Maintaining a small business requires significant effort—not only do you have to focus on growing and adapting your business—you also have to establish processes for everyday tasks, such as payroll management.
Luckily, there are many payroll software systems out there that allow you to fully automate your payroll so you don’t have to invest significant portions of your time managing this important business function.
That said, you may have heard of the top payroll providers Patriot and Gusto. Although these two payroll platforms offer similar services, you’ll want to consider key features, pricing, plans, and customer reviews when comparing Patriot vs. Gusto in order to determine which is a better fit for your small business.
Patriot Payroll vs. Gusto Comparison
Basic payroll services at a low cost
Time tracking (and overtime management)
Customer service support
Unlimited payroll in all 50 states
Patriot vs. Gusto: Features
Before you can commit to any payroll platform, it’s important to take a hard look at what features and functions your business needs to thrive. Is automatic payroll important to you? Would you like your employees to have access to paycheck portals? You’ll want to decide which factors are must-haves before diving further into this review.
The good news is, Patriot Payroll and Gusto both offer the top payroll features small businesses need to effectively manage, maintain, and automate in-house payroll. Both Patriot and Gusto are cloud-based platforms that allow business owners and employees to access their payroll accounts from anywhere.
In addition, both platforms offer integration options (such as POS, accounting, and time tracking platforms) to help your business’s software better communicate and enhance other programs.
With that in mind, let’s explore the key features that each of these top competitors offers to begin to understand the differences between Gusto vs. Patriot Payroll.
Patriot Payroll Features
Patriot Payroll is a great first option for startups or expanding small businesses new to payroll management that want basic functionality and a large number of features to choose from.
Patriot offers different payment plans and pricing options which we’ll explore in depth later on in this comparison review. These tiers make it easy to find a plan that best suits your business’s individual needs.
Unlimited payroll: Patriot Payroll allows you to schedule and automate payroll to be performed on specific days or times per month. It also allows you to adjust this schedule as needed and run payroll an unlimited number of times per month.
Free setup process:Establishing a payroll system may seem daunting, but Patriot will work with your team to quickly integrate and set up your new system.
Some tax compliance services: Depending on your plan, Patriot will automatically calculate, withhold, file, and pay your payroll taxes, file year-end paperwork, and ensure tax accuracy.
Free employee portals: Allow your employees full access to their pay stubs, tax documents, and other key information through employee portals.
Workers compensation integration:This allows you to set up workers compensation benefits and policies with Patriot’s software.
Additional payroll features:Choose from direct deposit or paper checks, manage payroll for multiple business locations, access your account from your smartphone, manage multiple pay rates, and establish PTO policies with Patriot.
Integrate some accounting software: You can integrate Patriot Payroll with Patriot Accounting or QuickBooks accounting programs.
Gusto Payroll Features
Like Patriot, Gusto Payroll also offers comprehensive payroll features and options, specifically tailored to make managing payroll easy and efficient for small businesses.
Gusto provides a few different pricing plans small businesses can select to best meet their needs and budgetary requirements. In addition, Gusto also offers HR tools and resources that can be helpful to small HR teams or businesses without a formal HR department on staff.
Let’s explore some of the main features Gusto offers:
Unlimited payroll: Schedule your payroll to run a set number of times per month, weekly, or on custom days with Gusto. In addition, you can also change your payroll rules at any time and run payroll an unlimited number of times without incurring additional fees.
Automatic tax compliance services: Gusto will not only handle all of your company’s payroll taxes (including calculating, withholding, filing, and submitting), they will also issue and file new employee reports, W2s, 1099s, and more.
Free employee portals:Your employees will be able to access their payroll information on the go, gaining access to paystubs, available PTO hours, and tax documents.
Employee profiles:Employee profiles help your small business organize employees into departments, teams, and managers, and also offer insights and information on each employee.
Enhanced benefits management: You’ll be able to establish and manage both health insurance and workers compensation employee benefits and policies with Gusto.
Additional payroll features:With Gusto, you can select direct deposit or paper checks (or a variety of both), manage multiple pay rates and employee types, calculate bonuses, commissions and establish wage garnishments, track PTO hours, and establish PTO policies.
Integrates with top software: Gusto easily integrates with many top platforms for POS, accounting, and time tracking (QuickBooks, FreshBooks, Homebase, Xero, and more).
