Homebase vs. Square (2023)

Like many small business owners, you’d probably prefer to rely on one system to coordinate your internal operations rather than add new software into the mix. So if you’re already using Square Point of Sale (POS), it makes sense you’d be tempted to pay for Square’s additional tools for running payroll, scheduling employees, and tracking time.

But like many other platforms on the market, Square’s team management and payroll tools aren’t that comprehensive. Square lacks built-in features for hiring, team communication, and human resources — all features you need to grow, stay compliant, and make work better for your team.

There are other more scalable, small business-friendly platforms that can help you manage your team, run payroll, and comply with state and federal labor laws. And that’s what we talk about today in this one-to-one comparison of Homebase and Square**, where we break down features, pricing, and use cases to help you make the best decision for you and your team.

Why choose Homebase over Square in 2023?

Both Homebase and Square can help you streamline employee scheduling, time tracking, and payroll. But if you’re looking for software that has easy-to-use team management and payroll features and can act as your in-house HR expert, Homebase just makes sense.

Only Homebase incorporates tools for hiring and onboarding, labor compliance, and team communication, making it more suitable for time-strapped small business owners who don’t have HR and recruiting help. And what’s more, our platform is affordable — you can access many of Homebase’s features with a free account, which you can’t do with Square.

And one more plus about Homebase is its integrations with Square POS, which means you won’t need to get rid of your Square plan to take advantage of Homebase’s tools.

Comparison chart: Homebase vs. Square at a glance

Employee scheduling
Time tracking
HR tools — with an additional fee for Square Payroll customers only
Team messaging
Labor compliance
Managing different locations
Hiring and onboarding
Mobile app
Early pay access for employees
Customer service ✓ — phone, chat, and email ✓ — phone, chat, and email
Pricing Plans range from free to $99.95 per location per month

Homebase payroll costs $39/month base fee +

$6/month per active employee

Square Payroll costs $35/month + $5/person

Square Team Management costs $35/month per location

Cost for most comprehensive plan for a business with 1 location with 20 employees $80/monthly (annually)

$99.95/monthly (monthly)

$135/month (Square Payroll)

$35/month (Square Team Management)

How Homebase and Square stack up against each other

Although both platforms have mobile apps and similar features for time tracking, scheduling, and payroll, Square and Homebase are ultimately very different tools.

As mentioned, Square is well-known for its POS system. But it also offers a wide range of tools for eCommerce and marketing, a few of which we’ll cover in more detail later. While these features don’t come with the Square Team Management or Square Payroll plans, small business owners who want to sell online or build their brand may want to look into adding them to their current Square plan.

On the other hand, there’s Homebase, an all-in-one team management platform specifically designed for hourly teams. And as such, it combines timekeeping, scheduling, hiring, and team communication with tools for payroll and HR and compliance, making it an excellent fit for small business owners who want to simplify admin and operations for themselves and their staff.

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


Source: https://app.joinhomebase.com/timesheets
Caption: When team members clock in and out with Homebase, the platform converts their hours into time cards that are ready for payroll, saving you an extra step.

Both Homebase and Square Payroll help make payroll a more accurate and efficient process for business owners. Instead of having to export your timesheets to third-party software to process payments, you can run payroll directly within the platforms.

But before you submit paychecks and direct deposits, Homebase will prompt you to edit any errors or discrepancies in your timesheets so your employees’ checks are always error-free, saving your team from frustration.

Our platform will also automatically subtract the right amount of deductions from every paycheck and send monthly federal and state tax filings for you. That way, you don’t have to worry about hefty tax penalties from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS).

Employee scheduling

You can use either Homebase or Square to fill, assign, and publish employee shifts. And when you finish your schedule, Homebase will notify staff automatically, saving you the trouble of texting all of your team members with a link to the weekly timetable.

Both platforms also make shift swapping easy. Employees can simply coordinate their schedules with each other and make change requests for managers to approve or deny within the mobile app. But with Homebase, coworkers won’t need to exchange numbers to arrange shift swaps — they can communicate directly within the communication app, making Homebase better for business owners who want employees to have a seamless work experience.

Finally, using Homebase to schedule your team can also help you avoid a lot of stress and time-consuming work in the future. How? When you create a schedule, you can quickly turn it into a recurring template and save it for easy access later on.

Time tracking

Homebase is on par with Square when it comes to time tracking. Homebase’s mobile app allows employees to start and end their shifts right from their mobile devices, so you won’t have to worry about timekeeping errors and late starts that result from bottlenecks at the clock in station.

Both platforms also help reduce instances of buddy punching and time theft by requiring team members to sign in with unique PINs. But Homebase will also let you enable GPS, geofencing, and photo clock ins so employees can’t sign into work until they arrive at the right place.

