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Gusto vs BambooHR: Review and Comparison

Whether you’re a start-up of 20 people or a rapidly growing enterprise, you need an HR information system to help you run your business effectively. The question then becomes which platform to choose.

We will be looking at two HR management systems in this article and comparing their features to help you in the decision-making process.

Overview of Gusto and BambooHR

Gusto and BambooHR both provide HR management solutions which means they offer functionalities like employee database, performance tracking, benefits, and reporting. They are also cloud hosted so you can access their services from anywhere with an internet connection.

BambooHR focuses on information management and employee onboarding processes.

Bamboohr homepage
Source: BambooHR

Gusto’s standout feature is its payroll functionality accessible to users at every plan tier.

Gusto's homepage
Source: Gusto

Also, in terms of plans, pricing, and features offered, the two platforms differ slightly.

READ MORE: Hibob vs BambooHR Features: What’s the Difference?

Gusto vs BambooHR: Pricing

Gusto offers a free 30-day trial and also three plan packages – Core, Complete, and Concierge. The Core plan is its least comprehensive plan. This plan covers full-service payroll, employee profiles, self-service, health benefits, workers compensation administration, PTO (paid time off) policies.

Gusto Core is priced at $39 per month with an additional fee of $6 per employee per month.

Gusto Complete has a monthly base price of $39 as well. However, it costs $12 per employee monthly and comes with all the features of the Core package. The added features of this plan are permissions, basic time tracking, employee offers, and onboarding. You can also use it for employee directory, surveys as well as PTO policies and requests.

The Concierge plan is the highest-priced package on Gusto. It cost $149 per month plus an additional $12 per employee monthly. This plan comes with all the features of the Core and Complete plans as well as added benefits. The Concierge plan allows users access to HR professionals provided by Gusto and increased customer support through a resource center.

Access to dedicated customer success managers through phone calls and secure messaging is one of the perks of this plan. For organizations without an in-house HR department, it’s almost like having an extension of your company.

With any Gusto plan, users can also opt for add-on features like 401(k), 529 college savings, HSA, FSA, and commuter benefits. Each add-on feature attracts separate pricing.

BambooHR plans

BambooHR offers a free 7-day trial and two paid plan tiers – Essentials and Advantage. The free trial comes with access to hiring & applicant tracking, time tracking, performance management, employee database, reporting, and a mobile app. BambooHR also offers discounts calculated based on the number of employees managed and whether additional features are bundled.

A key difference between Gusto and BambooHR is that BambooHR doesn’t provide prices for their plans. They run a custom pricing model based on your business size and needs. Users interested in choosing this platform would have to reach out to their sales team to get a quote. However, they list the features each plan offers.

BambooHR Essentials comes with basic HR management, employee self-service, and customer support. It also comes with employee records, benefits tracking, standard reporting, document storage, standard access levels, workflows, and approvals. There are also email alerts, SSO, mobile app, company calendar, org chart, email support, etc.

The Advantage plan comes with all the features of the Essentials plan as well as access to hiring and onboarding features, integrations, data sharing capabilities, phone support, ATS, electronic signatures, advanced reporting, customized workflows, company branding. Upgrading to this plan also allow users access to custom tabs and fields, audit trails, access levels, API, and employee satisfaction.

While Gusto comes with a built-in payroll feature available to all users, BambooHR offers payroll functionality through a third-party platform. This feature however is only accessible to users on the Advantage plan.

Gusto or BambooHR: Integrations

BambooHR and Gusto both offer several popular native integrations found in standard human resource software primarily integrating with accounting, field service management, document management, and integration software.

To its advantage, BambooHR has an open API that can users to add other applications and integrate them seamlessly with BambooHR. Employees can also access and modify resources and generate reports in multiple formats using custom HTTPS requests or those offered by BambooHR.


Both platforms offer this feature to make sure companies stay compliant with federal and state laws in their HR practices.

However, Gusto offers a more robust service with a self-service model and user interface where users can easily visualize tasks to be accomplished for the organization to stay compliant with federal and state laws. The platform also allows for important employee forms storage including I-9s, W-2s, and electronic signatures.

Unique Features

Gusto Payroll

gusto special features: payroll services
Source: iStock

Gusto is well known for its payroll services though it offers benefits and HR services as well. Its payroll services also help businesses calculate local, state, and federal payroll taxes. With this feature, companies can run payroll as many times as needed every month including bonus payroll and off-cycle payroll runs.

On the other hand, BambooHR’s key feature is its comprehensive job listings that help HR managers post job openings, create a hiring team, and run the hiring process of new applicants seamlessly.

Dedicated HR Personnel

One benefit subscribers to the Gusto platform have is the option to work with certified HR professionals and use the HR resource center to receive assistance with any HR-related questions. This is an essential need for smaller businesses that may not have a dedicated HR department.

BambooHR doesn’t offer this service but grants users access to video tutorials, forums, and a help center designed to guide users through the implementation of the software.

Applicant Tracking System

One of BambooHR’s best features is its in-depth applicant tracking system which allows HR managers to post job openings, create hiring managers on their team, and allows them to customize their hiring process, and review candidates as they apply. The platform also helps to automate other time-consuming tasks, such as onboarding and offboarding, paperwork, and vacation management.

Before You Make A Decision

Both platforms are great platforms to help companies manage employee data and records and increase productivity. However, their features and drawbacks paint a clearer picture of which is the better option for you.

Though BambooHR and Gusto offer services to SMBs, a key difference between them is that Gusto only offers its services to businesses in the United States. Companies with branches and employees in other countries might consider BambooHR the better option.

On the other hand, a lack of transparent pricing on BambooHR’s platform is a drawback. It is easier to make a decision when comparing options if you have all the necessary information.

READ MORE: HubSpot vs Pardot Features and Pricing: Which Is Better?

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