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Gusto vs. BambooHR — Choose the Best HR Software Platform for Your Small Business

Trying to decide between Gusto and Bamboo for your small business? Read this...

Evelyn Duskey
HR tech and digital transformation writer
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As many small-business owners have discovered, there’s a multitude of software options available to provide the logistical and organizational support they need to run their business as efficiently and effectively as possible. For small businesses in need of a good HR management software platform, BambooHR and Gusto are two of the most popular options, with both being highly rated by their users. 

To help you make this difficult decision, we’ve created this in-depth comparison to share everything we know about these two cloud-based HR software platforms. From pricing structures to versatility to ease of implementation, compare and contrast the different features of these web-based management tools to make the best decision for your unique business needs. 

In This Article

Gusto and BambooHR Feature Comparison

FeaturesBamboo HRGusto
Full-service payroll
Employee self service and profiles
Company calendar
Health benefits administration
Workers comp administration
Customer support
Admin permissions
Mobile app (for iOS and Android)
Single sign-on
Employee offers and onboarding
Simple time tracking
PTO policies and time-off requests
Employee directory
Certified HR pros
Customer success webinar library✗;
HR resource center
Employee access to cash-out

BambooHR and Gusto are robust HR platforms, with plenty of functionality to cut down on human resources paperwork and better track information as an organization grows. Both offer different pricing levels with corresponding features, with the option to add on specific features that most benefit their business. 

Of the two platforms, BambooHR is more of an all-in-one solution, with a much greater focus on “information management,” allowing employees and managers alike to stay up to date on time off, employee schedules, hiring and more. Gusto on the other hand, is more focused on payroll and benefits, with less focus on performance management, and no built-in ATS capabilities for intensive recruiting efforts. BambooHR does not feature payroll in either of its available packages, while Gusto has built-in payroll capabilities in all three available plans. 

Gusto vs. BambooHR Pricing

BambooHR Pricing

BambooHR has 2 pricing tiers: Advantage and Essentials. 

As the name implies, the Essentials tier includes the core features of the platform such as Employee Records (Benefit Tracking, Standard Reporting, Document Storage, Standard Workflows, Email Alerts), Employee Self Service (Time-Off Management, Employee Self-service, Employee directory, Company calendar, Mobile app), and Customer Support (Email Support and Customer Success Webinar Library).

Advantage offers the benefit of several additional features, including Hiring & Onboarding (ATS, Onboarding New Employees, Offboarding, Electronic Signature, and Training Tracking), Advanced Components (Advanced Reporting, Tailored Workflows and Approvals, Custom Access Levels, Custom Email Alerts, and Company Branding), as well as Integrations/Data Sharing such as Open API Integrations and Marketplace.

Specific pricing details are not disclosed online, so you must contact a sales representative for an exact quote.

Gusto Pricing

Gusto has 3 pricing tiers — Core, Complete, and Concierge.

The Core plan ($39/month base price plus $6/month per person) was conceived for smaller businesses, with more straightforward salaries, wages, and pay schedules. It includes: Full-Service Payroll, Health Benefits Administration, Employee Self Service and Profiles, Accounting and Time Tracking Integrations, and Employee Benefits.

The Complete plan ($39/month base price plus $12/month per person) was designed for growing businesses and includes everything from the Core plan, plus Next-Day Direct Deposit, Time Tracking and PTO Management, Project Tracking & Workforce Costing, Hiring and Employee Onboarding, and Team Management Tools.

The Concierge plan ($149/month base price plus $12/month per person) is the most comprehensive option, crafted for “busy” businesses with compliance on their mind. The plan includes everything in their Core and Complete plans, plus Certified HR Pros, a HR Resource Center, Compliance Alerts, and Dedicated Best-In-Class Support.

Gusto vs. BambooHR: Integrations Side by Side

Bamboo HRGusto
  • SmartRecruiters
  • Jobvite
  • Greenhouse
  • Ximble
  • SwipeClock
  • TraxPayroll
  • Maxwell Health
  • Northpass
  • PerformYard
  • Goodhire
  • Okta
  • Lattice
  • Small Improvements
  • OrgChart Now
  • Guideline 401k
  • 15Five
  • Clover
  • Aplos
  • Deputy
  • Expensify
  • Freshbooks
  • Google Workspace
  • Homebase
  • Lattice
  • Microsoft 365
  • Quickbooks Online
  • TSheets
  • When I Work
  • Xero
  • Zoom

Both BambooHR and Gusto have several integration partners, making them great options for integrating into your tech stack. BambooHR takes these integrations one step further, hosting a large marketplace of free apps to connect with and curating a Staff Picks list of the most popular and best-reviewed app integrations for customers. 