Reporting options:Create and run reports to gain access to insights for payroll, tax information, employee details, and benefits information.
Gusto vs. Patriot Payroll: Pricing
When comparing Patriot vs. Gusto payroll services, you’ll want to look at how much the functionality you need will cost. Both Patriot and Gusto offer different tiers of service at different price points.
We explore the key differences in plans and pricing for each platform below:
Patriot Payroll Pricing
Patriot Payroll offers two different payroll plans to help small businesses only pay for the features important to their company’s success. Patriot does cap their services at 100 employees, which means they aren’t an option for small businesses with more than 100 employees.
*This plan is new and being beta-tested, so customers might experience a few hiccups.
Gusto Core Plan: $39 + $6 per employee/contractor per month
Complete payroll services for multiple states
Direct deposit options (two-day turn time)
Administration of benefits (health and workers comp)
PTO policy setup
Access to customer support
Gusto Complete Plan: $39 + $12 per employee/contractor per month
All Gusto Core plan features, plus…
Employee onboarding tools and new hire offer letters
Direct deposit options (next-day turn time)
Time tracking capabilities
PTO policy setup and holiday pay management
Ability to create company directories and feedback surveys
Gusto Concierge Plan: $149 + $12 per employee/contractor per month
All Gusto Complete plan features, plus…
HR tools and support
Main HR resource center
Tax filings and payroll tax management is included in all four plans.
Patriot Payroll vs. Gusto: Customer Reviews
Next, we’ll want to turn from features and pricing to focus on comparing Gusto vs. Patriot Payroll in terms of their customer reviews.
To begin, we’ll look at their Better Business Bureau (BBB) ratings, then explore top review website data to better understand what customers have to say about their experience with these top payroll services.
Patriot Payroll Reviews
Patriot is fully accredited with the BBB and has an A+ rating. Patriot does have several customer complaints listed, but each time the company has responded to the customers to resolve all issues.
It is worth noting that Patriot also offers accounting software and this business listing includes both Patriot Payroll and Patriot Accounting as one business.
In terms of top review sites, Capterra, G2 Crowd, and Trustpilot all rate Patriot Payroll 4.8 out of 5 stars.
Overall, with a focus on ease of use, customer service, and affordability, Patriot Payroll reviews are generally positive.
Gusto Payroll Reviews
Unlike Patriot Payroll, Gusto is not accredited with the BBB. The company is poorly rated on the BBB website due to their failure to respond to complaints made through that platform.
Despite the BBB ratings, however, Gusto is highly rated by customers on online review websites. On Capterra, Gusto is rated 4.7 out of 5 stars, they’re rated 4.0 out of 5 stars on Trustpilot, and on G2 Crowd, they have 4.4 out of 5 stars.
Ultimately, Gusto is a top payroll competitor and although reviews suggest there are some issues with customer service, the platform’s integrations and intuitive interface are key reasons why this payroll service receives high praise.
Patriot vs. Gusto: Pros and Cons
So, now that you have a better understanding of the features, pricing, and reviews for both Patriot and Gusto, let’s walk through the advantages and disadvantages for each of these platforms to help you choose a payroll system for your small business.
Patriot Payroll may be a better fit for smaller businesses since their plans are generally more affordable than Gusto. In addition, they tend to be more payroll-focused and don’t offer as wide of a variety of advanced or tangential features.
Plus, if you already use Patriot Accounting, then this software will integrate seamlessly and will have an interface your company is already familiar with.
Easy setup process
Simple navigation structure for users
Accounting add-on features
Intuitive employee portals
No benefits management
Charges extra to run payroll in multiple states
For small businesses with a larger number of employees or those looking for a wider range of payroll functions, while still receiving automatic tax filing service, Gusto might be the better fit.
Not only does Gusto offer more features included in their plans, but they also integrate with more programs that small businesses are likely to use.
Can get costly with higher-level plans and greater number of employees
The Bottom Line
Deciding between Gusto vs. Patriot can be difficult, particularly since both platforms offer similar payroll management services. Both have good customer reviews, affordable options, and all the benefits your small business will need to set up, manage, and automate your payroll.
At the end of the day, if you still have questions about your Patriot vs. Gusto payroll options, we recommend registering for a free trial of each, so you can fully experience the benefits of both options before making a decision.
Running a small business comes with a lot of responsibilities, particularly when you have employees. Managing employee payroll is an important task that can often feel overwhelming. Luckily, thanks to innovative payroll services on the market, handling payroll can be streamlined and simplified.
