The WordPress login URL is the same for every WordPress site, and it doesn’t require any special permissions to access. Anyone with any experience working with WordPress knows the login URL is located on the /wp-login.php page.
The accessibility of the WordPress login page makes it the most attacked—and potentially the most vulnerable—part of any WordPress website. Luckily for us, the iThemes Security Pro plugin makes it easy to secure your WordPress login.
Let’s take a took at the tools in iThemes Security Pro that you can use to secure your WordPress login and make it nearly impenetrable!
The way you structure elements inside your hero section can get tricky sometimes. You want to have a good balance, without having to drastically reduce the amount of content you want to share. Luckily, some streamlined approaches have proven their worth across the web. One of those approaches is adding an absolute-positioned bottom bar to your hero section. Not only does it look good, design-wise, it also helps you add multiple calls to action without unbalancing the design.
In this tutorial, we’ll show you how to add an absolute-positioned bottom bar to your hero section inside Divi. The bottom
There are a variety of inherent risks associated with running a business—which is why it’s so important to have adequate small business insurance. Of course, the specific types of insurance you need will depend on what your business does, where you operate, your industry, and more. If you have physical business assets, however, you’ll certainly want to consider investing in commercial property insurance to protect those assets from damage, theft, and loss.
In this guide, we’ll break down everything you need to know about business property insurance—including what’s covered, how much it costs, and how to find the best provider for your small business.
What Is Commercial Property Insurance?
Commercial property insurance, sometimes called business property insurance, protects physical assets and properties that belong to your business from damage, loss, and theft. Business property that’s typically covered under this type of insurance includes:
Buildings, stores, and offices
Furniture and equipment (including computers)
Important business documents
Exterior signs, fences, and landscaping
In essence, all types of business property can be covered under this insurance policy, although it’s perhaps most often purchased to cover physical buildings.
How Commercial Property Insurance Works
The intent of commercial property insurance is to pay for the repair or restoration of your damaged, lost, or stolen property—as well as help your business resume normal operations as quickly as possible.
Overall, even though you can purchase commercial property insurance on its own, it’s often available as part of abusiness owner’s policy (BOP). A BOP bundles general liability insurance and property insurance (and sometimes business interruption insurance) into a single, more affordable policy. A standard commercial insurance policy also comes with several add-ons for specific types of property coverage.
Who Needs Commercial Property Insurance?
On the whole, most business owners should at least consider commercial property insurance. In addition, if any of the following applies to your business, you’ll more than likely want to invest in this type of insurance:
You own or lease office space
You lease or rent equipment
You manufacture a product
You maintain inventory
You own physical business assets of some value
This being said, although home-based and online businesses may not need as much commercial property insurance, they too should look into this type of coverage. After all, even though home-based business owners typically have some protection from their homeowner’s insurance policy, this coverage is often limited for business property.
Similarly, online business owners might think that commercial property insurance is unnecessary because they don’t own copious amounts of physical property. However, commercial property insurance has evolved along with the business world. These policies typically cover electronic data that might be hacked into or lost. Plus, computers and other electronic equipment are covered as well.
What Does Commercial Property Insurance Cover?
As we’ve mentioned, commercial property insurance protects your business’s property against a number of risks.
Overall, most commercial property insurance policies cover the following losses:
Theft of business property (but employee theft is usually not covered)
Accidental damage to business property from external incidents, such as fire
Some natural disasters, particularly fire and storms
Disrupted computer operations and data hacks
Personal items left on business premises (most policies offer limited personal effects coverage)
Although this might seem like a short list, accidental damage covers a wide range of scenarios.
Commercial Property Insurance Examples
For example, commercial property insurance would cover you if a fire burns down a warehouse housing your supplies and inventory. You would also be covered if a storage rack collapses and damages computers and other equipment stored below. If a customer steals a product from your shelf or vandalizes your shop, that would be also be covered by commercial property insurance.
This being said, in any of these examples, you’d be able to file a claim with your insurance company and receive a payout to fund repairs or replacement of the property.
What’s Not Covered by Commercial Property Insurance?
Although business property insurance covers a wide range of losses to your commercial property, it’s important to understand that there are also quite a few things that aren’t covered in a standard policy. Fortunately, it’s usually easy to buy add-on coverage when you need expanded protection.
These are some areas which standard commercial property insurance doesn’t typically cover:
Theft of cash and currency: Separate crime insurance is available in these instances of theft.
