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best payroll software for Pet Care Companies

best payroll software for small businesses

best payroll software for Pet Care companies

Lest you think this was written by a very boring robot, I’ll open this discussion with an honest confession: I hate running payroll. I got into this business because I love being outside with animals—and I wanted to get as far away as possible from a job that forced me to sit at a desk and look at numbers all day. (No offense, desk and numbers people.)

Once I became a business owner, though, I quickly learned the admin stuff is unavoidable (*heavy sigh*) so I took it upon myself to seek out services that make it a little less miserable. Below are a few we’ve used/considered.

A note about pricing: most companies run promos so actual prices may be lower than those listed below.

#1 Gusto


Pricing: Starts at $40/mo + $6/mo per employee.

Additional comments/features: We use Gusto Plus. Not to be a total sucker for aesthetics, but we really like the interface and look of Gusto. Our employees find it easy to use, and they have lifetime access to their accounts, even if they leave Urban Tailz.

From an admin standpoint, we like that Gusto offers on-boarding and hiring tools in all its plans, with more advanced HR features available in Plus and Premium plans. In general, Gusto offers a ton of stuff at its most basic level (like tax filing, health benefits administrations and workers’ comp, etc.). Other services, like ADP RUN, charge for these ad-on features.

Our biggest (and really only) bugaboo with Gusto is its limited live support hours. Customer service reps are only available 7am – 6pm MST Monday through Friday, which has burned me more times than I care to count. 

Use our referral link to receive a $100 or $200 Visa gift card (depending on your number of employees) when you create a new account with Gusto.


#2 QuickBooks


Pricing: Starts at $45/mo + $5/mo per employee.

Additional comments/features: QuickBooks offers free next-day direct deposit at the most basic plan, which is pretty rare. When comparing QuickBooks and Gusto, NerdWallet has the two platforms tied. According to their reviewers, “Gusto is more scalable and HR-focused, whereas QuickBooks Payroll offers quicker direct deposit and more robust in-house time tracking.” 

One other thing to keep in mind: QuickBooks Payroll doesn’t play well with third-party services; it can only integrate with other QuickBooks/Intuit products. This can be tricky if you use a non-QuickBooks/Intuit service for accounting, point-of-sale or time tracking. (Gusto is easy to integrate with third-party software, QuickBooks included.) That said, we’d only recommend QuickBooks Payroll for folks already using a QuickBooks accounting product.

#3 OnPay


Pricing: Starts at $40/mo + $6/mo per employee.

Additional comments/features: OnPay is a great option, as it includes a ton of payroll and HR features at a single, competitive price—no pricing tiers, no sneaky add-ons, etc. We love how simple and transparent it is. If we ever switch services, this would likely be a top contender. 

Where ADP RUN is basically a minefield of add-on fees, OnPay “identifies only three situations where additional fees could apply: when OnPay prints and mails W-2s and 1099s to employees on your behalf, if you can’t cover the cost of a payroll run, and premiums for health, retirement and workers’ compensation policies.”

OnPay can integrate with a limited number of third-party services.



Pricing: Quote-based—so not at all upfront. We don’t love this. Also with ADP RUN, you’re more likely to pay for add-ons. 

Additional comments/features: As you can see above, ADP RUN doesn’t include a lot of stuff for free. Gusto, OnPay and QuickBooks include most of the above features in their most basic packages. If you wanted to build something comparable through ADP RUN, you’d have to pay for a bunch of add-ons. (This is why the pricing structure is so muddy.)

On the plus side, ADP is a trusted name in payroll. Lots of people love it, and it’s got great reviews. A lot of that is likely owed to ADP’s 24/7 phone and online support. (We wish we had this.)

ADP RUN is all about scale. The pricing and accessibility changes as your business grows which, to be honest, sounds like a nightmare to keep up with. With Gusto, we don’t have to worry about changing products—and dealing with all the rigamarole therein—as business fluctuates. Our business changed sooo much during the height of the pandemic. Renegotiating our payroll plan in the middle of that dumpster fire sounds like a fresh new level of hell.

Another major downside to ADP RUN is that it doesn’t allow contractor payments. All our sitters and walkers are employees, so it’s not an issue for us, but it’s definitely a downside if you’re still one of the many pet care companies using contractors.

Our goal in writing this post is to highlight the payroll software services that can help local dog walking companies, like Urban Tailz, stay competitive in the evolving landscape. That said, if we’ve misreported any information above, please let us know and we’ll update the post. The ratings above are only opinions of Urban Tailz and should not be treated as fact.