows for any combination of W-2 employees and 1099 contractors. Personalize pay rates and schedules and even split paychecks into multiple accounts. When needed, you can also include bonuses, tips and other corrections.

SurePayroll also caters to individuals with household employees, who may or may not realize that they need a payroll solution (FYI: If you pay more than $2,100 a year to a nanny, babysitter, caregiver or other household worker, you need to file employment taxes for them).

According to their white paper, SurePayroll believes that they are a great fit for companies of 100 employees or less, but they encourage larger businesses to find a different payroll provider.  

Auto payroll

If you don’t want employee compensation hanging over your head, you can set SurePayroll to run automatically. Set up auto payroll by entering wage information and pay schedules.

You can use auto payroll for both hourly and salaried employees. SurePayroll will send you a reminder when payday is on its way and give you a revision deadline. Then, you’ll receive a confirmation when payroll has processed.

All payroll plans are eligible for direct deposit. If you opted for printed checks, you’ll still have to process those manually.

Expedited transactions

The standard processing time for SurePayroll is two days (for payrolls approved by 2 pm). However, if you are really in a pinch, you can request expedited payroll options.

SurePayroll clients can qualify for same-day or next-day payroll if

  • they have run at least six payrolls and
  • they haven’t had any instances of non-sufficient funds over the last six months.

For same-day payroll the deadline is 10:30 am CST; next-day payroll is 3:00 pm CST. Expedited transactions are not available on weekends or holidays, only business days.

Benefit packages

SurePayroll offers many benefit and HR options for payroll clients. Withholding and deductions are done automatically for every paycheck and tax compliance is taken care of as well.

Because SurePayroll is a Paychex subsidiary, most of their packages are offered through Paychex’s Insurance Agency. The following benefits packages can be added to your payroll solution (pricing varies):

  • 401(k) benefits: Over 1,600 investment options with employee matching at the rate you choose.
  • Workers’ comp: Get competitive quotes from nationwide carriers with pay-as-you-go coverage.
  • Health insurance: Choose a plan that fits your business size (groups, families or individuals) and access tools, info and resources that help you comply with health care reform requirements.
  • Pre-employment screenings: Utilize online, on-demand screening for background checks, skills testing and more.

Customer service

Most clients praise SurePayroll’s customer service. The customer success department won several awards in 2015 for their high standards of service and have less than 40 complaints on BBB.

The first time you run payroll, you’ll receive enrollment assistance and a free walk-through. Afterwards, customer service representatives can guide you through tech or compliance issues via phone, email or chat.

Customer service lines are open from 7 am-8 pm on weekdays and from 9 am-1 pm on Saturdays. Support is based in the U.S. and is available in Spanish or English.

Time clock integration

Integrate payroll with your attendance system to eliminate the need for manual entry. SurePayoll offers time clock integration for an additional $9.99/month. They integrate with many popular time tracking software systems including Novatime, Buddy Punch and NETtime Solutions.

Accounting integration

SurePayroll also helps you to easily import payroll data into your general ledger by integrating with many accounting systems. Accounting integration costs an additional $4.99/month and is available for QuickBooks Online, Xero, Intacct, AccountEdge, Less Accounting and Sage 50.

Mobile app

SurePayroll also offers a free mobile app for iOS and Android devices. While the app doesn’t have all of the features available on the website, it does allow you to process payroll quickly and easily. Employers can also use the app to access employee contact info and view previous payroll reports.

There is a separate app available for employees, where they can review current and previous pay stubs. SurePayroll apps can be downloaded from the iTunes store or Google Play.

What kind of solutions do they offer?

SurePayroll provides solutions to small businesses, individuals and accountants. All solutions start with an affordable base rate that varies based on the needs of your business.

Industry-specific payroll

SurePayroll offers individualized solutions based on your industry. Specifically, they cater to:

  • Small Businesses
  • Officer-only or S-corporations
  • Restaurants
  • Nonprofits
  • Churches & Clergy
  • Individuals with Nannies or Household Workers

All industry-based solutions start at $29.99/month plus $4 per employee. For individuals with a nanny or household employee, plans start at $39.99/month.

In addition to their tax compliance guarantee, SurePayroll promises to manage all industry-specific needs like FICA tip reports and Schedule H forms.

Accountant resellers

If you are an accountant looking for a payroll solution for small business clients, SurePayroll offers the unique option of a white label solution.