Movable property: The standard commercial property policy covers stationary property that’s inside your business or within 100 to 1,000 feet of your business. If you regularly ship property, then you should consider adding inland marine coverage.
Environmental damage: Such as pollution liability, oil spills, etc.
Equipment breakdown: Commercial property insurance covers damages to your equipment from external causes, such as a fire. However, equipment damage due to a power surge, operator error, or other internal forces requires separate equipment breakdown insurance.
Loss of income: Commercial property insurance pays for the repair or restoration of your damaged property. Typically, however, if your property damage results in a loss of revenue for a period of time, you’ll need business interruption insurance to cover lost income.
Product defects: Manufacturing, defects, design defects, and marketing defects in business property fall under the umbrella of product liability insurance.
With all of this in mind, your business property insurance coverage will also vary based on the provider you work with. Therefore, the best way to get comprehensive coverage is to talk to your insurance broker or insurance company about the specifics of your business and what types of property you need to protect.
In many cases, you can supplement a standard commercial insurance policy with additional coverage.
How Much Does Commercial Property Insurance Cost?
Commercial property insurance costs most small business owners less than $1,000 per year, according to HowMuch.net.
Of course, the cost for your individual business will depend on a number of factors—including the structure of your insurance policy, the value of your business property, and the level of risk that your industry faces to damage, loss, and theft.
This being said, these are some of the factors that affect the cost of commercial property insurance:
Business model: As you might expect, businesses with brick-and-mortar locations usually will pay more for property insurance than online businesses. The exception, however, is online businesses with very unique or expensive data.
Industry: Some industries are inherently riskier than others and more prone to property damage. For instance, restaurants have the biggest exposure to fires.
Location: A business’s specific location, such as an address in a high-crime area, can also impact the cost of commercial property insurance.
Type of property: A business with fire sprinklers and high-quality, modern construction will get a discount on premiums.
Neighboring businesses: What other businesses do can affect your own cost. For instance, if a neighboring business works with flammable materials, that will increase the cost of your own property insurance.
Additionally, as we mentioned above, the structure of your business property insurance policy will also impact your costs. Similar to small business health insurance, the more coverage you have, the higher your premiums will be.
Deductibles also matter. The deductible is the amount of money you pay out of pocket for each covered incident before the insurance company starts paying benefits. The higher your deductible, the more affordable your premiums will be.
How Much Commercial Property Insurance Do I Need?
Another big determinant of cost is the amount of property insurance coverage you purchase. Therefore, if you’re wondering how much commercial property insurance coverage you need, you should have coverage that’s at least equal to the value of the property that you’re looking to insure.
“You always want to have enough insurance to protect yourself in case of a total loss. But some insurance policies may have an 80% or 90% coinsurance [requirement]. Coinsurance will impose a penalty on the insured if they fail to insure their contents to value.”
To explain, if an insurance policy requires 80% coinsurance, and your business property is valued at $1 million, you need to purchase at least $800,000 in coverage. If you don’t, the insurance company might not pay out your claims.
With this in mind, it’s important to note that not all insurance providers will measure property value the same way. You’ll want to read the fine print of your policy to see if it uses replacement or actual cash value. Here’s how replacement and actual cash value differ:
Replacement value: Replacement value policies cover the cost of repairing or restoring the property to its original state (or as similar to original as possible). The policy will pay for labor or materials to fix or replace damaged, lost, or stolen property.
Actual value: Actual value policies also pay to repair or restore damaged property, but deduct some of the payout to account for depreciation.
As an example, let’s say your computer is stolen, which you spent $1,000 to buy three years ago. Today, the computer is worth $700 after accounting for depreciation.
Under a replacement value insurance policy, you would receive up to $1,000 to buy the same or a very similar computer. An actual value policy would only reimburse you $700, which is the current market value of the computer.
When it comes down to it, replacement value commercial property insurance costs more, but it also provides more coverage. Ultimately, you’ll have to decide whether you want 100% coverage or whether you’re willing to make up some coverage gaps in the event of a claim by paying out of pocket.
Where to Buy Commercial Property Insurance
There are many different insurance companies that provide commercial property insurance. However, shopping for commercial property insurance is a bit more complicated than other types of insurance. For starters, commercial property insurance often comes packaged with liability insurance as part of a business owner’s policy (BOP). Different insurers might include different types of coverage in a BOP.
