By Mike Ruppenthal, Ovation Payroll

When you’re running a business, you’ve got a lot going on and a lot on your mind. Yes, there are numerous small tasks you have to do each day, but your main focus needs to be on what your company or organization does best, which most likely isn’t processing your own payroll.

Here are some suggestions on finding a solid payroll service provider…

Ask your friends

The top hits in Google aren’t necessarily the companies that are best for your business. Ask someone you know or a similar business what payroll service they use. If you can get a few recommendations it will help narrow your search. You can also ask these companies for references and even check with the Better Business Bureau to find out if the company has any outstanding complaints.

Questions to ask of the person making the referral

• Overall, how satisfied are you with your current payroll service provider?

• Who else have you used and why did you switch?

• How responsive are they when you have a question or need help?

• Are there any services that they don’t offer that you wish they did?

• How flexible are they to accommodate any unique requirements?

• How will I be billed for services?

Interview the Payroll Companies

Once you have narrowed your list of potential payroll companies a number of factors should be evaluated. If technology is important to you and your employees make sure to see a demonstration of the tools that both you and your employees will access. Ask about the training and ongoing support for the technology you will be using.

Questions to ask the payroll companies

• When I have questions, who do I call?

• What other services do you offer besides payroll service?

• How will I be trained on the system?

• How do I provide my payroll information to my accountant?

• If the service makes a mistake, who is liable for those mistakes?

• Are there additional charges for adding or changing employee payroll?

• Will I be assigned a representative or will I always be directed to someone new?


The last thing you want is to receive a bill and be surprised. Be sure you understand what you are being billed for. Ask what services are included in the fees and which are extra? It’s important to realize that some large services may try to bundle your payroll package with additional services that you might not need. This could drive up your monthly costs.