HR and labor compliance

Homebase is ideal for busy business owners who need built-in tools for HR and compliance but have limited time or resources to find support on their own. You won’t get this with Square, which only offers expensive human resources guidance through its partnership with Bambee.

But with a comprehensive All in One Homebase plan that offers HR and compliance tools and guidance, you’ll get:

  • Tools that track rest breaks, personal time off (PTO), and overtime
  • Alerts when employees are about to reach overtime
  • Regular updates about changes to labor laws at the local, state, and federal levels
  • A custom employee handbook
  • Access to live HR experts who can answer questions and review your policies and procedures

Hiring and onboarding

Source: https://app.joinhomebase.com/hiring/dashboard
Caption: Homebase has pre-written job descriptions that make the hiring process so much faster.

Another advantage of Homebase is its built-in recruiting features, which make it perfect for business owners looking to grow their teams quickly. Our hiring tools mean you can write and post job openings directly from the platform, and Homebase will submit them to popular job sites like Indeed, ZipRecruiter, and Google Jobs.

And if you don’t have time to write an entirely new job description, Homebase has pre-written templates for positions like cashier, barista, bartender, and assistant manager.

Once you’ve posted your job ads, Homebase can also help you streamline the hiring process by letting you screen, communicate with, and onboard new employees. And our onboarding tools allow you to send new hires welcome packets, paperwork, and tax documents for them to read and e-sign along with their job offers. As a result, they won’t have to waste valuable time filling out form after form on their first day.

Team communication

Homebase is a better option for business owners and managers who need to stay in touch with their busy hourly teams. Unlike Square, Homebase’s platform lets you message individual employees or send shift-related announcements to anyone working that day, so everyone will be on the same page, even during peak hours and busy workdays.

And Homebase’s team messaging tool makes welcoming new hires seamless as they automatically get added when they join your roster. Then, you can communicate with them about what to expect on their first day so they’ll arrive confident and prepared.

And another plus about team messaging — it’s part of the free plan, which means you can text unlimited employees at no extra cost.

Mobile app

Source: https://joinhomebase.com/team-communication/
Caption: Homebase’s mobile app lets employees view schedules, submit time off, and talk to their teammates, making it ideal for working together effectively.

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 February 2023. It makes work simple for managers by letting them create schedules, view team availability and time off requests, edit timesheets, message their team, and receive notifications when staff members are late or reach overtime. And they can do it all for free.

The mobile app also puts more control in employees’ hands by letting team members clock in and out of shifts, check their schedules, get updates, swap shifts or request changes, communicate with coworkers, submit time off requests, and get alerts about upcoming shifts.


With a free plan, you can manage one business location and an unlimited number of employees — we don’t limit how many team members you can manage the way Square does. You also have the option to upgrade your plan if you have more than one location:

  • The Essentials plan starts at $24.95 per location per month and provides more features for team announcements and employee performance tracking.
  • The Plus plan costs $59.95 per location per month and gives you more tools to track labor costs, budgeting, and employee PTO.
  • The All-In-One plan comes in at $99.95 per location per month and offers customers access to new hire onboarding, employee document storage, and more robust HR and compliance features, including access to live HR experts.

Homebase payroll comes as an add-on to any plan for $39 per month and $6 per active employee.

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


Source: https://squareup.com/us/en/payroll/features
Caption: Square lets you arrange pre-tax benefits for employees, automatically deducting contributions from their checks.

Like Homebase, Square Payroll saves you extra steps by syncing its payroll tools with its time tracking tools. You won’t have to upload your timesheets to third-party payroll software — you’ll just have to review timesheets, make necessary edits, and process direct deposits or paychecks.

Employers looking to improve the employee experience with health coverage and retirement plans may appreciate that Square lets customers set up pre-tax benefits like medical insurance, 401ks, health savings accounts (HSAs), and flexible spending accounts (FSAs). And once you set up staff benefits from your payroll dashboard, the platform will deduct their contributions from every check automatically.

Employers should note that, similar to Homebase, payroll comes as an add-on to Square POS plans at $35 per month and $5 per employee. So, if you’re already planning to pay $35 per month for Square Team Plus for team management tools like scheduling and time tracking, Square Payroll may put you over your budget.

Employee scheduling

If you have five or fewer employees, you can create and publish schedules for free. Then, Square will notify staff that their timetables are ready by email and via the Square Team app. And just like Homebase, Square makes scheduling simple with filters for different locations, departments, and roles.

Additionally, if you need a shift covered, you can create an open shift for team members with the same job title. Square will notify all available employees for you, so you won’t have to message individual people or send an announcement whenever you need extra help.