Two of the top names in the payroll business are Gusto and Square. Comparing the key benefits and services of Gusto vs. Square Payroll can help you find the solution that best fits your business and your budget.
To help, we’ll take you through the key differences when comparing Gusto vs. Square Payroll by exploring how they work, where they shine, and where they fall short.
Gusto vs. Square Payroll: Overview
When reviewing a payroll system, it’s important to keep in mind the features and services most relevant to your company, while still staying within your budget. For instance, payroll software that can integrate with your existing systems might be a top priority for your business.
Gusto and Square both offer online, cloud-based payroll solutions, which means you’ll have access to your payroll anywhere in the world, as long as you have an internet connection. If you’re already a Square customer and use their POS system, it might make sense to opt for Square Payroll, which will easily integrate with your existing software.
However, before making any decisions, be sure to review the basics and key features of each payroll service so you can be sure you find the right payroll solution for your small business.
Gusto: The Basics
Gusto Payroll first launched in 2012, in an effort to make payroll simpler and faster for small business owners. Since Gusto is a cloud-based solution, you can easily manage and submit your payroll with one click.
Run payroll whenever you choose: Gusto allows you to run your payroll as often as you’d like, as long as all accounts are tied to direct deposit.
Advanced payroll options:When you use Gusto, you can run payroll for multiple rates, different employee roles and types, and include bonuses, commissions, and contractor pay. Time off tracking and holiday pay can also be tracked.
Automatic tax filing: Gusto makes filing your payroll taxes a breeze by automatically calculating and submitting payroll taxes, issuing W2s and 1099s, and filing new employee reports.
Employee features:Employees will gain access to Gusto’s employee portal, where they can view their paychecks, time off, and tax documents. Employers can also create employee profiles and sort employees into teams and departments.
Benefits enrollment: Gusto allows you to manage health insurance benefits and workers compensation online.
Integrates with many programs: Gusto can easily integrate with many top time tracking and accounting programs, such as QuickBooks, Xero, FreshBooks, Homebase, and more.
Robust reporting:Gusto lets you run payroll, tax, benefits, and other employee-focused reports.
Square: The Basics
Square is most well known for their point of sale system, but Square also offers robust payroll services: Square Payroll provides many of the same benefits as Gusto, but has a few key distinctions you should be aware of.
Run payroll multiple times per month: Square lets you run your payroll whenever you need to, with no additional cost. You can also opt for automatic payroll processing for a more low-touch solution.
Advanced payroll features:Square allows you to pay salaried and hourly employees, as well as contractors, allows for multiple rates, and the choice between direct deposit and a paper check. Square also manages employee PTO, holiday time, and sick time. This payroll service also automatically calculates overtime.
Optional automatic tax filing: Depending on your Square Payroll plan, you can receive automatic tax filing services.
Employee dashboards:Square offers employees dashboard access, allowing them to view and download pay stubs, update direct deposit information, and pull tax documents.
Administers employee benefits: Square allows businesses to administer employee benefits through their software, including health, workers compensation, 401(k) retirement plans, and other pre-tax benefits.
Integrates with some software: Square also integrates with some POS, time tracking, and accounting software, such as QuickBooks Online, Homebase, and Square POS.
Automatic timecard syncing: Another top feature Square offers is automatic timecard syncing, which makes calculating paychecks for anyone using Square’s POS time-tracking tool a breeze.
Gusto vs. Square Payroll: Pricing and Plans
When it comes to choosing payroll software, price can play a major role in helping your company make a smart decision. Of course, it’s also hard to compare Gusto vs. Square without a better understanding of how much each of these services cost. Next, let’s dive into pricing to find out how these two payroll services stack up against one another.
Gusto Pricing and Plans
Gusto has three different plans you can choose from, as well as a Basic program in beta and a contractor-only plan. Gusto Basic is recommended for teams of one or two and costs $19 per month plus $6 per employee per month. If you don’t have employees but need to process payroll for contractors, Gusto will cost you $6 per contractor per month.