In addition, both solutions offer APIs for seamless home-built integrations.

Customer Support and Success

  • Email Support
  • Customer Success Webinar Library
  • Telephone Support
  • Online help center

One of the areas in which BambooHR and Gusto seem to differ most is their customer support offerings. Bamboo HR offers live email and telephone support Monday through Friday, 8 AMm-5 PM (MT), along with a library of weekly customer webinars to help guide clients towards getting the most out of BambooHR. Live customer support at Gusto, on the other hand, is virtually nonexistent according to customer reviews.

Major Customers of Gusto and BambooHR

  • 99 Designs
  • All Hands Volunteers
  • Appstack
  • Assure
  • Ayn Rand Institute
  • CB Insights
  • The Climate Corporation
  • Coursera
  • Disqus
  • Foursquare
  • Moki
  • MyFitnessPal
  • Shopify
  • Soundcloud
  • Squarespace
  • 33 Sticks
  • Acuity
  • American Canning
  • Avant Barre
  • Bard and Baker: Board Game Cafe
  • Citizen Pilates
  • Club Pilates
  • Falcon Wealth
  • Finder
  • Handlebar Cyclery
  • iMedicare
  • Mapistry
  • Pukka Software
  • Reach
  • Student Loan Hero

Both Gusto and BambooHR focus mainly on small to medium businesses, but a quick glance at the list illustrates that Gusto has attracted smaller, more local businesses, while BambooHR has a few big names on their roster such as Shopify, Soundcloud, and Foursquare. 

Gusto vs. BambooHR User Experience Comparison

BambooHR Screenshot:

Gusto Screenshot:

Both solutions have clean and intuitive user interfaces, although BambooHR can be a bit more busy due to its more comprehensive features, and according to one Reddit user, was not as easy to maneuver on the admin and staff side.

u/emailrob on Reddit

Gusto is good provided you don't want to be 50+ people. It creaks and groans a lot at that stage. It's easy to implement and the support team were great (I did it twice for clients this year).

I hear ok things about Bamboo at it would be more integrated for hiring.

u/Bluthbananas on Reddit

I've never had any problems, and it is super easy to use. It ties right into our accounting software (Xero), and it should tie into qb. We don't offer benis, so no problem with that. Employee self onboard which is nice.I would recommend.”

u/ShaneAtSynapse on Reddit

I 😍 Gusto - their stuff just works, autopilot is amazing, and I don't have to think about anything. 

Bottom Line?

Both Gusto and BambooHR are go-to software options for small to medium businesses, and with good reason. 

A major player in HR analytics software, BambooHR is well-suited for small and medium businesses (with fewer than 1000 employees) that seek to ditch the spreadsheets and leverage a more sophisticated solution for organizing their data, embracing a holistic HR approach across the organization. With a built-in applicant tracking system (ATS), time tracking, payroll processing, benefits administration, employee engagement and employee satisfaction tools, automated reminders, and data analytics, BambooHR helps small companies to better manage all aspects of the employee lifecycle. 

Gusto, on the other hand, is ideal for small businesses (50 employees or fewer) who mainly need assistance with their payroll reporting and benefits administration. With 401k tracking, Direct Deposit, a Self-Service Portal, and more, this versatile solution will help save hours every week for small companies for whom every hour counts. 

If your organization is larger than 50 people, user reviews appear to lean towards going with BambooHR. However, for smaller organizations with fewer needs and smaller budgets, Gusto is a great payroll product, perfect for automating time-consuming payroll processes. 

For more information, visit the BambooHR and Gusto websites.

BambooHR and Gusto alternatives:

For more options, check out our detailed guide on the best HR software solutions for small businesses, which also includes pricing information, FAQs, use cases, and more.

Evelyn Duskey
HR tech and digital transformation writer
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Evelyn Duskey is a writer, content producer, and music writer with a Masters Degree of Arts from Georgetown University. She spent 3 years managing the content marketing team at a Human Capital Management SaaS company. She's written for Think with Google, Personal Capital, and other brands in the fields of HR tech and digital transformation.

Featured in: The Talent Board

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