To make things even more complex, insurers usually offer several different optional coverages that you can add on to standard commercial property insurance. These add-ons are called endorsements and redefine what your policy covers.
As an example, you might be able to add an endorsement to cover something like a flood or earthquake, that isn’t typically covered under the existing policy.
Overall, in order to find the best commercial property insurance for your business, you’ll want to assess your business assets in advance and determine what types of property coverage are essential for you.
Note that if you’re a home-based business owner, you should start by contacting the provider of your homeowners’ insurance. You might find that you have enough business property coverage through your homeowner’s policy.
This being said, any insurer that you buy business property insurance from should be A-rated or better by A.M. Best. A.M. Best rates the financial strength of insurance companies, which impacts whether they’ll be able to pay your claims.
With this in mind, here are some top providers of commercial property insurance that you might consider:
Hiscox is one of the largest A-rated insurance companies in the world and has the resources and expertise to deliver insurance for virtually any small business. They sell commercial property insurance on its own, and BOPs which combine property and liability insurance.
You can get a quote and buy the insurance online, or work with a Hiscox insurance agent. As a large insurer with access to multiple markets, Hiscox rates are frequently some of the most competitive in the industry.
What we like most about Hiscox commercial property insurance is that it comes built-in with good basic coverage. For instance, every policy (at a minimum) includes $10,000 of stationary equipment insurance, $10,000 of movable equipment insurance, and $2,500 of personal effects insurance.
Lost income insurance for up to 12 months is also included, which helps your business keep up with expenses as you’re waiting for your essential property to be repaired or replaced. This a differentiator from other insurers that charge separately for lost income coverage.
Rather than going directly to an insurance company, some small business owners prefer to shop around for the most comprehensive coverage and the best rate from several insurers. Insurance comparison platform CoverWallet makes shopping around easy. You can choose from a BOP package or stand-alone commercial property insurance.
After providing some financial information about your business in their online questionnaire, you’ll be able to compare quotes from multiple top-rated business insurance companies. Eventually, you can purchase the policy that you like most online.
When requesting a quote on CoverWallet’s website, be prepared to provide detailed information about your business’s product or services, revenues, any buildings or real estate that you occupy, and any risk exposure that you have.
Once you buy the insurance, you can easily manage your policy from your CoverWallet account. You can view your policy, see claims history, plan for upcoming premium payments, and request insurer certificates online.
Insureon is an insurance comparison site similar to CoverWallet. According to Insureon, most of their small business customers opt for a BOP that combines liability and property insurance. This is a good way to limit costs and offers more protection than each one on its own. You can specify whether you need business interruption insurance, inland marine coverage, or other optional coverages.
Like CoverWallet, Insureon partners with some of the top A-rated insurance companies for providing business insurance. The online questionnaire on Insureon is longer and not as user-friendly as Cover Wallet’s—however, the end result is the same.
You can compare quotes from multiple insurance companies and choose a policy that’s best suited for your business. They have policies starting at $21 per month.
4. The Hartford
The Hartford is an A+ rated insurance company that provides commercial property insurance and other types of business insurance. Although you can get a quote for business insurance on their website, The Hartford primarily operates through agents, and the best way to get a policy is by working with a local small business agent.
Commercial property insurance from The Hartford provides broad, basic coverage. The agents can give you personalized guidance as to whether some of the optional endorsements can help you.
Where The Hartford really stands out, however, is in terms of claims prevention and handling. Their risk team will help you identify exposure areas and ways to avoid loss, damage, and theft.
Plus, The Hartford’s claims representatives receive specialized training about business-related losses and natural disasters that impact businesses. This is good news in the stressful aftermath of filing an insurance claim.
5. Liberty Mutual
Liberty Mutual is one final insurer that we recommend for businesses in need of commercial property insurance. It’s important to note, however, that this isn’t a good option for business owners that want a quick online experience—the only way to purchase a Liberty Mutual business insurance policy is through an independent agent or broker.
If you’re okay going through an agent, Liberty Mutual provides flexible insurance coverage for businesses of different sizes and different industries. They offer separate liability and business property insurance or a bundled BOP for small and medium-sized businesses.
You can elect to add loss of income coverage, inland marine coverage, or equipment breakdown insurance. Businesses in the food processing, real estate, and hotel industries can get industry-specific property coverage through Liberty Mutual.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, commercial property insurance is essential for almost any small business, whether you have a physical business location or run an online business. This insurance protects the assets that are core to your company.
