We’ve looked at pricing, features, ease of use, and other criteria to determine the best payroll for construction software. Explore our guide to find the right one for your business.
This article is part of a larger series on Payroll Services.
Efficient payroll designed for construction can help you save time and money by making calculations easier, filing accurate taxes and reports, and organizing job costs. The best construction payroll software have specific reports and job codes for the construction industry.
In this guide, we evaluated 16 construction payroll systems and narrowed our list down to the best six.
- eBacon: Best overall construction payroll software
- Gusto: Best for construction companies looking for an affordable contractor payroll tool
- Rippling: Best for tech-heavy construction businesses, such as those involved in high-tech engineering or architectural projects
- ADP Run: Best for growing construction businesses that need flexible payroll plans
- QuickBooks Payroll: Best for construction companies that use QuickBooks Accounting
- Payroll4Construction: Best for businesses requiring robust construction-specific reporting
Top Construction Payroll Software Compared
Union Payroll Codes
$141.67 monthly for 15 employees minimum*
Check, direct deposit, pay card
Workers’ comp, health plan administration tools
$39 plus $6 per employee monthly
$6 per contractor monthly
Check, direct deposit, pay card, pay on demand
Included in higher tiers
Health plans limited to 39 states
$35 plus $8 per employee monthly*
Check, direct deposit
Call for quote
Check, direct deposit, pay card
$45 + $4 per employee monthly
QuickBooks Desktop only
Check, direct deposit
Included in higher tiers
$98.75 per biweekly payroll*
Check, direct deposit
*Pricing is based on a quote we received
Not sure what you need? Check out our guide on finding the right payroll solution for tips on how to best evaluate the right payroll for you.
eBacon: Best Overall Construction Payroll Software
eBacon made it to the top of our list because its features are specifically designed to address the issues of construction companies. It offers certified payroll, compliance reports, fringe benefit management, and more. If your business handles diverse contracts, eBacon provides all the tools you need to meet the needs of government contracts—but works just as well for private jobs.
eBacon earned 4.04 out of 5 in our evaluation. Its ease of use, solid construction-specific features, and efficient payroll tools contributed to its high marks. It’s also the only service on our list that offers a fringe benefits trust fund from which employees can take cash advances. However, it lost a few points on our rubric for lacking a customizable interface and transparent pricing. It also doesn’t offer advanced HR tools (such as hiring and learning management); you’re better off with either ADP Run or Rippling if you need those features.
eBacon Key Features
- Payroll: Unlike the rest of the providers in our list (except Payroll4Construction), eBacon is made for construction companies needing certified payroll reports, prevailing wage reporting, fringe pay trust funds (to take advantage of tax benefits), and city-shifting calculations. Like Gusto and ADP Run, eBacon offers pay cards in addition to direct deposit. Further, it alone boasts eight ways to track time and can handle multiple wage rates for a single employee on a single job in a single day.
- Tax filing: Tax features are typical—federal, state, and local taxes and year-end report prep and delivery of W2s and 1099s.
- Construction-specific tools: eBacon offers multiple job designations at multiple pay grades, union employee reports, and government contracting reports (WH347, EEO, city-specific reports). Only Payroll4Construction also meets these specific construction needs without paying for customization.
- HR: eBacon has a basic suite of HR tools for managing online onboarding, PTO, time and attendance, and background checks. While it can generate new hire reports, you have to submit these yourself. If automating this task is vital for you, consider either ADP, Rippling, or Gusto (Payroll4Construction offers this for an additional fee). It also provides benefits support to help simplify benefits administration and online enrollments of health, dental, vision, flexible spending account (FSA), and health savings account (HSA) plans.
Gusto: Best for Contractor-only Payments
Gusto is often our top choice of payroll software for small companies because of its pricing, ease of use, and good customer support. What sets it apart from the other construction payroll systems on our list is its contractor-only plan that costs only $6 per contractor monthly. However, while it has solid pay processing tools, it lacks the specialized features for construction that you can find with Payroll4Construction and eBacon. Nonetheless, if you are a small business that doesn’t do a lot of government contracts or union work, its reasonably priced plans and user-friendly tools make it a good choice.