The disadvantage to Square is that once you have more than five employees, you’ll have to upgrade to the Square Team Plus plan. Homebase, however, doesn’t require you to pay more based on the number of employees you have, making it a much more budget-friendly option.

Time tracking

Team members can track their hours from the Square POS device or their phones with the Square Team app, which makes clocking in more efficient during those moments when someone’s already using your POS unit. The timekeeping system works similarly to Homebase in that every employee has to punch in with a unique PIN for more security.

However, Square doesn’t offer a web-based option, which means that if a team member can’t access their phone or your business’s POS, they’ll have to wait to punch in, which may lead to inaccurate time records.

HR and labor compliance

Unfortunately, Square doesn’t have built-in HR tools, which may discourage business owners who are looking for an end-to-end team management solution like Homebase.

However, Square offers HR services through its partnership with Bambee. Once you set up a call with a Bambee HR expert, they’ll create a customized plan and assign you an HR manager to help keep your business compliant.

But even at the discounted rate Bambee offers to Square customers, this option isn’t cheap:

  • $199/month plus a free one-time Bambee in-depth HR audit for one to four employees.
  • $299/month plus a $250 one-time Bambee in-depth HR audit for five to 19 employees.
  • $699/month plus a $500 one-time Bambee in-depth HR audit for 20 to 49 employees.
  • $1,299/month plus a $750 one-time Bambee in-depth HR audit for 50 to 99 employees.

Tip pooling

Restaurant and cafe owners may prefer to use Square for its tip management features, which you won’t get with Homebase. The platform makes tip pooling easy by setting up tip distribution methods before every customer transaction. You can also decide if you want your staff members to receive tips after their shifts or after they work a certain number of hours, making the tool adaptable to various kinds of tipped industries.


Freelancers and small business owners who do contract work or catering might find Square Invoices useful, especially if they’re using inefficient paper invoices to bill their customers. The platform lets users send unlimited invoices and notifies you when they’ve been reviewed or paid. And they’re not limited to billing — customers can also send contracts and estimates to clients.

Keep in mind: This feature doesn’t come as part of Square Payroll or Square POS. It’s a separate add-on that ranges from free to $20 a month. And Square will charge you small transaction fees when you process customer payments.

Email marketing

Square also offers email marketing tools that are equipped with templates and workflows to set up automated campaigns, which you may want to consider if you need to grow your brand and build your clientele. And because this feature can integrate with your POS, you won’t have to worry about building a client list on your own — you can pull customer information directly from your sales data. Additionally, Square keeps track of new, regular, and lapsed customers to help you focus your marketing efforts.

However, this add-on isn’t free, so if you’re a new small business owner looking to keep your expenses to a minimum, it might not be for you. Square Marketing plans are currently priced at:

  • $15 per month for 0 to 500 customers
  • $25 per month for 501 to 1,000 customers
  • $40 per month for 1,0001 to 2000 customers

Mobile app

Unlike Homebase, Square has a few different mobile apps that are connected with their different products for POS, team management, payroll, and appointments, which could make managing teams more complex than it needs to be. Their current apps include:


Square’s pricing depends on the products you need, which can add up quickly. For example:

  • Square Team Management has a free plan for businesses with up to five team members. It doesn’t include access to shift swapping features or time off tools. To get those capabilities, you’ll need to upgrade to Team Management Plus, which costs $35 per month per location.
  • Square Payroll costs $35 per month plus $5 per employee.

Homebase vs. Square’s integrations compared

Lightspeed Retail
Lightspeed Restaurant
Restaurant 365
Quickbooks Online

Homebase vs. Square’s scalability

If you’re looking for standard team management features like scheduling, time tracking, and payroll tools to complement your current Square POS software, Square Team and Square Payroll may be enough for you.

But that’s not the most scalable option. A free Square Team plan only lets you manage five employees, and even the most comprehensive package doesn’t have features for messaging, HR, or labor compliance. And if you want to add Square Payroll, you’ll have to pay $35 per month plus $5 per employee on top of $35 per month for Square Team Management Plus, which could significantly cut into your budget.

For a more scalable solution, Homebase is the way to go. With a free Homebase plan, you can manage any size of team, and you won’t be forced to upgrade as you bring people on board. A free account also helps you simplify scheduling, track employee hours, stay compliant with labor laws, hire new people, and communicate with your team, making it a more flexible option than Square Team.

And as your small business needs become more complex and you need more expert guidance, you can upgrade to our comprehensive All-In-One plan for HR and compliance or add payroll to any plan.

Plus, choosing Homebase doesn’t mean you have to ditch Square POS if you’re already using it — Homebase integrates with Square, so you don’t have to give up a tool that’s already working for you to get more team management and payroll features.

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