As you search for the best insurance policy for your needs, you can follow these tips to ensure that you strike a balance between sufficient coverage and cost savings:
Try a BOP that bundles liability and property insurance in one affordable package.
Accurately estimate your business revenues and other financial information when getting quotes.
Go with an A-or-higher-rated insurer to ensure that your claims will be paid in full.
Don’t purchase unnecessary add-on coverage.
Understand your deductible, any coinsurance requirements, your monthly premium, and claims filing procedures.
Moreover, if you have any questions throughout the process, you shouldn’t hesitate to ask the insurance company or agent, as well as talk to a trusted business advisor for assistance.
The point of using payroll software is that it should help you pay your employees quickly and easily, saving you time—and hopefully money—in the long run. But is QuickBooks Online Payroll the right software for your business?
Let us help you decide. This QuickBooks Payroll review will break down the features, pricing, advantages, and disadvantages of using this payroll service. We’ll also discuss top alternatives to QuickBooks Payroll, so you can make an informed decision about what’s best for your needs.
Pros of QuickBooks Online Payroll:
Payroll tax help
Cons of QuickBooks Online Payroll:
More expensive compared to other options
Lack of integrations
QuickBooks Online Payroll is a payroll software that allows you to calculate payroll, pay your employees, and prepare and file your business taxes. Keep in mind that it’s not the same as the QuickBooks Desktop Payroll software. QuickBooks Online Payroll can work directly with a QuickBooks subscription—and QuickBooks offers bundled plans for these two services together. You can, however, also purchase QuickBooks Payroll separately and use it without the QuickBooks Online accounting software.
QuickBooks Online Payroll has three plan options: Core, Premium, and Elite. The main difference between the three plans is the extent of your features, including how much is offered beyond automatic payroll and how much support is provided directly from QuickBooks. All three plans, however, give you online access to your payroll software, plus a mobile app to allow you to optimize your payroll processes regardless of location.
If you use QuickBooks Online Payroll, your specific features will ultimately depend on which of the three plans you choose.
However, on the whole, any QuickBooks Payroll plan, including the basic Core plan, will include all of the following:
Use 24-hour direct deposit, so you can submit payroll right up until 5 p.m. the day before payday
Review and run your payroll online or through the QuickBooks mobile app
As part of this process, QuickBooks Payroll will automatically calculate your employee paychecks, as well as payroll taxes. You will receive automatic tax updates based on the latest federal and state tax rates, as well as access to all your necessary tax forms, which will be automatically calculated, filed, and paid by QuickBooks.
Additionally, you can set up your employee information online and you have the ability to run payroll an unlimited number of times as part of your plan. You can choose your payroll schedule and can change it depending on the individual employee.
With your payroll subscription, your employees also receive free access to QuickBooks Workforce, which allows them to view their current or prior pay stubs. Moreover, QuickBooks Payroll will allow you to manage all of your health and other benefits for your employees within their platform as well.
That said, the main difference between the three QuickBooks Payroll plans is the extent of your features. Although all three plans offer the capabilities we’ve just described, the two upper-level plans, Premium and Elite, will offer even more beyond the basic features of the Core plan.
With the Premium plan, you’ll have access to:
Same-day direct deposit
Customizable user permissions
An HR support center
Payroll setup review from a QuickBooks expert
Premium time tracking with the mobile app (aka mobile access to TSheets, the QuickBooks time tracking app)
The Elite plan, as the highest-level offering, will include the most functionality, as well as the most support from QuickBooks. With this plan, you’ll receive all of the features of the two previous plans as well as:
Professional payroll setup
Elite time tracking with geofencing and project planning
Tax penalty-free guarantee
U.S.-based payroll support via phone or chat
Personal HR advisor
Image source: QuickBooks
Furthermore, if you choose to use QuickBooks Payroll as part of a QuickBooks Online subscription, you receive all the capabilities of this subscription (notably third-party integration offerings) in addition to your payroll services.
If you use both QuickBooks Payroll and QuickBooks Online accounting software, you’ll be able to sync your data between the two platforms. It’s important to note, then, that QuickBooks Payroll does not offer third-party integrations outside the QuickBooks suite. This means if you use another accounting software, you will have to manually input or move your data between platforms.
Like many other payroll software offerings, QuickBooks Payroll pricing is subscription-based, including a monthly fee plus an additional per-employee monthly cost.