It earned an overall score of 3.93 out of 5 in our evaluation. Gusto stands out because it offers multiple payment options with two- and next-day direct deposits (although QuickBooks Payroll has a same-day option). It also has a contractor-only payroll plan that, while simplistic, is the cheapest on our list. It even provides excellent tools for money management for your employees through Gusto Wallet. Its biggest drawback is that it only offers health insurance for 39 states (unavailable in Alabama, Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, North Dakota, South Dakota, West Virginia, Wyoming). If you are not in a covered state, consider either QuickBooks Payroll, ADP, or Rippling.
Gusto Key Features
- Payroll: You get unlimited and automatic pay runs with Gusto, but it doesn’t offer certified payroll like eBacon and Payroll4Construction do. Employee payments are made through manual checks, pay cards, and pay on-demand via Gusto Wallet. Similar to QuickBooks Payroll, it has next-day direct deposits, which the remaining providers don’t provide.
- Tax filing: Gusto handles federal, state, and local tax filing, plus garnishments and levies. It files and sends W-2 and 1099 forms at no extra cost (ADP Run charges extra for year-end tax reporting).
- Construction-specific tools: Gusto doesn’t have union payroll codes, but you can create job codes and conduct project tracking and workforce costing. Unlike eBacon and Payroll4Construction, it lacks construction-specific reports—you need to build your own.
- HR: Employee benefits include workers’ comp, medical, 401(k), commuter, 529 college savings, and Gusto Wallet financial tools. With higher plans, you get hiring and onboarding, team and project management, access to HR advisers, and a dedicated support team.
Rippling: Best for Tech-heavy Construction Firms
Rippling is a highly adaptable payroll program. Its capability to integrate with over 500 business apps makes it a good fit for construction companies that do a lot of high-tech design and engineering. Its core platform is a workforce management system, which includes online onboarding and offboarding, document management, reporting, and workflow automation tools. Then, you can add HR and IT modules, including full-service payroll that works in all 50 states. It also allows you to pay contractors, although there’s no contractor-only plan (only Gusto provides that).
Ripping earned 3.83 out of 5 in our evaluation with high marks (4 and up) in user popularity, HR features, and reporting. While it does not promote itself for the construction industry, its compliance tools are robust enough to handle construction-related payroll. It even has job codes you can customize not only for work but also for unions. However, it lost points because not all of its pricing is transparent, access to HR experts costs extra, and it lacks a pay card option (Gusto, ADP Run, and eBacon offer this).
Rippling Key Features
- Payroll: Rippling offers unlimited and automatic pay runs with payment options that include manual checks and two-day direct deposits. Like ADP, it allows for international payroll, but only for contractors. However, if you want fast direct deposits, we recommend QuickBooks Payroll, as it offers next- and same-day options.
- Tax filing: Rippling handles federal, state, and local tax filings, plus year-end report prep and delivery of W2 and 1099 forms.
- Construction-specific tools: Rippling supports multiple pay rates for jobs and states, has job costing tools, and lets you use job codes for union tracking—pretty typical of most of the providers on our list (although Gusto and QuickBooks don’t have union tracking).
- HR: Rippling’s HR tools are robust, allowing you to manage basic to advanced HR processes—from job postings and applicant tracking to learning management and performance reviews. You can even subscribe to its professional employer organization (PEO) services if you need an expert to handle your day-to-day administrative HR tasks. It also provides access to health, commuter, and retirement plans that you can offer to employees. Managing workers’ comp is also a breeze with Rippling as it provides an online tool that shows real-time, pay-as-you-go rates. However, you have to pay extra for these modules.
- IT tools: What sets Rippling apart from the other providers on our list includes its 500+ integration options and IT solutions for managing your employees’ business apps and company-assigned computers. Apart from allowing you to set up and disable your workers’ software and computer access, Rippling can help track your computer inventory.
ADP Run: Best for Growing Construction Businesses
ADP Run has subscription options that include features ranging from payroll to a combination of payroll, time tracking (with GPS functionalities), and HR (recruiting, background checks with drug testing, and even HR consulting are available). It also has numerous products beyond the payroll solution, including a PEO service, making it easy for businesses with plans to grow over the years to transition easily to more advanced HR solutions and services.
