OnPay is a good payroll service. It has its fair share of pros and cons, but the price point makes it a good contender in the industry. Learn more.
January 21, 2021•
I’ve never met a small business owner that actually likes payroll week. If they can afford to hire someone to run payroll for them, then they don’t share the same sort of disdain. If they’ve taken it upon themselves to run payroll, then I can guarantee that they all absolutely despise it…
Good thing is we’re currently living in the future, and with the rise of the internet there always seems to be an app for something.
Learning cooking? There’s an app for that.
Hate tracking business expenses manually? There’s an app for that.
Dread payroll? There’s OnPay for that!
Pros of OnPay
Cons of OnPay
OnPay’s Plan & Pricing
We came across OnPay while doing research for our payroll review series, and thought that they solve the payroll pain point (whoa, tongue twister) well enough to warrant a review.
But before we get into how well the software performs, we thought it’s best to give you a little peek behind the history of the company.
To say that OnPay is similar to other startups, borne from the swanky meeting halls of exclusive venture capital companies, would be an injustice to the SaaS (Software-as-a-Service).
As a matter of fact, OnPay has been in the payroll industry for years.
The little family-run business started many moons ago, before the rise of the internet. When the company hired CEO Jesse Burgess to run the company in 2007, he had to find ways for the company’s 6 clerks become more efficient while dealing with over 200 small business clients.
As you can imagine, this proved to be a challenging task and the newly minted CEO had to adapt, fast.
He had a lightbulb moment when he realized that the payroll business could be easily automated and moved online, so he took a leap of faith, rebranded the company and thus, OnPay was born.
OnPay took advantage of their experience being in the payroll industry for so long, and combined it with the latest innovations in tech to provide their customers with a payroll software that is reliable, simple to use and convenient, freeing up their clients so they can focus on what they do best – running their respective businesses.
They’ve recently hired CPA Katelyn Sullivan from Ernst & Young to help lead their accountant and bookkeeper partner development in the U.S.
To date, OnPay processes over $2 billion in payroll annually, across 50 states in America.
Impressive isn’t it?
From our research, OnPay seems to be the rockstar of payroll SaaS companies.
They’ve got the experience, they’ve got the tech, they’ve got the right people, and they’re not dependent on venture capital funding (which means they get to do whatever they want without worrying about giving up control).
But smart consumers like yourself will know that it’s easy for a company to elevate themselves through press releases and shameless self-promotions. The one question a smart end-user will ask is very simple:
“Is this SaaS the right fit for my company?”
Things may look nice, polished and shiny on the outside, but if it doesn’t work well, you’ll just end up frustrated, annoyed and inconvenienced.
Enter Bitcatcha, the best resource for small online businesses available on the internet #shamelessselfplug #sorrynotsorry.
We’ll be doing a thorough review of OnPay and list down it’s pros & cons, so you can make a calculated decision whether the software will work well for you. Basically, we’ll take the trouble of testing the software and detailing it, so that you don’t have to – saving you time and possibly, precious money.
You can thank us later :)
There’s no better way to say it – OnPay’s interface is professional looking!
When we first logged into the program and set everything up, our first thoughts were “huh, this is really basic”.
But basic doesn’t mean it’s bad. Basic means it gets things done without the need for all that flair.
The dashboard is simple, showing you 4 main tiles which are your “Recent Runs”, “Next Scheduled Pay Runs”, “Important Dates” and “Employee Offers”.
On the left is where you’ll find the tabs to navigate the site.
It shows you your “Workers” (which you’ll have to key in when you register), “Payroll” (the meat and potatoes of the software), “Reports”, “HR Functions” and “Settings” – all dressed in a comforting blue hue.
It’s an interface that the mature, professional business crowd might prefer, as it’s clean and gets the job done without any distractions.
OnPay makes it easy for you to bring new hires onto the system, which is heaven sent because the last thing you want with a payroll program is to fight with the system to add new employees in.
All you gotta do is head to the “Workers” tab, hit on “Employees”, then look out for the giant “Hire Worker” button on the right. You really can’t miss it.
Click on that and you’ll be taken to a page where you’ll have 3 options – “Send Offer Letter”, “Add an Employee”, “Add a Contractor”.
Once you click on “Add an Employee”, you’ll be prompted to fill in your employee’s basic details.