The Core plan costs $45 per month plus $4 per employee per month. The Premium plan costs $75 per month plus $8 per employee per month. Finally, the Elite plan costs $125 per month plus $10 per employee per month.
Additionally, if you decide to use QuickBooks Payroll as an add-on to your QuickBooks Online subscription, you can take advantage of the bundle pricing deals that QuickBooks runs. QuickBooks Online frequently offers promotional pricing, meaning you could get their services for as much as 70% off for the first three months. They also offer free trials. Furthermore, when you use any of these QuickBooks products, there’s no contract or commitment. You can switch plans or cancel at any time without being charged a cancellation fee.
QuickBooks Payroll Pros
As one of the biggest names in business operations software, there are definitely advantages to choosing QuickBooks Payroll for your business. Here are three benefits:
Integration With QuickBooks
Perhaps the greatest advantage of using QuickBooks Payroll is its relationship to the QuickBooks Online accounting software. If you already use QuickBooks Online, all you have to do to start automating your payroll process is to add one of the QuickBooks Payroll plans to your existing subscription. In doing so, you’ll be able to set up payroll and integrate it directly with all of your data that’s already in QuickBooks Online.
With this integration, you and your team members will be able to run payroll more quickly and easily, manage taxes, and monitor these tasks with your accounting needs—essentially streamlining your business operations in a major way.
In fact, many of the positive QuickBooks Payroll reviews highlight how you can use it with QuickBooks Online to optimize your processes. If you don’t currently have QuickBooks Online and want an accounting software as well as payroll services, you have a significant incentive to take advantage of the QuickBooks pricing deals.
Another huge pro of QuickBooks Online Payroll is that they help you with your payroll taxes. QuickBooks can calculate your federal and state payroll taxes automatically.
Additionally, if you were worried about any mistakes being made on those payroll taxes, there’s QuickBooks’ Tax Penalty Protection, meaning if there’s anything wrong with the filings, QuickBooks will resolve it and pay any of the resulting penalties on your behalf.
QuickBooks is one of the most popular accounting software options out there and has been serving small business owners for decades. It’s a tried-and-true software and this familiarity extends to their payroll offering. QuickBooks Payroll, by all accounts, is relatively straightforward and easy to use.
Just like QuickBooks itself, this software is made to be used by anyone, regardless of their knowledge or background. With the direct connection between QuickBooks Payroll and QuickBooks Online, this payroll software is going to be even easier to use if you have any experience with QuickBooks.
And again, since QuickBooks is such a big player in small business services, the resources available to help you through your process are endless. If you use the Elite plan, you have U.S.-based customer support included in your plan.
However, even if you only use the Core plan, you still have access to all of the internet resources on QuickBooks’ website, as well as the many professionals out there who have experience with this software suite.
QuickBooks Payroll Cons
Although there certainly are benefits to using QuickBooks Payroll, there are disadvantages worth considering as well. Here are a few:
Limited Extended Features and Integration Options
Although QuickBooks has extended their features from earlier versions of the payroll product, they’re nevertheless lacking in some extended functionality—especially if you don’t opt for a top-tier plan or use the software as part of a QuickBooks Online subscription.
Even though QuickBooks Payroll includes features like benefits administration within the Core plan, you have to opt for Premium or Elite to receive additional HR features such as the HR support center or time tracking.
Along these lines, QuickBooks Payroll also doesn’t offer some of the recruiting, onboarding, and employee-centric tools that you see within some of the competitor payroll software solutions, like Gusto or Justworks. Therefore, if you’re truly looking for a payroll and HR software in one platform, there are definitely more comprehensive (and cost-effective) options to consider.
Additionally, if you don’t use QuickBooks Payroll with a QuickBooks Online subscription, you have no third-party integration capabilities, other than products within the QuickBooks suite. Therefore, if you don’t use QuickBooks as your accounting software, you would have to manually move and monitor data between your accounting and payroll platforms.
This also limits your HR capabilities, as many other payroll software platforms give you the ability to use HR add-ons or integrate with other software to expand your functionality. Although the QuickBooks Payroll integration with QuickBooks Online is useful if you want to utilize (or already have) that accounting software, it could be problematic—and limiting—if you don’t.
Despite the deals available to you if you purchase QuickBooks Payroll as part of a QuickBooks Online subscription, the general cost of the three QuickBooks Payroll plans isn’t as impressive when compared to other payroll software (and their functionality).