It earned an overall score of 3.69 out 5 in our evaluation, with high marks (4 and up) in HR features, payroll tools, reporting, and ease of use. While it has union payroll codes you can use, it doesn’t provide certified payroll reporting like eBacon and Payroll4Construction do. It didn’t rank higher on our list given its non-transparent pricing and lack of a contractor-only payroll plan (Gusto has this). Plus, it charges extra for year-end tax reports.
ADP Run Key Features
- Payroll: ADP Run offers automated pay runs, two-day direct deposits, and the capability to pay contractors and hourly and salaried employees. It’s one of the three providers (Gusto and eBacon being the others) on our list that lets you process payments via pay cards. Similar to Gusto, eBacon, and Payroll4Construction, its time-tracking features include geofencing—which is handy for monitoring the attendance of remote administrative staff and on-site workers. QuickBooks Payroll also has time tracking and geolocation features, provided that you upgrade to its higher tiers.
- Tax filing: All plans include tax filings at federal, state, and local levels (as opposed to QuickBooks Payroll, which does not do local tax filings in its basic plan). While it can create, deliver, and file W2s/1099 forms, you have to pay extra for year-end tax services.
- Construction-specific tools: ADP lets you manage multiple pay rates and has multistate, union-specific, and job costing tools. However, unlike Payroll4Construction and eBacon, it doesn’t have construction-specific reports—you need to create these or pay extra for them to be included.
- HR: ADP excels here with a full HR suite that includes onboarding, workers’ comp, new hire reporting, and document management. If you get its higher tiers, you get 24/7 access to expert HR advisers 24/7, an HR handbook wizard, ZipRecruiter job postings, background checks, and more. It offers benefits from major providers, including employee discounts with its partner retail shops and restaurants. It can even expand to a full PEO if you want to outsource your HR fully.
QuickBooks Payroll: Best for QuickBooks Accounting Users
If you use QuickBooks for accounting and want a simple payroll processor with basic HR functions, QuickBooks Payroll offers a surprising amount of functionality for construction companies. With native integration to QuickBooks Accounting, you get the benefits of tying into other integrations, automatic import of figures for budgeting and job costing, and the ease of using QuickBooks for invoicing. The Premium and Elite plans include same-day direct deposit, something not offered by others on our list. It also works with SimplyInsured to provide health benefits in all 50 states (Gusto’s is limited to 39 states).
QuickBooks earned 3.66 out of 5 in our evaluation. It scored high (4 and up) in most of our criteria given its efficient payroll tools, user-friendly platform, and reasonably priced plans. Its overall rating took a hit because it lacks a pay card option and some tools depend on the QuickBooks Accounting integration (such as certified payroll if using QuickBooks Desktop and the capability to integrate with construction software).
QuickBooks Payroll Key Features
- Payroll: QuickBooks Payroll offers unlimited and automatic pay runs with the option to pay employees via manual checks and next- or same-day direct deposits. It also has PTO management tools and time trackers via QuickBooks Time (if you upgrade to its higher tiers).
- Tax filing: While QuickBooks Payroll’s local tax filings are included in its premium tiers, its basic plan covers federal and state taxes, year-end report preparation, and delivery of W2s and 1099s. Its Elite Plan also helps you resolve tax penalties and reimburses you up to $25,000, regardless of who is at fault. None of the providers on our list offer a similar tax penalty protection program.
- Construction-specific tools: Take advantage of its multiple pay rates, multistate payroll, job-based codes, and flexible pay schedule options for running weekly, biweekly, and monthly payroll. It can integrate with construction-specific apps (like Buildertrend) and provide job costing and industry-specific reporting—however, these are through QuickBooks Accounting. If you want these features right in your payroll software, consider either eBacon or Payroll4Construction.
- HR: While not a full HR platform like Rippling and ADP, QuickBooks Payroll provides essential tools for onboarding, document management, and workers’ compensation administration. It also has HR advisory services, provided you get its Elite plan.
Payroll4Construction: Best Construction Payroll Software for Reports
Payroll4Construction is a specialized payroll software for construction companies. It does pay calculations, payroll tax filings, and even provides basic employee benefits through its partner providers. It can also handle simple to complex job costings and offers a wide range of construction-specific reports, including custom ones to fit your business’ specific reporting needs.