Many accountants are already processing payroll for their clients or are looking to outsource. You can use your firm’s website and logo to resell SurePayroll to small business owners. In addition to markup profits, accountants are rewarded with $100 for every client they refer.

How much does SurePayroll cost?

SurePayroll’s base pricing starts at $29.99 per month, plus $4 per employee. Because it is a monthly fee, you can run payroll as many times as you need to during the month without paying extra. Furthermore, there are no set up fees or cancellation costs.

Pricing varies by industry and business needs—though they seem to be willing to work with you to give you the best offer. There is also a free two-month trial available for new users.

Payroll solutions for nannies or household workers start at $39.99 per month for one employee. If you have more than one household employee, your rate will increase.

Certain add-ons come with an additional price tag:

  • Multiple state filing: $9.99 flat rate/month
  • Ohio or Pennsylvania local service tax filing: $9.99 flat rate/month
  • Time clock integration: $9.99/month
  • Accounting integration: $4.99/month

What do the reviews say?

Reviews of SurePayroll are generally positive. On the review sites I checked, SurePayroll is rated 4-stars or higher and there seem to be a lot of happy customers. SurePayroll has 4.9 stars on Google (from 478 reviews), 4.5 stars on G2 Crowd (from 323 reviews) and 4.7 stars on iTunes App Store (from 1.6K reviews).

Most reviewers are pleased with the customer service and response times. They also appreciate being able to completely hand off payroll taxes with SurePayroll’s compliance guarantee. However, there are a few complaints about log-in issues and the user interface.

Consider some of the most recent customer reviews:

“The product is easy to use. When you have a question the customer service team has the answers, are quick and very professional. In addition, my accountant has easy access to all my information.”

“Not a bad value for the money overall, especially when getting started.”

“Pain free setup, easy to use intuitive web site and even easier to use phone app. Just entered my payroll for this period using the app and it took me less than two minutes.”

“They have been spot on with my payroll taxes which is my biggest concern.  No one wants to be in trouble with the IRS.”

“The site is just very basic, no robust features, but the core of the product does work. Finding where documents are is a little non-user friendly, but not the worst I’ve seen.”

“I hate that when you log into (a saved device) it still says you have to send a verification code to your phone. I get that it is good for security, but it just takes extra time and steps when I have already saved the device!”

“Clunky from a user experience.”

What are some alternatives to SurePayroll?

SurePayroll is a basic, affordable solution for small businesses and households, but there are other solutions that may fit your business needs better. Here are a few alternatives to consider:


One of the most popular payroll solutions for small businesses is Gusto. According to their website, 9 out of 10 customers say it’s easy to set up. All plans come with standard payroll, time-tracking integrations, automatic tax filing, and an employee self-service portal. Additional features can be added, including health benefits, 401(k) plans, workers’ comp insurance and full-service HR support.

Pricing: Starts at $39/month + $6 per person/month

Free Trial: 1 month (3 months w/ZipBooks)

Square Payroll

If you don’t need the bells and whistles, Square Payroll is an affordable solution from a trusted brand. The reception for Square Payroll has been largely positive, especially from small businesses who are already using Square POS. They also offer the unique option to choose an independent contractors-only plan with no monthly subscription fee.

Pricing: Starts at $0/month + $5 per contractor/month

Free Trial: 1 month

Inova Payroll

If you are looking for a payroll option that will scale with your business, Inova Payroll might be a good fit. Inova offers solutions by size and industry as well as à la carte features. The company prides themselves on exceptional customer service and offers a Two Year Price Guarantee. There are many add-ons available including benefits administration, talent management and virtual HR help.

Pricing: Request a custom quote

Free Trial: No

Should I use SurePayroll for my business?

SurePayroll is an affordable solution with a history of customer satisfaction and the backing and resources of a large corporation. While some review articles cited extra costs for year-end taxes and forms, it seems that SurePayroll has streamlined their pricing to cover all necessary tax items. Most customers appreciate the service and helpful reports. Others believe that the design is too basic and a little dated.

Your payroll solution should meet your budget and meet your needs. Whatever option you choose, ZipBooks will work with with your payroll in order to make you and your accounting smarter.  

About Tim

Tim is Founder and CEO of ZipBooks. He keeps his desk really nice and neat.

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