Patriot Payroll, for example, offers a Full-Service Payroll plan with essentially the same capabilities as the QuickBooks Core plan. Their plan, however, is $30 per month, plus $4 per month per employee. Moreover, for comparison’s sake, Patriot also offers you add-on capabilities for their HR software and time and attendance tools at very low additional fees.
Additionally, if you want to receive the most from QuickBooks Payroll, you’ll have to opt for either the Premium or Elite plan—which will significantly increase your cost. Therefore, whether or not you’re planning to use QuickBooks Payroll with QuickBooks Online, this payroll platform is likely going to be expensive in the long run. This being said, there are certainly more economical options available to you—that will give you more functionality for the price you pay.
QuickBooks Payroll Customer Reviews
Next, we’ll look at what review websites and current customers have to say about QuickBooks Payroll.
QuickBooks Payroll is owned by Intuit, who has an A+ rating on the Better Business Bureau (BBB). Although the BBB rates the company overall, it does provide insight into how Intuit handles customer complaints and issues. In this case, Intuit appears to respond to complaints quickly.
When looking at aggregate review sites, QuickBooks Payroll receives a 4.5 out of 5 stars from Capterra, 4 out of 5 stars from G2, and 4.51 out of 5 stars from Software Advice. On TrustRadius, QuickBooks Payroll has a slightly above-average score with 6.9 out of 10 stars.
Overall, here’s what reviewers online have to say about their experience with QuickBooks Online Payroll:
Easy to use, effective, accurate
Great for automating processes
Everything connects well with QuickBooks
Could use better reporting
The migration process can be difficult
Customer service can be hard to reach
Alternatives to QuickBooks Online Payroll
As we’ve mentioned, there are numerous payroll software options on the market—and a competitor to QuickBooks Online Payroll might better suit your budget and business needs. Here are a few top alternatives to QuickBooks Online Payroll:
Gusto is a popular payroll software that offers three different plans: Core, Complete, and Concierge. Gusto also has a new option for contractor-only employers, who simply pay the $6 per employee rate and no base price. The pricing for Gusto payroll plans starts at $39 per month plus $6 per employee per month.
With the Core plan, you receive full payroll processing, tax filing, employee self-service, health benefits and insurance administration, and PTO tracking. With the upper-level plans, you have access to additional functionality that you don’t have with QuickBooks Payroll, like employee onboarding, an organizational directory, employee surveys, and extended HR resources. Gusto also offers you the ability to add tools for 401(k) plans and commuter benefits.
With all of the Gusto payroll offerings, you can also integrate with third-party platforms like Clover for point of sale, Xero for accounting, and even QuickBooks Online. Although Gusto’s plans start at a higher price point than QuickBooks Online Payroll, even the most basic plan has increased HR functionality that you don’t get with QuickBooks.
Plus, Gusto gives you a greater opportunity to integrate with other tools and third-party platforms, whereas QuickBooks Payroll is heavily reliant on their connection with QuickBooks Online. If you’re looking for a more all-inclusive payroll software option, you might want to explore the Gusto payroll plans.
Patriot Payroll is known as one of the most affordable and highly rated payroll software options available for small businesses. Patriot has two plan offerings: Basic and Full Service. These plans largely differ based on how much of your payroll and tax processes are handled by Patriot—with the Full Service plan including tax filing, payroll setup, and customer support.
This being said, compared to QuickBooks, the Patriot Payroll plans have much lower costs, as we briefly mentioned above, with the Basic costing $10 per month and the Full Service costing $30 per month, plus the $4 per-employee, per-month fee for each.
Additionally, Patriot Payroll gives you the ability to integrate with their time and attendance tool, as well as their HR software, for low monthly fees. Patriot Payroll can directly integrate with Patriot’s accounting platform, as well as with third-party accounting providers. If you’re looking for similar functionality to QuickBooks Payroll at a lower cost with more add-on options, Patriot is an alternative to consider.
The Bottom Line
At the end of the day, if you already use QuickBooks Online as your small business accounting software, QuickBooks Online Payroll is likely a sensible choice. You’ll easily be able to integrate this payroll platform with your accounting software and will quickly be on your way to automating your payroll processing and taxes with a provider you’re already familiar with.
However, if you currently use a different accounting software platform—and have no interest in starting a QuickBooks Online subscription—it might be worth looking into an alternative payroll software provider for your small business.
