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Payroll

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Managing your food truck employees may be difficult, but it doesn’t hold a candle to managing their payroll. Executing payroll manually involves a slew of complex calculations, check cutting and tax withholding, which is a lot of extra work for a busy food truck owner. The price for mistakes can be steep, and it may lead to a stressful (and costly) visit from an auditor or a letter from an attorney.

food truck payroll options

This is why many mobile food vendors choose to outsource payroll. There are many options when it comes to managing payroll, including hiring an accountant and utilizing online or offline payroll services. Hiring an accountant might be ideal, but it also may not be in the budget for a small food truck start up.

This article breaks down some of top-ranked payroll service options (in no specific order) to consider for your food truck business, which will help you simplify your payment and tax-filing processes:

Intuit/QuickBooks ($39/month)

Starting at $25 a month, Inuit Online Payroll is an affordable and simple option for newcomers to the world of payroll. It can be integrated with the popular QuickBooks accounting software to support federal and state tax requirements for $39 a month. It’s generally considered one of the most accessible and straightforward payroll platforms for beginners, and it offers many helpful features, like Online Time Tracking for employees to record their hours. It provides employers with free mobile apps to manage payments. It also allows employees to check on their paycheck details online.

ADP ($160/month)

ADP is possibly the best-known brand name when it comes to payroll services, and it offers a full-service system that can also be integrated with QuickBooks. ADP RUN, their small business-focused payroll service, has more features than Intuit does but it’s also significantly pricier. Additionally, some users find it slightly more complicated to set up due to a greater diversity of options. Unlike Intuit, ADP RUN offers 24/7 customer service assistance as well as payroll mobile access for employees (rather than just employers). Due to the price, it’s often considered a better option for growing businesses that can afford its more extensive features.

ONPAY ($40/month)

ONPAY is another affordable full-service small business payroll service, which offers a lot of the perks of Intuit, like unlimited monthly payrolls, at a comparable price. It even has a few extra features, like employee compensation through Pay Cards, which are helpful for employees who may not have bank accounts. It can be integrated with QuickBooks, but lacks the ability to sync with other popular software, such as Quicken and QuickBooks Online.

Paychex ($88/month)

Another popular option, Paychex offers comprehensive online payroll services for small businesses. Like the previous two options, it can transfer payroll data into QuickBooks as well as other types of software, and it offers very comprehensive online payroll options. It does, however, charge an extra fee for certain services, such as direct deposit, and adds an extra charge per extra employee. It also lacks online employee access and a local check-printing feature offered by most other services.

SurePayroll ($80/month)

SurePayroll is a subsidiary of Paychex. It offers comprehensive web-based payroll options focused on small business. It has all of the bells and whistles offered by popular services like Intuit, but unlike most services, it does not charge an extra fee for adding extra states. It has the option of filing taxes for you and will work with the IRS on your company’s behalf. On the downside, it’s relatively pricey and may be a better fit for small- to medium-sized businesses rather than those with a handful of employees.

ProPayroll ($75/month)

ProPayroll is a comprehensive online payroll system with an impressive collection of features and pay options. It is known for its excellent customer service, but has more limited software integration capabilities and requires a few more additional fees compared to other payroll services.

MyPayrollHR ($75/month)

MyPayrollHR is another online option that offers integration with QuickBooks and Sage accounting software. It provides a good array of features and payment options. It offers several free features that many other services don’t, like not charging for the addition of extra employees, W-2 services or the inclusion of additional states. The only sticking point for smaller food truck operations may be the price, which still can’t compare to the affordability offered by Intuit and ONPAY.

Please Note: Prices are rounded approximations of the cost of the full-service payroll and tax-filing assistance for a business with five employees. They may vary based on number of employees or additional features. These features and qualities of these service options are subject to change.

If you use another payroll system we didn’t include, please feel free to share it in the comment section below or on Twitter @MobileCuisine.

 

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Running a food truck is a business model that usually requires more than one person. As a food truck owner, it will become quickly evident that you cannot run your mobile business on your own. Because of this, you will need to hire employees to assist you in your day to day food truck operation.

food truck payroll-system

Unless you have come up with a way of hiring staff members without having to pay them, there are a few things that you are going to have to be aware of to legally hire these individuals. Many of these steps are required even if you are going to be a one man (or woman) show, while others will become a requirement as soon as you plan to expand your staff from 1.

Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN)

Before hiring employees, you need to get an employment identification number (EIN) from the IRS. The EIN is often referred to as an Employer Tax ID or as Form SS-4. An Employer Identification Number (EIN) is a nine-digit number that IRS assigns in the following format: XX-XXXXXXX. The EIN is necessary for reporting taxes and other documents to the IRS. In addition, the EIN is necessary when reporting information about your employees to state agencies. You can apply for an EIN online or contact the IRS directly.

Check Whether You Need State/Local IDs. Some state/local governments require businesses to obtain ID numbers in order to process taxes.

Independent Contractor or Employee – Know the Difference

Be clear on the distinction between an independent contractor and an employee. In legal terms, the line between the two is not always clear and it affects how you withhold income taxes, withhold and pay Social Security and Medicare taxes, and pay unemployment taxes. As required by law, You will need to withhold payroll taxes from your employees checks, FICA (Social Security), SWH (State Withholding), FWH (Federal Withholding), SDI (State Disability Tax), Medicare, and FUTA (Unemployment Insurance Tax).

Take Care of Employee Paperwork

New employees must fill out Federal Income Tax Withholding Form W-4. Your employee must complete the form and return it to you so that you can withhold the correct federal income tax from their pay.

Set a Pay Period

You may already have a manual process for this, but setting up a pay-period (whether monthly or bi-monthly) is sometimes determined by state law with most favoring bi-monthly payments. The IRS also requires that you withhold income tax for that time period even if your employee does not work the full period.

Carefully Document Your Employee Compensation Terms

As you set up payroll for your food truck employees, you’ll also want to consider how you handle paid time off (not a legal requirement), how you track employee hours, if and how you pay overtime, and other business variables. Don’t forget that other employee compensation and business deductibles such as health plan premiums and retirement contributions will also need to be deducted from employee paychecks and paid to the appropriate organizations.

Choosing a Payroll System

Payroll administration requires an acute attention to detail and accuracy, so it’s worth doing some research to understand your options. Start by asking fellow business owners which method they use and if they have any tips for setting up and administering payroll. Typically, your options for managing payroll include in-house or outsourced options. However, regardless of the option you choose, you — as the employer — are responsible for reporting and paying of all payroll taxes.

Running Payroll

Once you have all your forms and information collated, you can start running payroll. Depending on which payroll system you choose, you’ll either enter it yourself or give the information to your accountant.

Record Keeping

Federal and some state laws require that employers keep certain records for specified periods of time. For example, W-4 forms (on which employees indicate their tax withholding status) must be kept on file for all active employees and for three years after an employee is terminated.  You also need to keep W-2s, copies of filed tax forms, and dates and amounts of all tax deposits.

Report Payroll Taxes

There are several payroll tax reports that you are required to submit to the appropriate authorities on either a quarterly or annual basis. If you are in any way confused about your obligations, take a look at the IRS’s Employer’s Tax Guide, which provides some very clear guidance on all federal tax filing requirements. Visit your state tax agency for specific tax filing requirements for employers.

 

There are many payroll companies you can hire to do your taxes and file your reports. You can have your accountant do this for you or you can buy payroll software and do it yourself.

Please note that its always best to consult with your lawyer and/or account to help you get set up and to make sure you are in compliance with all laws and regulations.

 

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