Operating payroll isn’t precisely enjoyable. However each enterprise proprietor must do it in the event that they need to hold workers comfortable (and paid!)

The payroll course of covers every thing that goes into paying workers whereas staying compliant with labor and tax legal guidelines — like registering for tax IDs, precisely monitoring hours, calculating and withholding taxes, and sharing pay stubs.  

It’s rather a lot, we get it. That’s why we’re going that will help you study what payroll really is, easy methods to do it proper, and what steps go into deciding on the correct software program to arrange your payroll course of.

What’s payroll?

Principally, payroll is the method of paying your workers. It consists of duties like determining taxes — together with social safety and Medicare tax — and monitoring hours labored.

Changing timesheets into hours, processing tax filings and issuing 1099s, W-2s, and W-4 types, providing perks, and really distributing your worker’s paychecks — all of this falls below the umbrella of payroll.

As a small enterprise proprietor, you’re in all probability dealing with payroll by yourself. In bigger organizations, this may be delegated to an HR skilled or accountant. Fortunately, good instruments like Homebase provide every thing it’s worthwhile to get the job performed proper with out hiring further individuals.

How payroll works with small companies

Payroll works otherwise for smaller companies, primarily as a result of their wants are completely different and so they don’t want all of the bells and whistles {that a} bigger firm would possibly. These extras  have a tendency to return with steep studying curves (and worth tags!) 

The opposite key distinction is that many small companies select to pay their workers on an hourly foundation. And since hourly payroll is completely different from wage payroll, it requires completely different processes and instruments.

Hourly payroll is predicated on a price per hour and workers are paid in keeping with what number of hours they work. Salaried workers, alternatively, receives a commission a set quantity every month. Hourly payroll requires cautious calculation of every worker’s timesheets and extra time, so time clocks and employee scheduling software program are sometimes a necessity.

The completely different parts of payroll

There are lots of processes and duties that go into operating payroll, and it’s not a simple activity to tackle: it’s worthwhile to accumulate worker info, arrange a payroll schedule, calculate and deduct tax withholdings, and an entire bunch of different stuff that may shortly really feel fairly overwhelming. 

Do not forget that you’re not by yourself, and also you don’t must DIY payroll to your whole enterprise. Now, let’s break a few of these payroll parts down a bit of.

Payroll schedules

For small companies with hourly staff, a payroll schedule is a mixture of a pay interval, a time interval the place workers labored, and a pay date (the day your workers obtain their checks). 

The commonest payroll schedules within the US are weekly, biweekly, semi-monthly, and month-to-month. Weekly schedules are greatest for small companies as a result of they simplify calculating extra time funds, that are often irregular. This manner, workers additionally receives a commission as quickly as attainable, which supplies them extra management and suppleness over their funds. 

Selecting the best schedule for what you are promoting is essential as a result of it impacts every thing from payroll processing prices to worker morale to compliance with state and federal legal guidelines.

Payroll taxes 

Calculating and withholding taxes are important parts of operating payroll. Taxes and charges can even differ by state, which may make this complete course of extra difficult.

Excellent news: there are solely 5 federal and state payroll taxes it’s worthwhile to know to get began:

Upon getting that down, verify if what you are promoting is topic to any extra state or native taxes.

Medical health insurance contributions

Providing medical health insurance to workers is a superb profit that may set what you are promoting aside and appeal to prime expertise in a aggressive labor market. However if you happen to’re primarily operating the present by your self, determining how health insurance contributions and payroll taxes work together could be daunting. 

Principally, employer-sponsored medical health insurance premiums are pre-tax for each workers and employers. Meaning the cash you spend on worker medical health insurance premiums could be exempt from federal taxable revenue and payroll taxes (after all, you need to at all times verify along with your Licensed Public Accountant!)

So earlier than you calculate and withhold tax, be certain to take any profit contributions and deductions under consideration.

Payroll prices

There could be fairly a couple of prices related to operating payroll easily. However relying on the kind of payroll system you employ and whether or not you outsource these actions or not, your payroll costs can differ an incredible deal. In the event you’re utilizing a payroll service answer, you’ll have bills like:

  1. A base month-to-month payment and charges for every worker you’ve got on payroll
  2. 401k distribution
  3. Monitoring worker time
  4. Staff’ compensation
  5. Direct deposit, state, and federal tax filings
  6. Paid depart and extra time pay
  7. Bonuses

Payroll abstract reviews

A payroll summary report exhibits you an outline of all of your payroll actions. This consists of worker particulars like internet and gross pay and employer taxes. Sustaining and correctly storing these paperwork is essential as you’re required by the federal government to submit a number of payroll report types, together with Type 940, Type 941, W-2s, and W-3s. 

You may additionally be accountable for an area payroll report, so be certain to verify your native employment legal guidelines to cowl your bases.

How one can choose the right payroll software program for what you are promoting

You possibly can positively course of your individual payroll manually, however it’s an advanced course of that may depart room for errors. That’s the place payroll software program is available in. These instruments allow you to scale back labor prices, keep compliant with federal and state legal guidelines, and make fewer payroll errors. 

