Homebase vs. Gusto (2023)

Your small business is at a major turning point — you’re about to invest in a new tool to help you with scheduling, time tracking, and payroll. And whatever platform you choose should free up your time to focus on exciting, big-picture ventures like expanding your team or offering new products or services.

But every business is unique, and — with such great technology on the market — it’s hard to know which tools will work best for you.

This article compares two of the most popular team management platforms: Homebase and Gusto.** Discover how they differ in terms of pricing and features, compare their best use cases, and learn about their key qualities to decide which one will suit you best.

Why choose Homebase over Gusto in 2023?

Although Gusto offers a range of versatile features that help small businesses tackle human resources, the platform can’t beat Homebase when it comes to value. All in all, Homebase provides more essential features at a lower cost.

The key difference between the two software solutions is that Homebase has built-in scheduling and communication tools, whereas Gusto relies on integrations for those features. So, signing up for Homebase means you won’t have to worry about switching between different platforms when you’re trying to get everything done efficiently.

Also, Gusto only has a version of the app for employees, not managers. And as an administrator, you can’t log into the Gusto app and manage your account from there. So, if you’ve got a remote team or go off-site frequently, Gusto might not be for you.

Comparison chart: Homebase vs. Gusto at a glance

Employee scheduling
Time tracking
HR tools
Team messaging
Labor compliance
Support for departments or worksites
Hiring tools
Mobile app ✓ — for employees only
Early pay access for employees
Performance management
Customer service ✓ — phone, chat, and email ✓ — phone, chat, 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

Plans start at $40 per month plus $6 per employee
Cost for the most comprehensive plan for a business with one location and 20 employees $80/monthly (annually)

$99/monthly (monthly)

Necessary to contact the sales team for a custom quote for the most comprehensive plans

How Homebase and Gusto stack up against each other

Both Homebase and Gusto are designed for small businesses with the potential for growth. They have tiered plans that gradually add features, so you can decide how much to pay based on the tools you need. But Gusto doesn’t have a free plan like Homebase and charges per employee on top of the base rate, so seeing if Gusto integrates well with your business’s workflow and if it’ll be adopted by your employees can become a costly decision for small businesses on a budget.

Homebase is also more popular with restaurants, retail shops, and hospitality businesses, whereas Gusto’s main markets are IT, marketing, and accounting. That means their products focus on different features and capabilities. For instance, Homebase’s handy team chat app and intuitive, dynamic scheduling feature are ideal for businesses with hourly workers who spend a lot of time on their feet. On the other hand, Gusto’s performance management and brokerage capabilities are worthwhile but more beneficial for lower turnover industries.

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

Caption: Homebase’s free scheduling feature saves you time and effort with its template and auto-population tools.


Homebase has a robust scheduling feature that’s completely free. You can create as many schedule templates as you need and simply click on them to use them. Or, you can fill in staff roles and availability and try the auto-populate tool. As soon as you’re done, simply share your new employee schedule instantly with the mobile app. And if a team member suddenly falls sick, you can post their hours as open shifts for others to claim.

Gusto doesn’t have a built-in scheduling system. Instead, users have to integrate with other tools like Sling, WhenIWork, or even Homebase.

Time tracking

To complement our free scheduling tool, Homebase also offers a wide range of time tracking tools at no cost. You can monitor everything from overtime to breaks, provide clock in and clock out reminders, and even automatically turn your staff hours into payroll-ready timesheets. And the whole team can download your time clock on whatever device they like.

For even more time tracking features, upgrade your Homebase plan from Basic to get late arrival alerts and verify when staff arrive at their shifts. Homebase also lets team members clock in with photos, which isn’t possible with Gusto.

HR and compliance tools

Homebase will make your business a custom employee handbook to make sure you’ve included all the right policies. All you need to do is schedule a 30-minute phone call with one of Homebase’s HR experts.