One thing I really appreciate is the ability to invite employees to key in their personal details themselves. This will save you a lot of time as you may not be privy to all the information they have about themselves. The downside is that they may take their own sweet time filling this up, so this can be quite the double-edged sword.
Once you fill up the required information, just hit “Continue”, follow the instructions on screen, and OnPay will automatically send an email inviting the new hire to fill up their details – quick, easy and convenient!
We love it!
In the first point, we brought up how simple the dashboard is. Although we’re happy with it, it might be a little too… vanilla for people that prefer a little more excitement in their lives.
Good thing is OnPay has made their dashboard customizable, so you can make changes with it if you ever get bored with how the dashboard looks.
Scroll all the way to the bottom, and you’ll find the “Customize Dashboard” button. Click on it and you’ll see the options you have.
While it’s not as detailed as we’d like, it’s nice to have a dashboard that we can tweak to our preferences. If you prefer things even neater, you can turn off some tiles for that sleek zen look.
So, smaller companies may not have a big issue with this but if your small business has 15 or more people with a high turnover rate, this feature will be one of your most favourite features in the program.
You know how it is with your old payroll system, if you wanted to look up or make changes to a certain employee, you’ll have to scroll till the end of time through your endless list of employees just to find the one you want?
Well, those days of endless scrolling is now over with the employee search function!
The team at OnPay probably figured out what a pain it was to be scrolling so much just to find a particular employee, as they made this “Find an Employee” function available through all the available tabs.
To find an employee, you literally just have to click on that button and key in the employee’s name.
OnPay will automatically find you that employee and bring you to his profile page, where you can easily do whatever you need to do with their profile.
It’s not a huge feature, but it sure makes using the program a lot more convenient.
Since we’re on the topic of employees, here’s another small but much-appreciated feature we like – employees’ profile picture are clearly displayed on the software!
Sure, this may not seem like much to really small teams, but if you’re in a high-turnover business with more than 15 employees, faces and names get forgotten real quickly, especially in high-pressure situations.
Putting a face to a name literally helps you recognize your employees easier, which helps you avoid potentially embarrassing situations, such as accidentally addressing Peter when his name is actually Horatio.
What used to be a time-consuming process that can take up an entire day or two can now be easily done in minutes with OnPay.
Payroll with OnPay is done in 4 easy steps:
It’s awesome that OnPay lets you select the employees you want to run payroll for. This allows you to organize your payroll sequence, eg. run payroll for salaried staff first, then move on to hourly staff, then contractual staff.
When it comes to entering hours worked, it’s pretty straightforward – enter the hours your hourly staff has worked for the run.
You can see all the details in one screen. All you have to do is key in the relevant details and you’re done!
The review portion of the sequence gets is where it gets interesting. OnPay drafts a detailed review on your payroll so you get a bird’s eye view on everything, allowing you to see where every single penny is going.
A nice touch to this is that OnPay has integrated a warning system if it detects abnormal or possible errors in payroll.
If you attempt to continue with those errors, you’ll be presented with another warning pop-up. This helps you avoid making human errors with the payroll program.
Once you’ve fixed everything and you’re happy with the payroll, the last step of this process is to hit “Approve Payroll” in the next screen.
OnPay will then proceed to automatically credit the salaries into the accounts of your employees, which saves you the headache of having to make fund transfers yourself!
Some programs make it really tough for us to rectify mistakes made in submitted payroll. With OnPay, fixing those mistakes is actually quite easy.
Head over to the dashboard and click on “View All” in “Recent Runs”.
There, you should be able to see a list of your recently submitted pay runs. Look for the one you want to fix, and hit the “Delete” button.
Now, you’ve just got to fix those mistakes and run payroll again. Do note that if you don’t see the “Delete” button, it means that the run has already been submitted and salaries have been made. You’ll need to write to their support team to get it fixed.
If you’re the sort that really enjoys going through reports, I’ve gotta say that you’ll be more than pleased with OnPay’s long list of report summaries:
If something needs to be summarized and reported, OnPay probably has it.
They’ve also got charts for those of you that prefer visual driven reports.
All of their reports are very comprehensive, so you can comb through them to your heart’s content. You’ll also have the option to save the reports in Excel or PDF format – very convenient!
Great job on the very helpful report generating system, OnPay!
HR and Payroll duties may sometimes cross over, so it only makes sense for OnPay to throw in some HR functionalities into their software.
When you click on the HR tab, the UI turns into a refreshing green! Maybe it’s supposed to give the impression of HR being a safe space. Regardless of whether or not that’s true, we like it!