Gusto Core Plan: $39 plus $6 per employee/contractor per month
Full payroll services
Employee portals and profiles
Health and workers compensation benefit options
PTO policy setup
Access to customer service and support
Gusto Complete Plan: $39 plus $12 per employee/contractor per month
All the features included in the Core plan
Employee onboarding tools and offers
Time tracking services
Time off tracking and management
Employee surveys and company directories
Gusto Concierge Plan: $149 plus $12 per employee/contractor per month
All the features included in the Complete plan
HR professional assistance
HR resource center
Square Pricing and Plans
Square simplifies your options, by providing everything you’ll need to handle your payroll into one convenient package. Square Payroll also offers an additional service for paying contractors, which can be used on its own or in combination with their main plan.
Square Payroll Plan: $29 plus $5 per employee/contractor per month
Finding a payroll service that fits your needs is important, but what happens if you run into issues implementing or managing your software? Access to helpful customer service can come in handy. Next, we’ll look at user reviews to further compare Gusto vs. Square Payroll to find out which service customers seem to like better.
Gusto Customer Reviews
Gusto has mixed reviews online, with some negative reviews (and no stars) on the Better Business Bureau (BBB) website. It is worth noting that Gusto has responded to the customers reporting issues, which shows strong attention to customer service.
When looking across most review platforms, you’ll find Gusto receives mostly positive remarks. PC Mag rates Gusto with 4.5 out of 5 stars, Trustpilot gives them 4.1 out of 5, and TrustRadius gives them 8.6 out of 10. Overall, Gusto receives accolades for its ease of use, time savings, and easy setup process.
Square Customer Reviews
Like Gusto, Square is also not accredited with the BBB and has many negative reviews. However, the BBB page is for Square Inc, as an entire company and not just for Square Payroll, a distinction that is important to be aware of.
Square rates fairly well when examined by top review sites. PC Mag rates Square 3 out of 5 stars, Capterra 4.6 out of 5, and TrustRadius 9 out of 10. The slightly lower PC Mag score notes that Square isn’t as customizable when compared to other payroll leaders in this space. However, Square Payroll is more affordable than many of their competitors which might make the lack of customizations forgivable to some businesses.
The Bottom Line
Gusto and Square are both solid payroll management systems that will allow small businesses to fully automate payroll and integrate this system with existing software. When comparing Gusto vs. Square Payroll, it’s important to examine the features most important to your company, while also weighing the costs and drawbacks of each service.
Gusto offers more customization for small businesses and has three different employee plans customers can choose from. Their basic plan is also slightly more expensive than Square’s main plan. Square, on the other hand, offers one comprehensive employee plan for a low price, though customizable features are limited.
Both are good options if your company only manages contractors since both plans eliminate the monthly fee and only charge you per contractor each month. While Square might make more sense for companies already using Square POS, Gusto integrates with a large number of accounting and POS programs as well.
Gusto and Square both offer many of the same features and have comparable pricing (depending on plans). If you’re still not certain which payroll service best fits your business, you can sign up for free trials of both and test them out to determine which one better suits your needs.
Finding an easy way to manage and streamline your payroll is a concern shared among top small businesses across the country. When choosing payroll software for your small business, you must take features, cost, and usability into account.
While there are many affordable payroll solutions on the market, not all small or new businesses have the budget to pay for payroll software. If you’re searching for a free option, Payroll4Free may have crossed your radar.
Payroll4Free reviews boast high customer satisfaction, an intuitive system, and a free basic payroll plan. But, is it really possible to receive all the key features you need to effectively manage your company’s payroll for free? We’ll explore all aspects of Payroll4Free in this guide, including:
Payroll4Free provides free baseline payroll services for small businesses with fewer than 25 employees. Payroll4Free does also have paid accounts that allow you to handle payroll for more than 25 employees and unlock a variety of additional business HR features.
This payroll service does offer a variety of built-in and online features, even within the free plan, that can allow small businesses to fully manage their payroll expenses for no cost. While this free option won’t offer access to features like mobile payroll management and managing multiple employee rates, it can be a good base system for new companies looking for a free way to manage payroll while growing their business.
How Much Does Payroll4Free Cost?
Payroll4Free reviews testify that this payroll service is completely free. The downside is, you may sacrifice a few features in order to utilize this free payroll service.
Payroll4Free has a basic free plan with a few optional upgrades. The free plan allows you to manage your payroll for no charge as long as you pay 25 or fewer employees. You can use Payroll4Free if you have more than 25 employees but will incur a monthly fee (though the amount is not disclosed on their website).
