Homebase vs. BambooHR (2023)

When you’re looking for software that can help you with your small business human resources tasks, the search can be overwhelming. Ideally, you want a tool that has:

  • A free plan with no time limit
  • Transparent pricing
  • A quick setup and accessible learning curve
  • Affordable options for add-ons as you grow

But so many HR platforms that claim to cater to small businesses expect you to call them for a custom quote and demo. And they’re not upfront about how much their plans or add-ons cost, so you don’t know if you’ll be able to afford them and how scalable they are.

We’re here to help. We’ve researched two of the most popular HR platforms on the market — Homebase and BambooHR.** We’ll compare how they stack up against each other in terms of pricing, features, and ease of use so you can make an informed decision for your business.

Why choose Homebase over BambooHR in 2023?

With Homebase, customers can set up a free plan in a couple of minutes and get tools for employee scheduling, time tracking, hiring, and team messaging. The flexibility of the free plan alone makes Homebase a more complete and cost-effective tool than BambooHR, which has no free plan and, according to review sites, charges around $6 per person for the Essentials plan.

Homebase tools are also easy for anyone to learn and navigate from their mobile device, so you won’t even have to contact a sales rep to demo the product. And we’re open about pricing, so you’ll know what to expect when you want to upgrade or add payroll onto any plan.

BambooHR and Homebase both cater to small businesses and have features for HR, payroll, time tracking, and hiring. But BambooHR lacks team messaging and scheduling features, making it less practical if you’re managing a team in the retail, restaurant, or wellness industries, where schedules and availability often fluctuate.

Comparison chart: Homebase vs. BambooHR at a glance

HR and compliance
Employee scheduling
Time tracking
Team messaging
Performance management
Hiring and onboarding tools
Employee wellbeing
Mobile app
Customer service — phone, chat, and email — phone and email
Pricing Plans range from free to $100 per location per month

Homebase payroll costs $39/month base fee and $6/month per active employee

Pricing is not readily available on BambooHR’s website

Review sites say the Essentials package starts at around $6 per employee per month, and the Advantage plan starts at around $8 per employee per month

Cost for most comprehensive plan for a business with one location with 20 employees $80/monthly (billed annually)

$99/monthly (billed monthly)

Contact BambooHR for custom pricing

How Homebase and BambooHR stack up against each other

Both BambooHR and Homebase offer the everyday HR tools small business owners need for tasks like time off management, hiring and onboarding, and employee wellbeing. And they both provide optional add-ons for payroll.

However, what sets Homebase apart from BambooHR and similar competitors is how much you can do with the free plan. You can use Homebase’s free account to build and publish employee schedules, track staff hours, access time sheets, and keep in touch with your team. BambooHR doesn’t offer a free account and requires you to upgrade to access time tracking and timesheets, making it less practical for business owners who want to test out the time management tool before they commit.

In addition, BambooHR doesn’t have a scheduling feature, which makes it more suitable for mid-sized or large companies, agencies, or consulting firms that don’t pay hourly workers or rely on the shift system for staff scheduling.

An in-depth breakdown of Homebase’s fees and features

HR and compliance

Source: https://app.joinhomebase.com/team
Caption: Business owners can store employee tax information securely right inside the Homebase platform.

Like BambooHR, Homebase lets you track time off requests and safely store employee documents and information. But our platform also provides labor cost tracking tools for budgeting and controlling workforce expenses.

And although Homebase doesn’t have the in-depth HR reporting tools for tracking employee trends and forecasting personnel needs that BambooHR does, we do have HR experts on call who can answer relevant questions about payroll taxes and labor laws. They’ll even review your internal policies to make sure you’re in compliance with federal and state regulations.

Homebase has a complete database of HR resources, templates, guides, and trainings. And, unlike BambooHR, we’ll create a customized employee handbook for you so you can consolidate all your business policies and procedures into one comprehensive resource.


Both BambooHR and Homebase can turn your employee time tracking data into timesheets for payroll prep, making the process quick, easy, and error-free. Both platforms will also take care of state and federal tax deductions and file them for you.

But suppose you’re not ready to invest in the Homebase payroll add-on yet. In that case, you can access the time tracking tools for free and export your timesheet data to a spreadsheet or accounting software like QuickBooks. That makes Homebase a more practical option for business owners just starting out.

Hiring and onboarding

Source: https://app.joinhomebase.com/hiring/dashboard
Caption: Homebase hiring lets you create job descriptions and publish them to popular job sites for free.

A free Homebase account allows you to create job descriptions and post them to popular job sites like ZipRecruiter, Indeed, and Google Jobs. If you don’t have time to write your own, you can even choose from one of our pre-written templates for roles like cashier, assistant manager, barista, or bartender. And after you’ve posted your job opening, Homebase lets you ask screening questions, message candidates, and set up interviews directly within the platform.

Upgrading to our All-In-One Plan gives you even more features for employee onboarding, like sending new hires welcome packets and asking them to read and e-sign their paperwork before their first day.