OnPay’s HR system is quite basic, but it does what it needs to do. It has the same functionalities as competing payroll/HR programs, such as a portal for customers to request vacations, and an organisational chart.
Basically, OnPay’s HR functions are not groundbreaking, but they work!
We’ve always felt that a company is only as strong as it’s support team. They’re the true heroes of the industry, always there to help out customers in need, and they’re always the first line of defence when angry users make unrealistic demands and threats.
We were happy to find that OnPay’s support team just happened to be very knowledgeable and helpful. But being knowledgeable and helpful often isn’t enough and the team needs to respond quickly to requests or frustrated customers might just end up as angry customers.
Seeing as their live chat hours are only 9am – 8pm, they couldn’t reply to our queries immediately BUT they managed to contact us via email first thing in the morning! From there, we moved on to live chat where they expertly answered any questions we had.
They’re also a pretty friendly bunch, happy to answer whatever silly questions one might have.
Kudos to the OnPay support team!
OnPay’s got a lot of good things going for them, but we’d be lying if we said that the software is perfect. Here are a few things we thought OnPay needed improvement on, but do note that these are the author’s own humble opinions.
You know a SaaS is really fast when you don’t notice its speed. It’s something that just feels right as you use it – seamless and continuous with no interruptions.
With OnPay, we can’t say that it’s slow, because it’s not. It’s just that the speed is noticeably not as fast as other providers. We found ourselves wondering sometimes if we needed to refresh the page.
In a nutshell, OnPay’s site load speeds are just… merely acceptable, which is a shame because it could be so much better.
OnPay does look feature packed, because it is. The problem is, the features sometimes feel tacked on, like they’re there just for the sake of being there.
Take for example, this “Engagement” feature. It serves no purpose other than to break the ice. They could do so much more with it, like run polls to gauge team morale, but they just left it at that.
Another example would be OnPay’s document templates. If executed well, they could really be time savers, helping us with our paperwork! Unfortunately, they seem to only have 2 templates.
Useful? Yes. It’s just that we expected more.
At first glance, OnPay’s UI looks really clean, with buttons in all the right places. They tick all the right UI boxes, so site navigation shouldn’t be a problem… except that it is, at least in some instances.
They’ve made some questionable decisions regarding functionality. For example, we’ll look at the way they decided for deleting payroll.
Naturally, it would be best if they could list the payroll reports and the “Delete Payroll” button at the “Payroll” tab, so everything related to payroll can be found in one place, but that’s not the case.
We had to go to the dashboard, click on “Recent Runs” and delete the run from there. It doesn’t feel intuitive, and a few times we felt lost while using the app, having to resort to support to figure things out.
Of course, you’ll have to take this with a pinch of salt because this could very well be a user stupidity problem (Yes, I’m talking about myself).
To be fair, no one really needs a mobile app to run payroll, but don’t forget that OnPay has HR functionalities too. It’ll be more convenient if we could just tap on an app and approve (or reject) vacation requests and payroll runs.
We know that we can easily log in to OnPay using our phone’s browser, but a dedicated app would be a nice little time saver, making things a lot more convenient for busy business owners.
Simplicity is OnPay’s strategy, and it shows in their pricing plan. They only have one price, so decision making is easier for business owners.
Base price of $40, additional $6 per employee.
In a situation where you have 10 employees, it will only cost you $76 a month.
That’s a fair price to pay, considering the features you’ll get!
This was really a tough one for us to review.
On one hand, OnPay has the potential for greatness. It looks professional, it’s simple, and it delivers on its promises. That’s exactly what we want in a SaaS, but it seems like with every step forward, they take… well not two, but maybe just a step back.
The UI is good and while we wouldn’t call the learning curve difficult, OnPay has some issues with UX and site navigation, which means you may need to undergo training to use the software efficiently. It just doesn’t feel intuitive enough.
They’ve got features aplenty, but a lot of those features feel tacked on, like they’re there for the sake of existing. If only they made the effort to flesh out those features!
They’ve also got really detailed reports (which I’m pretty sure some users will enjoy) but somehow, going through those reports gives us a headache. Which is strange, because we went through detailed reports with other programs and we were completely fine with it.
In a nutshell, OnPay works. It’s not revolutionary. It won’t blow your mind, but it works.
And with their low price, it’s a good deal. Do remember though, you get what you pay for!