If you would like Payroll4Free to deposit and handle your company’s payroll taxes automatically, you’ll be charged $15 per month for this service. In addition, if you choose to use Payroll4Free’s bank to handle direct deposit payroll transfers, Payroll4Free will charge you $15 per month. If you opt into both services, you’ll be charged $30 per month.
If you opt into both of these services and have more than 25 employees, you’ll be charged $30 per month plus a monthly employee fee.
Top Features of Payroll4Free
It’s important to know exactly what a payroll service provides before choosing the right software for your company. Payroll4Free reviews mention many of this service’s top features, but we’ll run you through a list of everything you’ll get with this free solution.
While free payroll software might sound like a dream come true, it’s important to understand the pros and cons of this service, so you make the best decision for your company.
Here are some notable advantages of using Payroll4Free:
No or low cost: Even if you decide to pay $15 to have Payroll4Free handle your taxes, it’s still an extremely affordable solution.
Easy to use: While the interface looks a bit outdated for 2020, this free software is extremely easy to set up and use, making it simple for companies that do not want to spend a lot of time dealing with payroll software.
Provides all essential payroll functions:You won’t get any bells or whistles with this payroll software, but you will get a solid payroll management system that does everything you need to keep your business operating smoothly.
Integrates with popular accounting software: Many small businesses use Quickbooks or other accounting platforms and Payroll4Free allows you to import data quickly with these programs.
Here are a few disadvantages to consider before signing up for Payroll4Free:
Software only manages up to 25 employees: Although Payroll4Free can handle additional employees, you’ll pay a monthly fee for each additional employee you add, which can make this platform less than ideal for medium to large businesses.
Limited to Windows: Payroll4Free works best on PCs, but can be used on Macs—only if they’re running Windows.
Ads: You will have ads running on your payroll software from time to time. These ads are what allow the service to remain free.
No mobile application:One of the drawbacks of this free payroll service is the lack of a mobile app to help you manage your payroll while on the go.
How Payroll4Free Works
Payroll4Free reviews all agree that this software is relatively easy to set up. The software handles most of the setup process for you, though you will have to manually input your employees’ W-4 information. You’ll also need to establish each employee’s salary or hourly rate, as well as their current vacation time. You’ll also need to set up direct deposits for each employee using your own bank (unless you opt to pay $15 to use Payroll4Free’s bank).
Once set up, you can integrate or export your time-clocking software data directly into Payroll4Free to make calculating paychecks quick and easy. If you are using direct deposit, your employees’ paychecks will automatically go into their bank accounts every pay period, with the necessary taxes being withheld. It is then your responsibility to report and deposit these taxes (unless you pay $15 for Payroll4Free to handle this). Vacation hours will also be calculated as they’re taken.
If you run into any issues, Payroll4Free offers customer service support via phone or email.
If you’re feeling like Payroll4Free sounds too good to be true, you’re not alone. Many companies doubt whether a free service can offer all of the resources they need to manage their payroll. Based on Payroll4Free reviews from the Better Business Bureau (BBB), however, this service really does live up to its promises.
Payroll4Free reviews give this service four out of five stars and the company has an A+ BBB rating. The only negative review discusses the long intake process, which other users have noted but found tolerable considering all of the tools their businesses received for free.
Alternatives to Payroll4Free
With all of this information in mind, you may still be unsure if Paychex is right for you—or you may just want to compare it to some other options on the market. Here are some alternatives to consider:
Who Is It Best For?
Perfect for new or small businesses with under 25 employees that want a basic payroll option for low or no cost.
Ideal for small businesses looking to automate payroll processing with reliable software for an affordable cost.
Top option for small businesses looking for robust features and a payroll service that can scale with their company.
Great for small businesses that need in-depth reporting and HR administrative tools built into their payroll service price.
Good choice for small businesses looking for mobile app accessibility and flexible, customized payroll plans.
This popular cloud-based payroll service is recommended for small businesses looking to streamline their payroll system. With Gusto, you’ll receive all basic payroll functionality—direct deposit, PTO tracking, employee portals, tax withholdings and deposits, etc.—as well as options to purchase employee management and HR resources. Other optional add-ons include flexible spending accounts, health savings accounts, and commuter benefits. Gusto also has a handy mobile app to manage your payroll services.
Monthly plans start at $39 per month, plus an additional $12 per month per employee.