Since QuickBooks Payroll is greatly dependent on the QuickBooks suite of products, there might be another option that gives you more functionality at a reasonable cost. Therefore, definitely explore the ins and outs of all your payroll software options, especially available free trials, to get a better sense of which will truly meet your business needs.
Many small business owners are expected to do everything themselves. Those duties include everything from hiring employees and running payroll to filing taxes and everything in between. While some aspects of running a business don’t need to be done perfectly, others—like complying with labor laws—must be done correctly.
Between various state and federal laws, there’s a lot for a small business owner to know about labor laws. This guide will help ease this burden so that you can protect your business and your staff.
Which Departments Enforce Labor Laws?
Part of the struggle to understand labor laws is knowing who enforces them. Unfortunately, multiple agencies enforce labor laws, from employee rights to health and safety laws.
The Department of Labor (DOL)
The DOL administers and enforces over 180 federal laws. These laws are intended to support and promote the welfare of U.S. job seekers, employees, and retirees. The DOL also:
Sets industry standards and laws for working conditions.
Safeguards health care and retirement benefits for employees.
Helps employees find jobs and employers find job applicants.
Performs research and publishes data on national economic measurements for wages and employment.
Administers federal labor laws on overtime pay, minimum wage, and more.
Administers national requirements for preventing employment discrimination.
Enforces the collection and distribution of unemployment insurance and other income support for employees and employers.
The DOL also enforces the standards set by the Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA). This law outlines the majority of employment law standards regarding overtime, minimum wage, child labor, and more. If a business violates the FLSA’s guidelines, they may be subject to a wage and hour lawsuit.
Finally, the DOL and other agencies require employers to display labor law posters. Posters must be accessible to all employees. Familiarizing yourself with DOL and FLSA regulations can be invaluable in protecting your business and employees.
Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA)
OSHA was created as a branch of the DOL to promote employee health and safety. OSHA sets standards on safe working conditions, access to bathroom facilities, chemical handling procedures, and more. They provide outreach on safe conditions, training, education, and assistance for both employees and employers.
U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC)
The EEOC enforces laws that make it illegal for employers to discriminate against job applicants or employees under a protected status. Protected statuses can be race, gender, religion, disability, etc.
The EEOC applies to the majority of employers with 15 or more employees. The laws also cover a variety of work situations, including hiring, firing, promotions, harassment, training, wages, and benefits. The EEOC hosts a resource center for small businesses with requirements, frequently asked questions, and tips for business owners.
State vs. Federal Labor Laws
For small business owners, there can be further confusion around labor regulations when state and federal laws conflict. Many cities and states across the nation have their own labor laws, while some states default to the federal standards.
Typically, states and cities create their own laws when lawmakers deem federal laws insufficient for their constituents. Often, these laws can address economic instability in the area, such as offering a higher minimum wage to address a higher cost of living. The DOL provides a list of state labor laws that businesses can use to research the laws in their area. When federal laws conflict with state laws, the DOL instructs business owners to follow the law that provides the most benefit to employees.
Common Federal Labor Laws
Although labor laws are complex, all small business owners should familiarize themselves with the most common federal labor laws. Here’s a breakdown of some of those laws.
Federal Laws on Employee Classifications
The FLSA does not apply to all employees. The DOL determines who the FLSA applies to through employee classifications. Employers classify employees as either exempt or nonexempt from provisions regarding overtime pay. Misclassification of employees can result in FLSA violations, so understanding their difference is important.
Exempt employees typically make more than the overtime threshold of $35,568 per year ($684 per week). An employee’s job duties can help business owners determine which employees are exempt.
Non-exempt employees typically fall below the overtime threshold and make an hourly wage.
1099 contractors are hired for a defined period. Employees, on the other hand, are often hired to work permanently. There are other factors to consider, but in general, contractors do not qualify for FLSA coverage.
Federal Minimum Wage Laws
The federal minimum wage is $7.25 an hour and applies to all employees. Congress hasn’t raised the federal minimum wage since 2009.
Federal Overtime Laws
Most non-exempt employees qualify for overtime pay when they work more than 40 hours in a week. Overtime pay is time-and-a-half of their typical pay rate. It’s also important to know how the FLSA defines hours worked. Work travel, rest breaks, on-call time, wait times, and more can all qualify as “hours worked.”