Our platform also has all the document management tools you need for a successful onboarding process. You can send new hires welcome packets and get them to e-sign important paperwork before they’ve even started working. And afterward, you can keep everything in Homebase’s secure cloud storage for up to four years.

Caption: Homebase’s standout shift notes tool helps you coordinate your business and send friendly messages to your team.

Team messaging

Unlike Gusto, Homebase has a built-in team chat app. Gusto users can integrate with popular communication apps like Slack and Zoom, but that means juggling different platforms.

Homebase’s team chat app is included in the free account. And everyone on your team can download and use it to communicate with each other one-on-one or in groups.

Upgrade to the Essentials plan to take advantage of nifty tools like notifications, reminders, and message confirmations. If you often find yourself off-site or traveling between multiple business locations, you’ll like the shift notes tool because it lets you leave notes for people right on their schedules.


Homebase has the same essential payroll tools as Gusto, so you can automatically file taxes and easily pay your staff. It doesn’t offer insurance brokerage, though.

Homebase’s built-in scheduling tools are a serious advantage as they connect with time tracking and payroll. That means you can transform employee hours into timesheets and run payroll seamlessly. It’s a matter of moving easily from one tool to the next rather than having to open several external apps.

Employee happiness tools

Homebase has a popular early cash out tool that lets staff access up to $300 of their wages before payday. When they get paid, Homebase automatically deducts the same amount from their paycheck. Cash out isn’t a loan, and it doesn’t affect the payroll process or require any extra work from you — it just gives your team more flexibility when it comes to last-minute expenses.

Homebase also has a shout out feature that lets your team celebrate special achievements together. Any staff member can log onto the mobile app, choose a badge that suits the accomplishment, and write a personalized note.

Caption: Choose from hundreds of job description templates with roles as varied as ‘accountant’ and ‘youth counselor.’

Hiring tools

Homebase offers the same hiring tools as Gusto in its free plan. Simply create an account to access custom job ads for a variety of business types and tweak them to suit you. Our platform also has a useful applicant screening tool that lets you add questions to the form to evaluate how suitable candidates are for your open positions. If they’re not a good fit, the questions automatically rule them out and save you time going through applications.

Mobile app

The Homebase app has a 4.8 rating on the App Store and a 4.4 rating on Google Play as of January 2023. In contrast to Gusto, Homebase’s app has a full range of features for both employers and employees. Team members can clock in, check their schedules, and view their paystubs while you can manage your business on the go.

Homebase pricing

Unlike Gusto and many other competitors, Homebase offers all the essential features small businesses need in the free plan. You can access the following without even entering your credit card details:

Homebase’s paid plans are priced per location rather than per employee. The $20 monthly plan expands on the free plan with useful tools like shift notes and late alerts. Then, the $40 monthly plan gives you more control and flexibility when managing your business with overtime tracking, time off tracking, and permissions. And you can get access to Homebase’s full range of features, including full HR support and onboarding management, with the $80 monthly plan.

Payroll is separate from Homebase’s other paid features. That’s in case your business already has an accounting system and you’d prefer to integrate it with our platform rather than overhaul your process. It costs $39 per month plus $6 per employee.

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

Source: https://gusto.com/product/time-tools
Caption: Gusto verifies employee clock-ins with GPS for more accurate time tracking.

Time tracking

Like Homebase, Gusto time tracking lets staff clock into their shifts with a mobile app and automatically verifies their action by using geolocation. That means recording team hours more accurately and avoiding work friends punching in for each other.

But Gusto also offers project management features, so users can assign employees to different tasks and measure how much time each one takes. If you need to send clients invoices, this may be a useful tool. The tradeoff is that Gusto charges $60 more per month for the plan with all those time tracking features than Homebase does.

HR and compliance tools

Gusto HR matches Homebase for value when it comes to HR and compliance. The Premium plan includes policy templates, document management, and alerts for changes in labor laws that could affect your business. Like Homebase, Gusto also grants customers live access to certified HR experts.