ADP (Automatic Data Processing)
This well-known payroll processing option has over 600,000 clients enrolled and offers four separate payroll plans with two specifically designed around small businesses. Each plan offers different tiers, so you can customize the exact service that best fits your business needs. You’ll receive robust payroll services, HR options, a trusted payroll partner, and the ability to scale up to a larger plan as your business grows.
On the downside, you’ll need to reach out to ADP online or via the phone to find out pricing, since all plans offer fully customized pricing.
Another option for small businesses is PrimePay. This payroll service offers the complete tools you’ll need to manage your payroll, as well as new hire reporting and onboarding options, tax filing and reporting services, HR resources, and new applicant tracking data (for additional fees).
Pricing varies depending on the option you choose, but starts at $42 per pay period. There is also a per-check fee.
As one of the largest names in payroll, Paychex Payroll offers flexible plans for small businesses. In addition to basic payroll services, they also offer time tracking, HR resources, tax filing and administrative tools, and payroll reporting. This cloud-based solution also offers a mobile app to quickly handle your payroll needs on the go.
To find out pricing, you’ll need to reach out to Paychex with the options you want and the number of employees your business has.
The Bottom Line
While Payroll4Free reviews show that this payroll system can be a great free option for managing your payroll, it’s not for everyone. This free payroll software could be a great solution for a new startup or established small business not looking to exceed 25 employees. If payroll software simply isn’t in your budget, Payroll4Free offers all the services you’ll need to ensure your employees are paid on time and make sure you stay compliant with tax laws.
If you need simple, affordable payroll management and don’t care about extra features or sleek interfaces, you have little to lose by trying Payroll4Free. If you have more than 25 employees or need more functionality, check out our list of the top payroll software providers for small businesses.
Finding business funding opportunities that you won’t need to repay for your small startup can be appealing. Creating your own small business in Florida can be done rather quickly, but the administrative costs, office space expenses, and additional business fees can add up fast. Taking advantage of small business grants, therefore, can help you grow your business even more quickly, without taking on large amounts of debt.
In this guide, we’ll walk you through some of the best small business grants in Florida and explain the requirements, benefits, and disadvantages for each option.
Top Small Business Grants for Florida Entrepreneurs, Summarized
When searching for small business grants in Florida, you’ll want to focus on two key areas. First, you’ll want to look for Florida-specific grants set aside for small businesses. These grants could be statewide, regional, or city-specific.
Next, you’ll want to research national or more widespread business grants that might not be specific to your state but are open to Florida small businesses.
In our list below, we’ve included some of the top state and national options. We also recommend looking into local small business grants in your area as well. Lastly, in case you’re not awarded a grant, you’ll want to remember you can always consider more traditional business financing options.
1. Florida High Tech Corridor Grant
If your Florida startup is a high-tech company, you might be eligible for a Florida High Tech Corridor Grant. These grants are designed for research and development projects and come with university partnerships. Opportunities are available in 23 Florida counties.
There are two grants high-tech Florida businesses can apply for. Award amounts vary but are typically between $10,000 to $150,000. Applications are welcomed year-round.
2. Enterprise Florida Grants
Enterprise Florida is the primary economic development organization for the state of Florida. They have a public-private partnership between the state government and businesses and work to diversify and enhance the state’s economy.
This organization offers many small business services and grants that Florida startups should be aware of.
New grants also pop up throughout the year, so business owners should browse new opportunities regularly.
3. Prospera Small Business Grants
Prospera has been helping Hispanic entrepreneurs start new businesses in Florida since 1991. This economic development organization is a nonprofit company that works with new and growing Hispanic businesses to ensure they have the tools and resources they need to succeed.
Prospera business grants are awarded on an individual basis, based on need, industry, and opportunity potential. Overall, Prospera grants typically cover business development services to help Hispanic startups establish their new businesses.
4. USDA Rural Business Development Grant
If you’re planning to open a business in a rural area of Florida, you may be eligible for a USDA Rural Business Development Grant. These grants are available to Florida small businesses with less than 50 employees and under $1 million in annual gross revenue.
These grants must be used to enhance business operations and promote projects that will benefit the rural community. There is no set amount for these grants; however, grant amounts cannot exceed the annual funding amount available for the USDA Rural Business Development program.
5. Amber Grant
Women entrepreneurs and small business owners in the Sunshine State should be aware of the Amber Grant. This small business grant awards $10,000 to one female entrepreneur across North America each month. Then, at the end of the year, the 12 winners all have a chance to win the additional year-end Amber Grant worth $25,000. In total, you could win up to $35,000 to help your small business flourish.
