The Payroll Blog

News, tips, and advice for small business owners

5 Questions to Ask When Choosing a Payroll Provider

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Stephanie Davis

Payroll mistakes can happen faster than you think and are often expensive and time-consuming to fix. Using a  payroll service is the first step toward minimizing financial risk and taking back control of your schedule—but not all payroll services are created equal.

For most small businesses, the right payroll fit comes down to features, support, and flexibility—and you should assess any provider for their capabilities related to:

  • Tax Protections
  • Payroll Processing Times
  • Customer Support Availability
  • Expedited Payroll Options

In our one-sheet guide, What to Look for in a Payroll Provider, we answer five common questions to ask when you’re evaluating payroll providers. For even more context, keep reading to learn what you should be looking for.

Tax Protections

One of the biggest advantages to choosing online payroll software is that you can let somebody else do the heavy lifting on your payroll and tax chores for your small business. However, since this is a big job to task somebody with, you are going to want to make sure that your best interests are really at heart and that the payroll provider you choose is going to have your back when it comes to taxes.

At SurePayroll, we take this seriously, which is why we have a 100% taxes paid and filed guarantee to back it up: If you receive a notice from the IRS, or any other tax agency, based on a filing that SurePayroll made for your organization, we’ll work with the agency to help resolve the issue on your behalf.  And, if we’re at fault, we’ll pay all the associated penalties and fines.*

Customer Service

You didn’t get into business to run payroll, so it’s safe to assume that you are going to have a lot of questions about your payroll and you’re going to want answers quickly, so your employees are paid accurately and on time. At SurePayroll, we know how frustrating it can be not to get the help you want or be stuck on hold for hours. That’s why we have options for getting help, and the stats to back it up.

In 2019, we won our 11th straight Stevie Award for Customer Service. This means that we were recognized for providing exceptional customer service.

At SurePayroll, our customer service is U.S.-based, and we offer evening and weekend customer service hours because we know that the life of a small business owner can be unpredictable. If you don’t want to call, we also have a chat option so you can get help from your computer, smartphone, or tablet.

Payroll Processing Window

When it comes to paying your employees, you are going to want to know how long it will take the online payroll service you choose to process your payroll. Typically, payroll services have a four-day processing window. With SurePayroll, the standard payroll period is two days between the time the payroll is scheduled and the earliest day it can run. Those two days can be a big deal in your small business world.

We don’t stop there, however, and offer flexible payroll options** for those moments when life happens.

  • Next-Day Payroll: This option lets you schedule and run payroll on the next business day, as long as you schedule the payroll by 3:00pm.m CST on the prior business day.
  • Same-Day Payroll: Run payroll the same business day as you schedule it, as long as you do so by 10:30 a.m. CST.
  • Cancel Payroll: Accidentally make a mistake in your payroll and don’t want it to run? As long as you are in the proper cancellation window, you’ll see a button for “Cancel Payroll” and you can stop it before your employees get paid.
  • Auto Payroll: Do you run the same payroll every schedule? For those with a consistent payroll, auto payroll can be a great set it and forget it option for your small business.

Free Trials and Contracts

Sometimes the only way to truly understand how something is going to work is to give it a try yourself. Because of this, we offer a one-month free trial, so you can really dive into our payroll software and understand how to run payroll. If at the end of the month you decide you don’t want to continue using SurePayroll, no hard feelings, and no hoops to jump through either to stop working with us. Additionally, we know how daunting contracts can be, which is why we don’t have one. If at any point you decide to switch gears and do something else with payroll, you can let us know without any penalties.

Have more questions?

When comparing online payroll software for your small business, you’re likely going to have more questions to find the provider that’s best for you. Downloading our one-sheet guide will be a good resource to keep on hand while you continue to research companies.

If you’re interested in learning more about SurePayroll and the features we offer, head over to our Payroll Services page or request a quote to see how we can help you with your small business payroll.



* The Tax Filing guarantee is based upon receiving accurate and timely information from the client, and timely payment for any taxes due.   All services are subject to the terms and conditions of the service agreement between the parties and client is solely liable for penalties, fines or interest due if the client is at fault, wholly or in part, for the penalty, fine or interest due. 

**Expedited payroll services are available to eligible customers: those who have run at least six payrolls with us and haven’t had any instances of non-sufficient funds within the last six months. In addition, expedited transactions are only available on business days, not bank holidays or weekends. For next-day processing, the payroll must be scheduled by 3 PM CST the prior business day; for same-day processing, payroll must be scheduled by 10:30 AM CST on the business day you schedule it.

This website contains articles posted for informational and educational value. SurePayroll is not responsible for information contained within any of these materials. Any opinions expressed within materials are not necessarily the opinion of, or supported by, SurePayroll. The information in these materials should not be considered legal or accounting advice, and it should not substitute for legal, accounting, and other professional advice where the facts and circumstances warrant. If you require legal or accounting advice or need other professional assistance, you should always consult your licensed attorney, accountant or other tax professional to discuss your particular facts, circumstances and business needs.