Federal Child Labor Laws
The FLSA outlines provisions on child labor, including the hours they should work, their rate of pay, their age limits, and their work environment. These labor laws apply to children between the ages of 14 and 18 who are working in non-agricultural positions.
Children can be paid less than the federal minimum wage. The “youth minimum wage” is $4.25 per hour. They also have restrictions on hours when school is in session. You can find out more about child labor laws on the DOL’s child labor site, YouthRules.
Federal Meal and Rest Break Laws
Currently, no federal laws require employers to provide paid breaks to employees. Nor do they require business owners to provide adequate break time to nursing mothers. But the FLSA outlines guidelines on which breaks should be paid and unpaid. Typically, rest breaks of five to 20 minutes are paid and meal breaks of 30 minutes or more are unpaid. The FLSA considers rest breaks to be “hours worked,” so employers should avoid forcing employees to clock out for these breaks.
OSHA regulates rules and laws on bathroom breaks. Employers are required to provide workers with sanitary and accessible restrooms at all job sites. Employees should have access to these facilities unless they cannot abandon their position. In those circumstances, employers can require another employee to fill the position before the current employee leaves to use the restroom.
Federal Time-Off and Leave Laws
Currently, no federal laws guarantee leave benefits to employees. However, the federal Family and Medical Leave Act provides unpaid leave to some employees. This law allows some employees to take up to 12 weeks of unpaid job-protected leave to care for themselves or an injured or ill family member. This also includes unpaid parental leave for new parents. The law applies to businesses with 50 or more employees. And it applies to employees who have worked at least 1,250 hours in 12 months.
5 Ways to Prepare Your Business for Labor Law Changes
All of this information on labor laws is one thing, but laws can become outdated fast. How can employers keep up with ever-changing laws and court interpretations? Luckily, you have a few options available to you.
1. Take the DIY Approach
A lot of small businesses work with limited budgets. If your business can’t afford to bring an HR professional on board, you can take the do-it-yourself approach.
Luckily, the internet has a lot of information on labor laws. If you have questions about labor laws, a quick Google search can help you find the answer. You can also create Google alerts that notify you when news of labor laws breaks.
There are a lot of free, reliable, online labor law resources, like Nolo, that regularly update when changes happen. If you’re unable to hire or outsource HR personnel, you can also find HR resources online. Check out HR news from the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) and FLSA tips and guidelines from the DOL.
2. Work With Your SBDC to Learn More About Labor Laws
The Small Business Administration (SBA) partially funds Small Business Development Centers (SBDCs) across the U.S. SBDCs are staffed by volunteers and experts within your community, making them perfect places to find local labor law experts. They also can host group training courses if there’s a need in your community. There are nearly 1,000 SBDC chapters across the nation, and you can find your local chapter online.
3. Work With a Labor Law Attorney or Expert
If you can afford it, labor law attorneys are a great small business investment. They understand the laws that will apply to your business and how your business can remain compliant.
Hiring anattorney can seem like an expensive move, but FLSA and wage and hour lawsuits can be even more costly. Asking for legal advice to prevent a future violation can save your business a lot of money.
4. Work With an Accountant or Bookkeeper
When it comes to financial matters related to laws, accountants and bookkeepers can help tremendously. Typically, bookkeeping services help maintain a business’s books or records. Accountants can do this and offer advisory services. There are some significant differences between bookkeepers and accountants, including their education and credentials. But both should have a strong foundation in understanding labor laws in your areas as they pertain to your business’s financial matters.
Accountants and bookkeepers can ensure you’re running payroll correctly and paying the minimum wage and overtime pay to workers who qualify. Find a professional familiar with the accounting software you already use. That way, the onboarding process will be painless.
5. Hire or Outsource Your HR
Lastly, small businesses with more flexibility in their budgets can look to hire or outsource their HR department. Human resources personnel are often just as knowledgeable on employment law as labor law attorneys. They’ll be able to help you research laws and take care of your employees by developing appropriate break, time off, and overtime policies. Additionally, when coupled with HR software, they can take other tasks, like finding job applicants, off your hands. That way, you can get back to running your business.
The Bottom Line
Small business owners are expected to do it all, but that doesn’t mean they have to. There are plenty of resources available to help you better understand labor laws so that you can protect yourself, your employees, and your business.
PHP development: some consider it a popular language with a promising future, others an outdated technology that’s not worth the time to learn. But what do the numbers say, especially when you take a look at PHP developer salary?