To apply, you’ll fill out the Amber Grant application and answer some basic questions about your small business. The application will ask how you plan to use the money if you win the Amber Grant award, as well as what your business (or idea) is, what it does, and what’s the story behind it. There is a $15 application fee to submit your application.
6. National Association for the Self-Employed Grant
The National Association for the Self-Employed (NASE) offers up to $4,000 in small business grants for Florida and other U.S.-based small businesses and startups. NASE has awarded almost $1 million in small business grants to help new startups grow and develop since the program began in 2006.
To be eligible for a NASE grant, you must be an active member of the organization for at least 90 days. In addition, you must demonstrate financial need, provide details on how your business will use the grant money, provide a copy of your company’s business plan and your professional resume, and describe how receiving this grant will help your business thrive.
7. Federal Minority Business Grants
Entrepreneurs in Florida who are considered minorities based on ethnicity, gender, or disability status can receive financial support in the form of a Federal Minority Business Grant. These grants not only come in the form of direct funding for minority-owned small businesses—but they can also provide business development services, such as training, technical assistance, and management courses.
Grant amounts will vary depending on the small business need, industry, and size. In total, the U.S. government sets aside $1 million per year to fund business grants for minorities across the country. The best way to find funding for minority businesses is through Grants.gov, where you can search for available grants in your area and industry.
The FedEx Small Business Grant Contest awards grants to small businesses across the country each year. Small businesses in Florida are welcome to apply.
Typically, FedEx reserves this grant money for small businesses with innovative ideas that can help communities thrive and those demonstrating the greatest financial need.
There is no set amount for the FedEx Small Business Grant Contest, and several grants are often awarded in varying amounts. For instance, in 2020, 12 businesses received over $250,000 collectively in grant assistance through this program.
9. Small Business Research Grants
Also referred to as America’s Seed Fund, the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) and Small Business Technology Transfer (SBTT) are two of the largest research grant programs designed to help U.S. small businesses in the technology sector.
These two grant programs focus on funding research projects in partnership with the U.S. government.
If you’re a Florida entrepreneur in the technology industry, you’ll certainly want to consider applying for the SBTT or SBIR program to help finance further research and development. Award amounts vary by grant and business needs.
Additional Resources for Small Business Grants in Florida
When looking for small business grants for your Florida business, it’s also important to consider local and county resources. Many Florida counties and cities offer additional funding options for small businesses, particularly for those looking to enhance the community.
Additional grant options may also be available to minorities, women, or veterans.
To find these opportunities, you can refer to local government websites, business centers, or community business organizations.
How to Find the Right Florida Small Business Grant for You
The process of applying for small business grants for your Florida company may seem overwhelming, particularly as you’re trying to get your business off the ground.
To help, we’ll walk you through three top tips to keep in mind as you hunt for the best grant opportunities.
1. Schedule time for grant applications.
When creating a new business, sticking to a schedule is crucial. It’s easy to feel stretched for time and overextended otherwise. We recommend scheduling time once a day or week to search for and apply to eligible grant opportunities.
Keep a list or spreadsheet of all available opportunities and use each session to search for new small business grants in Florida or to apply for existing ones you’ve already researched.
Be sure to research eligibility requirements extensively during this process to make sure your company fits all of the grant’s criteria.
2. Weigh grant application fees.
Another important factor in applying for small business grants in Florida is considering application fees.
When you research eligible grants, we recommend creating a column for the program’s application fee. Be sure to consider the cost of applying vs. the benefits you’ll receive before spending hours filling out applications and answering lengthy questions.
Listing application fees on your grant list can also help you quickly scan for affordable or no-cost grants that you can focus on first, particularly if your new company is not yet in the black.
3. Keep alternatives in mind.
Applying for small business grants in Florida does not guarantee you’ll receive assistance or the amount of assistance you’re hoping for. Fortunately, if you do not receive grant money to kick off your Florida startup, there are other options to explore.
Ultimately, there are many small business grants in Florida available to new or existing startups. Due diligence and research can help you find opportunities that are the right fit for your small business.
While receiving a small business grant in Florida can be challenging, it’s not impossible. Still, we recommend having a backup plan available to help your company secure startup funding through a more traditional method.
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