In our evaluation, Payroll4Construction earned an overall rating of 3.65 out of 5. It received top scores (4 and up) on construction-specific tools and payroll features. It took a hit on pricing because you need to call for a quote, and it’s more expensive than the other construction payroll software on our list (although it’s cheaper than eBacon). It also has limited employee payment options and does not offer advanced HR features (such as hiring and training management) as ADP Run and Rippling do.
Payroll4Construction Key Features
- Payroll: With Payroll4Construction, you get automatic pay runs, two-day direct deposits, and PTO tracking. Like most of the payroll services on our list, it offers automatic pay runs, two-day direct deposit, and PTO tracking. It allows you to pay hourly and salaried employees as well as contractors (although it doesn’t have Gusto’s special contractor-only payroll plan). The time trackers with geofencing cost extra, however, as do the employee self-service terminal and garnishments. eBacon, by contrast, also processes garnishments.
- Tax filing: It handles federal, state, and local tax filings—but like ADP Run, end-of-year reports cost extra.
- Construction-specific tools: Since it is designed for construction, you should find all the tools you need. Examples include multiple pay rates for jobs or states, job costing, and certified payroll reports. It prepares construction-specific reports (like EEO minority compliance, union reporting) automatically.
- HR: It offers time tracking with geofencing features and a self-service portal for employees. It can handle benefits deductions and works with partner organizations to help manage benefits plans. However, if you want to offer discount perks to employees, consider ADP Run, as it provides retail and restaurant discounts that you can offer to your workers.
How We Chose the Best Payroll Software for Construction Companies
We looked at payroll services with construction features, including those that are part of a construction program. Then, we narrowed the list further by evaluating construction-specific payroll needs such as multistate and multi-job coding, union and other certified pay runs, labor costing, and more. We also considered pricing, ease of use, HR functionalities, and user reviews.
Click through the tabs below for our full evaluation criteria:
10% of Overall Score
We gave points for plans that cost less than $50 per employee monthly, as well as companies that offered transparent pricing, unlimited pay runs, and multiple plan options. Gusto led the pack with a perfect score, followed by QuickBooks with 4.25 out of 5.
25% of Overall Score
If a payroll provider lacked most of the features a construction business might need, it did not make our list. We also gave points for time tracking, multistate payroll, labor costing reports, and union payroll options. eBacon and Payroll4Construction both received perfect marks here.
15% of Overall Score
We looked for HR features like online onboarding, self-service portals, new hire reporting, and expert advisors. Most of the construction-specific payroll software lacked these. ADP earned perfect marks here, while Payroll4Construction posted the lowest score in this criterion with a rating of 2.06 out of 5.
20% of Overall Score
We gave the most points to software that offer multiple payment options, including direct deposits with processing timelines of two days or less. Aside from year-end tax reporting, we also looked for payroll tax services that cover all levels (state, local, and federal). Gusto earned the highest score here (4.75 out of 5).
5% of Overall Score
We took the average review ratings from third-party sites like G2 and Capterra, which are also based on a 5-star scale. Any option with an average of 4.5+ stars is ideal. We also favored software with 1,000+ reviews on any third-party site, although we gave some credit for those services that catered to construction businesses only. Gusto and Rippling each had perfect scores in this criterion.
15% of Overall Score
We looked for a large selection of reports and customizations. We also considered if they were specific to the construction industry. Most earned 4.25 out of 5 here except for eBacon and Payroll4Construction.
10% of Overall Score
We highly favored payroll software with intuitive platforms, easy-to-learn tools, and live phone support. We also credited companies that provide help guides and a dedicated representative. ADP Run, Gusto, and QuickBooks Payroll received high marks (4 and up) in this criterion.
According to Deloitte, the construction industry is going to continue to see a growth in non-residential and residential activity in 2022. Payroll software with construction features can help you stay on top of paying employees so you can concentrate on other business challenges, such as supply chain issues.
Overall, for construction companies, we recommend eBacon. It has a user-friendly and feature-rich platform designed to simplify payroll processing and compliance reporting. It even offers fringe benefit management tools, enabling your employees to easily access fringe benefits while providing you with tax savings on workers’ comp and payroll taxes. Sign up for a free demo today.