One key difference between the two platforms is that Gusto automatically generates an employee handbook for you, whereas Homebase can provide one that’s custom-made. Both can keep you compliant, but if you need support with the finer details of your handbook, Homebase may be a better choice.

Hiring tools

Gusto has job offer letter templates in its lowest cost plan and introduces job posting and applicant tracking in the next tier up. That means you can post your job advertisements across sites like ZipRecruiter and Linkedin and then track the applications within the platform.

However, Homebase offers all the same features within the free plan and has an applicant screening tool that removes unsuitable candidates from your hiring pool.

Source: https://www.g2.com/products/gusto/reviews
Caption: Gusto payroll alerts your employees via the mobile app when it’s payday.


Gusto payroll includes all the essentials — you can run payroll across states, automatically file taxes, and store all your accounting documents. Similar to Homebase’s payday notification, employees also get a Gusto pay stub with a record of their wages when they get paid.

And if you need guidance with workers’ compensation, Gusto also partners with agencies to offer you different benefits packages. In addition, you can sync your insurance plan of choice with their payroll tool.

Employee happiness tools

All Gusto’s plans include an e-card feature so you can welcome new hires, send someone who’s sick well-wishes, and celebrate staff birthdays. Gusto’s platform also integrates with morale-boosting apps like Bonusly and CultureAmp. However, it doesn’t have anything equivalent to Homebase’s shoutout or early cash out tools.

Performance management

Gusto’s Premium plan supports performance reviews, which include both one-on-ones with managers and self-evaluations. You can create and automate review cycles, as well as track team members’ progress over the year. And when it’s time for someone’s assessment, either you or the employee in question can fill in customizable forms about their strengths and areas of growth.

Homebase doesn’t have these features, but it does have performance tracking tools that monitor things like on-time arrivals and training certifications. Our platform also lets users share these kinds of statistics and feedback with staff directly.

Mobile app

As of January 2023, Gusto Wallet has a 4.8 rating on the App Store and a 4.2 rating on Google Play. But the app is only for employees and doesn’t have any administrative function. However, your team can download and use it for free.

Gusto pricing

Gusto’s paid plans start at $40 plus another $6 per employee per month. Although the platform doesn’t have a free plan, Gusto includes all the essential payroll features like direct deposits and tax filings with the lowest cost plan. And they won’t charge until you’re ready to run your first round of payroll.

The next tier plan is $80 plus $9 per employee per month. There, you’ll get features like time tracking, job posting, and candidate management — all of which Homebase offers in their free plan. Aside from that, Gusto has a Premium plan with custom pricing, which gives customers access to the full range of HR, performance management, and insurance brokerage tools.

Gusto also has a Contractor Only plan that costs $6 per contractor per month. It includes multi-state payments, 1099-NEC management, and direct deposits.

Homebase vs. Gusto’s integrations compared

Lightspeed Retail
Lightspeed Restaurant
Restaurant 365
ADP Workforce Now
Quickbooks Online

Homebase vs. Gusto’s scalability

Both Homebase and Gusto have tiered plans, so you can choose the one that best suits your needs and upgrade whenever you need to. Gusto lets you quit any time, so you don’t have to tie yourself to the platform. But Homebase offers a choice between a monthly plan or an annual one at a discounted rate. So, Homebase gives you a little more flexibility to add and drop features or commit to the platform long-term.

One disadvantage to choosing Gusto if your business has the potential to grow quickly is that it charges per employee. So, your costs will increase as you hire more staff. On the other hand, Homebase charges per location, so your workforce can grow without it costing you anything extra.

Homebase and Gusto also protect you from issues that can hinder your growth. They help you create policies that protect your business and make sure you file taxes correctly to avoid fines. Gusto support includes call, email, and chat with the option to add privileged contact hours in the Plus plan. That means you can contact the Gusto help center more easily for personalized guidance. Similarly, Homebase includes live support in the lowest tier plan.

**The information above is based on our research on Homebase vs. Gusto. 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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