What is Paychex?

Paychex provides payroll, benefits, and human resource management services to small and medium-sized businesses and has been doing so since the 1970s. The basic Paychex payroll provides everything a business needs to comply with regulations and tax obligations; automating federal, state, and local tax administration. Worker payments occur through direct deposit or on-site printed checks, and state reporting requirements for new hires are handled on your behalf. Paychex offers three plan tiers, each offering more payroll features for a higher monthly cost. It also bundles services depending on the size and needs of your business.

Paychex is a US-based, publicly listed company founded in 1971 and headquartered in Rochester, New York. The company has a market capitalization exceeding $40 billion and serves over 700,000 payroll clients in the US and Europe. If the number of awards won by the company is a testament to its products, your payroll is in good hands. Paychex was named in 2022 as one of the world’s most ethical companies by Ethisphere, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices. It has also recently won a Stevie Award for the sixth year in a row for its Paychex Pre-Check technology solution while being recognized for excellence in operational and financial risk management by Treasury & Risk magazine.

Paychex payroll offers online automated payroll management through the Paychex Flex mobile app, essentially a guided do-it-yourself approach. On higher plans, you are less on your own, with access to a dedicated payroll specialist who is your single point of contact for payroll services and tax support. All plans include the mobile app, an employee self-service portal, automated payroll and tax administration, and W-2s and 1099s. Payments are made via direct deposits and printed on-site checks, although paycard management is available as an option. Garnishment payment services and workers’ compensation insurance are also standard.

Pay a little more monthly and gain additional payment options and your dedicated payroll and tax specialist. The highest plan includes accounting software integration with well-known apps such as QuickBooks Online, Sage Intacct, and Xero, and you get assistance with managing your unemployment insurance process. The highest tier also provides extra HR tools, including background checks on prospective employees and paperless employee onboarding. Paychex can bundle up a customized solution from its HR, business insurance, time and attendance, and benefits product stream if you need further support or extra features.


What popular features do you get with Paychex?

  • Automated payroll, including tax filing
  • Workers’ financial wellness program
  • Pre-hire employee background checks
  • Employee self-service portal

  • New hire reporting
  • Garnishment payment services
  • Included employee assistance program
  • General ledger report as standard

  • Highly regarded mobile payroll app
  • Dedicated payroll and tax specialist

Customer Support is available at Paychex

Paychex offers a comprehensive 24/7/365 customer support service, initially directing you to your local Paychex office, where you can access a representative via email, live chat, or telephone. If that option doesn’t appeal, there is a general 833 number you can call or you can fill in an online form for a call-back or email response. You can also access a self-help menu consisting of plan-specific assistance and drop-down FAQs. Paychex clients universally report a pleasant experience and helpful advice when interacting with customer support.


What kind of business is Paychex ideal for?

Paychex appears to have got its payroll product features and structure right because it can truly claim to apply to any small to medium-sized business. Paychex has a package to suit you if you’re a solopreneur embarking on hiring your first employee or a multi-location business with hundreds of workers. The pricing of the lowest tier plan is competitive when amortized on a per-head basis, even with only one or two employees. It offers everything a startup needs to meet its minimum obligations to its employees and the regulators.

Pros and Cons

  • Established, reputable, and highly awarded company
  • A broad range of products to allow package customization
  • Great customer service
  • A competitive price for small businesses
  • Integrates with major accounting packages
  • A dedicated HR and tax specialist in all but the basic plan
  • Powerful, integrated software
  • The mobile app has a clean, uncluttered user interface

  • Pricing for all but the lowest tier is unavailable, requiring a customized quote
  • Extra fees for options included as standard features
  • No accounting software integration on the lowest two plans

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How much does Paychex cost?

*based on information provided by the vendor. Actual cost may vary.

Paychex only publishes the price of its lowest self-service plan, called Paychex Flex Essentials. In this plan, you pay $39 per month, and $5 per employee per month, which we feel is a competitive price given the company’s quality and the software features. For that price, you get everything you need to manage a basic payroll with some basic HR tools thrown in.

Upgrade to Paychex Flex Select, the next plan, and you receive your dedicated payroll and tax specialist and access to a wider range of employee payment options. There is also an e-learning feature added to your HR functionality. Unfortunately, Paychex does not price this option, asking you to contact sales for a quote.

The highest plan is Paychex Flex Pro, which adds accounting software integration, state unemployment insurance services, and a raft of HR features, including employee background checks and self onboarding. Again, Paychex does not give prices for this tier, directing you to request a quote from sales.

Final thoughts...

We feel Paychex stands out as a strong option for your next payroll service. The lowest tier pricing is competitive, even for those with few employees, and you get everything you need to meet your tax and regulatory obligations. The extra fees for some of the standard inclusions are disappointing, but if you understand these before you start, you can establish whether they dramatically increase your costs.

We feel the highest tier offers the best suite of options for a medium-sized business, with additional paid features available from other Paychex product offerings should there be a specific service you need. Product and service quality alone would support signing up, yet, when you consider the multitude of awards received by Paychex in the past ten years, you know you’re with a company that believes strongly in supporting small businesses.