Rippling vs Gusto: Business Owners, Which Do You Choose?

Business Strategies
8 min
Mar 17, 2023

If you have employees, then payroll is just one of those things that you have to do.

It’s not like running Facebook ads or creating cheezy company t-shirts.

This is like… legally required.

So, if you have to do it, which software do you go with? 

Gusto and Rippling are two of the biggest players in this space and in this guide, we walk you through the differences, similarities, and more in an easy-to-digest format so you can make the best decision for your business.

[fs-toc-omit]Rippling vs. Gusto: The One Thing You NEED to Have to Use Either of Them

You need business banking. Without it, how will Gusto or Rippling pay your people!?

And while Gusto and Rippling will integrate with any legitimate banking with a routing and account number, Flexbase Business Banking gives you the following:

  • Up to +4% APY on your idle cash
  • 1.5% cash back on business debit card transactions
  • Free wires

[fs-toc-omit]Rippling vs. Gusto: Pricing


Gusto’s pricing is significantly more clear and upfront that Ripping’s. If you go to their pricing page, you’ll see something like this:

Vs. if you go to Rippling, at the top it says “Starting at $8 per user” but then you have to go through every sub-category (such as “Workforce Platform” or “HR Cloud”) and click “Learn More.” Just in the screenshot below (not the full lanading page, by the way!) you’d have to click on “Learn More” 10 times.

And even if you do take the time to click “Learn More” on each one of them, the destination page isn’t super helpful.

Overall, when looking at the final pricing structure between Gusto and Rippling (even though Rippling’s is confusing), the prices end up being comparable. 

[fs-toc-omit]Rippling vs. Gusto: Usability of Main Dashboard


The basic breakdown is:

  • Gusto: Slightly overdone. Lots of notifications and “Recommendations” so it feels slightly overwhelming whenever you log in. But, overall, it's still very easy to use.

  • Rippling: Simple. On the left sidebar, they only use icons instead of words but when you hover over, it immediately expands (see below).

[fs-toc-omit]Rippling vs. Gusto: Ease of Running Payroll


I’ve run payroll on both Gusto and Rippling many times. And overall, the experience is basically the same. 

However, Rippling has more steps and it’s a little less clear from the main dashboard:

You think that you’d hover over the left sidebar → click HR Management → and then immediately see Payroll. But you don’t.

So then you hover over the sidebar → click on Tools → and then you’d immediately see Payroll? But again, you don’t.

Instead, you have to scroll down from the main dashboard page until you see “Apps”.

From there, you hit Payroll.

Vs. with Gusto, “Payroll” is super clear on the left side.

Once you get into actually running payroll, the flows are pretty much the same. There are minor differences but overall, I’d say that they both have the same ease of use once you start actually running payroll.

You can see what the different screens look like below.

Step 1 Screen:

Step 2 Screen:

Step 3 Screen:

[fs-toc-omit]Rippling vs. Gusto: Hiring and Onboarding


Both tools make it quite simple to hire and onboard.

With Gusto, you can easily just “Add a Team Member.”

At that point, Gusto walks you through a very simple process of what type of person you want to hire, running background checks, signing contracts, etc.

With Rippling, you can easily just click “Hire” from the left sidebar.

And just like with Gusto, Rippling walks you through an incredibly simple process as to what type of person you want to hire, sending them paperwork, and more.

I personally think that Gusto’s order of operations, in terms of what questions they ask and how they visually queue up those questions, is about 5-10% better than Rippling.

But again, they’re both incredibly simple to use.

[fs-toc-omit]Rippling vs. Gusto: Firing and Offboarding


Rippling has this locked in a little better than Gusto.

With Gusto, it’s hard to know where to look. 

You have to… go to “Team” → Click on the person you want to offboard → look around their profile → and finally, in the fine print on the bottom right after scrolling, you’ll see the “Start Employee Dismissal” fine print.

With Rippling, “Offboard” is easily accessible from the left sidebar.

And once you click “Offboard”, Rippling makes it super simple and shows you a progress bar at the top to know how much more work you have to do.

[fs-toc-omit]Rippling vs. Gusto: Which Do You Get?


It’s a loaded question!

  • Are you price sensitive?
  • Do you NEED hyper specific features to successfully run your business like concierge HR services?
  • Are you mainly trying to bring on W-2 employees, 1099 contractors, international hires?

Overall, if your business is simple and straightforward and all you need to do is the simple stuff (hire, run payroll, offboard, etc), then both Rippling and Gusto will get the job done.