Employee scheduling

Source: https://app.joinhomebase.com/schedule_builder
Caption: Use Homebase’s schedule builder to create employee schedules and turn them into reusable templates for months to come.

BambooHR doesn’t offer time and attendance tools — you can’t use the platform to schedule your team members for work. But one of Homebase’s standout features is the free schedule builder, which makes managing employee shifts simple. And once you’ve built a great timetable, you can turn it into a reusable template to use week after week.

With Homebase, you can create and publish schedules from any device, automatically notifying team members that they can view their hours via phone or computer. Then, staff can also use Homebase to swap or change shifts with coworkers — they simply submit a request for manager approval. And if management needs to find workers to fill open time slots, they can click “find cover” and invite available employees to chat.

Time tracking

Source: https://app.joinhomebase.com/timesheets
Caption: When employees clock in and out of their shifts with the mobile app, Homebase instantly turns their hours into timesheets for payroll prep.

Homebase designed its time tracking features for hourly teams who need the convenience of clocking in and out from any device. And to reduce time theft and timekeeping errors, managers can create rules to prevent staff from signing into their shifts early and remind them when they forget to clock out. Team members will also receive reminders when their shift is about to start, so you can reduce unexpected absences.

And unlike BambooHR, team leads can use Homebase to create geofences for employees who travel or work off-premises. Doing so ensures staff members can’t punch into their shifts before they arrive at their worksite.

Team messaging

With built-in team messaging tools, Homebase is a more practical option than BambooHR for a busy small business team.

While it’s true that BambooHR integrates with Slack for easy communication between departments, the Homebase team messaging app syncs with our entire suite of tools. And it’s built into the app — not an integration — so staff won’t need to jump from application to application to stay in touch.

Employee happiness

While you can’t conduct surveys with Homebase, you can use the employee happiness feature to collect feedback and gauge staff sentiment. And Homebase also tracks performance metrics like attendance and on-time arrivals, so you can shout people out based on their achievements. Homebase also reminds managers about employee milestones, birthdays, and anniversaries so you can celebrate them with the whole team.

Mobile app

Source: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/homebase-employee-scheduling/
Caption: Employees can clock in, view their schedules, swap shifts, and request time off with the Homebase mobile app.

The Homebase mobile app has a 4.4-star rating on Google Play and a 4.8-star rating on the App Store as of January 2023. It’s also more useful than the BambooHR mobile app. Managers can create schedules, edit timesheets, run payroll, manage time off requests, and message their team.

Employees can use the mobile app to view schedules, swap shifts, request time off, clock in and out of their shifts, message their teammates, and get notifications and notes about upcoming shifts.

Homebase pricing

A Homebase free plan never expires, so you can manage unlimited employees without worrying about when your free trial will end. And you don’t have to contact the Homebase sales team to find out the cost of our plans — you can see them on our pricing page:

  • The Essentials plan starts at $24.95 per location per month. It provides more features for team announcements and employee performance tracking.
  • The Plus plan costs $59.95 per location per month. It includes more tools to track labor costs, budgeting, and employee personal time off (PTO).
  • The All-In-One plan comes in at $99.95 per location per month. It has more features for new hire onboarding and employee document storage, as well as more robust HR and compliance features, like access to live HR experts.
  • You can add payroll to any plan for $39 per month and $6 per person per month.

An in-depth breakdown of BambooHR’s fees and features

Source: https://www.bamboohr.com/hr-software/payroll-software/
Caption: BambooHR’s timesheets and payroll tools sync, which makes paying employees fast and error-free.

HR and compliance

Like Homebase, BambooHR offers tools that let owners and managers track hours and paid time off to stay compliant with state and federal labor laws. Employees can use BambooHR to ask for time off from their computer or phone, and managers simply have to approve or deny their requests.

And both platforms will notify team members by push notification or email when a manager signs off on their PTO. But BambooHR has a central calendar that lets employees and managers check who’s away daily. Additionally, its HR tools also track trends in PTO and sick leave requests so businesses can plan for the future.

Another benefit of BambooHR is that you can also track and manage staff benefits within the platform, which you can’t do with Homebase. But you can send benefits information to Homebase’s payroll support team if you need them to create reports on your employees’ health insurance or other special earnings.


You can add payroll features to a BambooHR Essentials or Advantage plan. And just like with Homebase, you don’t need to enter your employee time tracking data when you’re doing payroll prep — the time tracking tool syncs with BambooHR payroll to generate timesheets automatically, eliminating the opportunity for error.

BambooHR also lets you run payroll efficiently. Managers can review and edit timesheets quickly before processing employee paychecks and sending them out via direct deposit. And both platforms can deduct and file federal, state, and local taxes automatically. You can also use either software to send staff pay stubs and securely store copies online.

The great thing about Homebase payroll compared to BambooHR payroll is that you don’t need to pay for multiple add-ons to sync time tracking and timesheets for payroll prep — you only have to add one payroll tool to your free plan.

