Should You Give It The Gusto? — Gusto Review

Getting paid as a freelancer is great, but paying yourself is even better. Is Gusto the right choice to make that happen?

Justin Cox
3 min readFeb 28, 2022

Justin Cox using Gusto

As a freelance writer who loves technology, I’m on a never-ending quest to find the best tools that support my business. Since there isn’t a perfect all-in-one tool for freelancers, I use multiple services to achieve my goals. Let me be your canary in the coal mine, testing freelance tools to figure out if they’re right for you. Today, I look at Gusto, the all-in-one people platform.

What does Gusto do?

When setting up a freelance business, there are all sorts of legal methods and entity types — Sole Proprietorship, LLC, S-Corp, Corporation. Each of them has different rules and tax implications when paying yourself. Owners of an S-Corp, for example, must receive wages as a W2 employee and not just as a shareholder distribution. These complicated rules and requirements mean certain freelance businesses need a detailed HR team to maintain compliance and elevate the tax burden. Enter Gusto!

Gusto is outsourced HR for your business. It provides full-service payroll for W2 employees and 1099 contractors, manages benefits, files employment taxes, and more. Gusto understands the intricate details for every state, so you don’t have to ( note: I don’t know about Gusto’s international capabilities). They prepare paperwork, send direct deposit payments, and file taxes on your behalf.

Gusto also has employee benefits options that include retirement and health insurance. Whether using the Gusto integrated options or providing these benefits on your own, Gusto calculates the tax implications and adjusts payroll accordingly. At tax time, Gusto prepares 1099s and W2s for everyone. It’s quick and painless.

How do I use Gusto?

My freelance business is an LLC, filing taxes as an S-Corp. While I’m the only ‘employee,’ I must take a W2 salary to comply with federal requirements. I set up Gusto to manage my company’s payroll (just me).

The setup process was a little complicated, mainly because I needed to create new business accounts for taxes and unemployment insurance…

Justin Cox

I help writers and nonprofits grow. Editor of The Writing Cooperative. Contact at