There are a lot of several types of payroll software program, together with options like Gusto, BambooHR, and OnPay. However most of those platforms aren’t made particularly with hourly staff and small companies in thoughts. Meaning they don’t provide an all-in-one answer with instruments for scheduling, time monitoring, computerized deduction calculations, and all the opposite capabilities which are a should for hourly payroll.

Plus, they’re usually designed for bigger corporations and aren’t geared in direction of companies with below 20 workers.

So when choosing a payroll provider, be certain it’s not solely safe and scalable however really made for a enterprise like yours!

How one can arrange and course of your payroll 

In relation to really setting up your payroll system, there are a couple of necessary issues to bear in mind. Earlier than you get into the nitty-gritty of it, determine what your payroll insurance policies will probably be and the way you’ll deal with the method.

Will you be dealing with every thing in-house? Or would you like to outsource it to an accountant or on-line payroll service? And what’s your payroll schedule going to seem like? Don’t overlook to doc your insurance policies so every thing is publicly out there and could be communicated to your workers transparently. 

Then, register as a enterprise with the IRS and get your employer identification quantity (EIN). Make sure that each member of your workforce completes the proper tax types, after which calculate what number of federal and state taxes it’s worthwhile to withhold from every of your worker’s earnings. 

As an employer, you could additionally submit your federal tax return every quarter. Then, on the finish of yearly, you’ll have to arrange your annual filings, together with your W-2s for each workers member.

Lastly, calculate your salaries and pay your workers. All which will sound like rather a lot, however the course of could be summarized into these ten steps: 


  1. Get your worker’s EIN
  2. Register with the Digital Federal Tax Cost System (EFTPS)
  3. Be taught your space’s payroll legal guidelines
  4. Decide your payroll schedule
  5. Report new workers to the state
  6. Put together the right paperwork like W-4s
  7. Determine new rent pay charges
  8. Calculate tax deductions and state taxes
  9. Disperse paychecks and preserve data
  10. Use accounting software program to assist alongside the way in which

That’s proper — it may be difficult to run small business payroll your self. But when that’s the trail you need to take, it’s positively attainable with some persistence and energy!

How Homebase streamlines payroll for hourly workers

There are a lot of steps concerned in finishing up the payroll course of by yourself, and they are often tough and exhausting to perform, particularly if you happen to don’t use any HR providers to help you.

Payroll software program particularly designed for small companies might help an incredible deal. It saves you the headache of getting to recollect each single payroll step your self and operating the danger of falling out of compliance, even by chance. That’s why we’ve highlighted how Homebase can simplify your payroll and allow you to keep compliant with ease.

Time clocks

This characteristic permits you to flip nearly any system with an web connection into an employee time clock system. All it’s worthwhile to do is obtain the web time clock for workers and register. Then, workforce members can clock out and in with the time clock by utilizing their personalised pins.

After that, you’ll have the ability to observe hours, breaks, extra time, and paid time without work. Homebase will immediately convert your timesheets into hours and wages in payroll. Timesheets and payroll, multi functional place!


Homebase’s scheduling answer helps you optimize worker schedules and makes certain you and your workforce are at all times on the identical web page.

Immediately share your schedule along with your workers, use templates or auto-scheduling to optimize shifts, routinely remind workers of upcoming shifts by way of textual content, and get alerts to keep away from extra time hours.

An optimized schedule additionally makes it simpler to trace an worker’s whole hours and learn how a lot extra time you need to account for, which interprets into simpler payroll calculations on the finish of your pay schedule. 


Homebase provides varied integrations, so that you don’t have to fret about getting into and transferring knowledge manually if you happen to’re already utilizing payroll options like Quickbooks or Sq.. 

From Shopify and Paychex to Vend and Toast, we be certain your complete tech stack is routinely in sync, saving you time and chopping out pointless further knowledge entry.


Final however positively not least, our payroll answer automates the entire payroll course of so you may give attention to the necessary stuff. Right here’s what we do:

  • Calculate wages and taxes and ship out right funds to workers, the state, and the IRS.
  • Mechanically course of your tax filings and difficulty 1099s and W-2s.
  • Retailer your time card data that will help you keep compliant with FLSA record-keeping guidelines.

As an added perk to your workforce, they’ll have the choice to access a portion of their wages before payday. This provides workers extra management when surprising bills hit, and comes at zero value or problem for you.

Seamless payroll is only a click on away

Operating payroll as a small enterprise proprietor is difficult as a result of it includes a lot extra than simply determining wages and transferring funds. 

It’s essential to calculate and withhold taxes, keep compliant with federal, state, and native legal guidelines, put together payroll reviews, and determine on a constant payroll schedule. And you need to do all that whereas really operating what you are promoting.

If that sounds too time-consuming and complicated, we’ve acquired you lined! Homebase automates your payroll course of and takes care of every thing from changing your timesheets into hours and wages to routinely processing your tax filings. You simply give attention to rising what you are promoting and doing what you’re keen on!

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