Operating payroll isn’t precisely enjoyable. However each enterprise proprietor must do it in the event that they wish to preserve staff joyful (and paid!)

The payroll course of covers every little thing that goes into paying staff 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 lots, we get it. That’s why we’re going that will help you study what payroll truly is, do it proper, and what steps go into deciding on the proper software program to arrange your payroll course of.

What’s payroll?

Mainly, payroll is the method of paying your staff. 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 kinds, 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 is perhaps delegated to an HR skilled or accountant. Fortunately, good instruments like Homebase supply every little thing you could get the job carried out proper with out hiring additional individuals.

How payroll works with small companies

Payroll works in another way for smaller companies, primarily as a result of their wants are totally different they usually don’t want all of the bells and whistles {that a} bigger firm may. These extras  have a tendency to come back with steep studying curves (and worth tags!) 

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

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

The totally different components of payroll

There are a variety of processes and duties that go into operating payroll, and it’s not a straightforward job to tackle: you could 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. 

Keep in mind that you’re not by yourself, and also you don’t need to DIY payroll to your complete enterprise. Now, let’s break a few of these payroll components down slightly.

Payroll schedules

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

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

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

Payroll taxes 

Calculating and withholding taxes are important components of operating payroll. Taxes and charges may also differ by state, which might make this entire course of extra sophisticated.

Excellent news: there are solely 5 federal and state payroll taxes you could know to get began:

After getting that down, verify if your enterprise is topic to any further state or native taxes.

Medical insurance contributions

Providing medical health insurance to staff is a superb profit that may set your enterprise aside and entice prime expertise in a aggressive labor market. However in the event you’re primarily operating the present by your self, determining how health insurance contributions and payroll taxes work together might be daunting. 

Mainly, employer-sponsored medical health insurance premiums are pre-tax for each staff and employers. Which means the cash you spend on worker medical health insurance premiums might be exempt from federal taxable revenue and payroll taxes (after all, you must at all times verify together with your Licensed Public Accountant!)

So earlier than you calculate and withhold tax, make sure that to take any profit contributions and deductions into consideration.

Payroll prices

There might be fairly a couple of prices related to operating payroll easily. However relying on the kind of payroll system you utilize and whether or not you outsource these actions or not, your payroll costs can differ a terrific deal. If you happen to’re utilizing a payroll service answer, you’ll have bills like:

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

Payroll abstract studies

A payroll summary report reveals you an summary of all of your payroll actions. This consists of worker particulars like web 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 kinds, together with Type 940, Type 941, W-2s, and W-3s. 

You may additionally be liable for an area payroll report, so make sure that to verify your native employment legal guidelines to cowl your bases.

How you can choose the right payroll software program for your enterprise

You may undoubtedly course of your individual payroll manually, nevertheless it’s a sophisticated course of that may depart room for errors. That’s the place payroll software program is available in. These instruments show you how to scale back labor prices, keep compliant with federal and state legal guidelines, and make fewer payroll errors. 

There are various various kinds 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. Which means they don’t supply an all-in-one answer with instruments for scheduling, time monitoring, automated deduction calculations, and all the opposite capabilities which can be a should for hourly payroll.

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

So when choosing a payroll provider, make sure that it’s not solely safe and scalable however truly made for a enterprise like yours!

How you can arrange and course of your payroll 

In relation to truly 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, resolve what your payroll insurance policies will likely be and the way you’ll deal with the method.

Will you be dealing with every little 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 appear like? Don’t overlook to doc your insurance policies so every little thing is publicly accessible and might be communicated to your staff transparently. 

Then, register as a enterprise with the IRS and get your employer identification quantity (EIN). Ensure that each member of your group completes the proper tax kinds, after which calculate what number of federal and state taxes you could withhold from every of your worker’s earnings. 

As an employer, you have to 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 employees member.

Lastly, calculate your salaries and pay your staff. All which will sound like lots, however the course of might be summarized into these ten steps: 


  1. Get your worker’s EIN
  2. Register with the Digital Federal Tax Cost System (EFTPS)
  3. Study your space’s payroll legal guidelines
  4. Decide your payroll schedule
  5. Report new staff 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 keep data
  10. Use accounting software program to assist alongside the best way

That’s proper — it may be tough to run small business payroll your self. But when that’s the trail you wish to take, it’s undoubtedly doable with some endurance and energy!

How Homebase streamlines payroll for hourly staff

There are various steps concerned in finishing up the payroll course of by yourself, and they are often troublesome and exhausting to perform, particularly in the event you don’t use any HR companies to help you.

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

Time clocks

This characteristic allows you to flip nearly any system with an web connection into an employee time clock system. All you could do is obtain the net time clock for workers and register. Then, group members can clock out and in with the time clock by utilizing their customized pins.

After that, you’ll be capable of observe hours, breaks, additional 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 group are at all times on the identical web page.

Immediately share your schedule together with your staff, use templates or auto-scheduling to optimize shifts, robotically remind staff of upcoming shifts through textual content, and get alerts to keep away from additional time hours.

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


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

From Shopify and Paychex to Vend and Toast, we make sure that your entire tech stack is robotically in sync, saving you time and chopping out pointless additional knowledge entry.


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

  • Calculate wages and taxes and ship out appropriate funds to staff, the state, and the IRS.
  • Robotically course of your tax filings and situation 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 group, they’ll have the choice to access a portion of their wages before payday. This offers staff extra management when surprising bills hit, and comes at zero value or trouble for you.

Seamless payroll is only a click on away

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

It’s good to calculate and withhold taxes, keep compliant with federal, state, and native legal guidelines, put together payroll studies, and resolve on a constant payroll schedule. And it’s a must to do all that whereas truly operating your enterprise.

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

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