Time tracking

BambooHR and Homebase simplify time tracking by letting employees clock in and out of their shifts from any device. BambooHR time tracking also allows staff to record notes about what they worked on during their shifts for team visibility. In addition, managers can give their direct reports access to timesheets, letting them add their hours manually or correct any time tracking errors.

Depending on your business needs, you might appreciate that BambooHR also lets you set up project tracking, which means team members can record their hours for specific billable tasks.

Performance management

You might prefer BambooHR over Homebase if you need more extensive features for performance management. BambooHR lets you conduct three types of employee evaluations for a more holistic view of their performance:

  • Manager and self-assessment — Team leads fill out an appraisal of their report’s performance based on objective metrics. Employees also self-evaluate so they can reflect on where they need to grow and get feedback from managers.
  • Peer evaluation — Employees provide anonymous feedback about their coworkers and submit it to their managers for a complete picture of every team member’s contributions.
  • Goals — Managers and employees can work together to set individual and shared performance goals, and they’ll receive emails reminding them to review the objectives regularly.

BambooHR also generates automatic reports that let you track overall staff performance and get visibility on how your company is doing in terms of employee engagement.

While Homebase doesn’t offer that level of dedicated tools for performance management, you can use our platform to exchange continuous feedback with team members and recognize them for their achievements with our employee happiness tools.

Hiring and onboarding

Homebase and BambooHR offer comparable tools for hiring new employees. As with Homebase, you can use BambooHR to create descriptions for your job openings right within the platform. Then, the software will send your job postings to popular job boards like Indeed and Glassdoor. BambooHR also lets you post job openings on LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter for more visibility.

You can use both platforms to screen, track, and communicate with applicants, but BambooHR also provides you with email templates that you can use to send rejection or offer letters. BambooHR can also track trends in applicant data, helping you make more inclusive and data-driven hiring decisions.

Like Homebase, BambooHR makes onboarding smooth by letting you send out new hire packets and documents that can be e-signed on any device. But different from Homebase, BambooHR also lets you set onboarding tasks and track new hire progress, giving you more oversight over how they’re doing while getting settled into their new position.

Despite this, you can only access BambooHR’s onboarding features with an Advantage account, which could cost around $8 per employee rather than the flat rate of $99.95 you’d pay for Homebase’s All-In-One plan.

Employee satisfaction

If you upgrade to a BambooHR Advantage plan, you’ll have a couple of different options for tracking employee satisfaction:

  • The eNPS survey — A single-question survey that asks staff to rate how likely they are to recommend the business as a place to work. It also requests open-ended feedback about why they gave a specific score.
  • The employee well-being survey — A short survey that asks team members to answer questions on a six-point Likert scale about how satisfied they are in their role and what motivates them personally and professionally.

While Homebase doesn’t have any survey features, our free messaging tool facilitates constant communication between managers and employees. It also allows management to collect staff feedback at the end of every shift and give shout outs and praise for their hard work.

Mobile app

Source: https://apps.apple.com/us/app/bamboohr/id587244049
Caption: Employees can use the BambooHR mobile app to request time off, see who’s away, and access their payroll information.

As of January 2023, the BambooHR mobile app has a 3.6-star rating on Google Play and a 3.5-star rating on the App Store. They also have a separate app for hiring employees — BambooHR Hiring — which has a 3.5-star rating on Google Play and a 4.1-star rating on the App Store.

The BambooHR mobile app lets team members track their time, request time off, sign forms and documents, and access their payroll information. And the hiring app lets managers post jobs, screen cover letters and resumes, and email applicants.

BambooHR pricing

BambooHR doesn’t offer transparent pricing on its website, but review sites say the Essentials package starts at around $6 per employee, and the Advantage plan starts at around $8 per employee. The platform also offers add-ons for features like payroll, time tracking, and performance management.

Homebase vs. BambooHR’s integrations compared

Lightspeed Retail
Lightspeed Restaurant
Restaurant 365
Culture Amp
Quickbooks Online

Homebase vs. BambooHR’s scalability

Unlike BambooHR, Homebase has free tools for your daily human resources needs. However, what makes it truly unique is the free tools for time tracking, scheduling, messaging, and hiring, making Homebase much more scalable in the long term. It’s also a more practical solution for small business owners with growing teams. With its transparent, location-based pricing, you don’t have to worry about your subscription going up as you hire more staff the way you would with BambooHR.

And if you often have to work off-site or away from your desk — or hire remote or freelance employees — you’ll still be able to access all of Homebase’s team management features from your phone, which you can’t do with the BambooHR app.

So, while BambooHR offers plenty of features for organizations that need performance management and benefits, Homebase is ultimately better for small business owners looking for a platform that allows them to start small and expand at their own pace.

**The information above is based on our research on Homebase vs. BambooHR. All user feedback referenced in the text has been sourced from independent software review platforms, such as G2 and Capterra, in February 2023.

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