Small business 401(k). Big impact.

Running a small business can feel like a lot. Our tools, and support can make offering a retirement benefit a lot easier.

A retirement plan for any sized business

401(k) plans are employer-sponsored retirement plans that can benefit everyone: employees, employers, and the business itself.

  • Contribute up to $23,000

    Both employees and employers can participate in a 401(k) and can generally contribute up to $23,000 in 2024 ($30,500 if 50+).

  • Help lower your tax liability

    Employer contributions are tax-deductible so you can reduce your tax liability. You may also be able to deduct plan administration expenses.

  • Retain and recruit talent

    A retirement plan is a popular workplace benefit. They can reduce turnover, increase engagement and show your commitment to everyone’s financial wellness.

Why Guideline

Save time while helping employees save

  • Easy setup and management

    You can set up a Guideline 401(k) in 20 minutes. From there, it’s pretty hands off. We’ll take care of recordkeeping, investments, government filings, and more.

  • payroll integration

    Seamless payroll integration

    Clients using select payroll providers can get a largely automated 401(k). We can securely sync employee data, track 401(k) eligibility, and process deductions. Learn more

  • Lower fees for employees

    Our professionally managed investment portfolios are diversified with low-cost funds. Their estimated total cost can be under 0.22%.


Get an impactful benefit at an affordable price

Our 401(k) plans include the features and services needed to offer a great benefit right out of the box.

Starter pricing


/ month



/ month per active participant

Starter plans must be connected with one of our full integration payroll partners.

What’s included

  • Government filing

    We prepare standard annual reports for no extra fee, including Form 5500 and 1099-R.

  • Investment management

    We manage the investment portfolio, select and monitor funds, and rebalance portfolios automatically. Learn more

  • Payroll integration

    We integrate with popular payroll providers so businesses can connect their plan and simplify plan administration. Learn more

  • Custodial services

    Through our third party custodian, we’ll process transactions, execute trades, safeguard plan assets and more.

  • Recordkeeping

    We serve as the recordkeeper to track your 401(k) plan’s balances, transactions, and deferrals. We’ll provide and maintain required plan documents, summary plan descriptions and most regulatory notices.

  • Compliance testing

    We perform nondiscrimination testing and manage required corrections as well as provide projected testing results throughout the year to help identify potential issues.

  • Safe Harbor plan design

    Safe Harbor 401(k) plans automatically satisfy most IRS nondiscrimination testing when certain requirements are met.They require an employer contribution that immediately vests. Learn more

  • Fiduciary responsibilities

    For eligible plans, we serve as the ERISA 3(16) and 3(38) plan fiduciaries—which cover plan administration and investment management. This means we are legally (and morally) obligated to work in participants’ best interest.

Want more guidance?

  • 401(k) employer checklist

    401(k) provider checklist

  • 401(k) glossary

    401(k) tax credits

  • Building a benefits package

    Pricing plan comparison

Invest in your team

With an intuitive dashboard and mobile app, it’s easy for your team to set up their account, track their progress and access resources— anytime, anywhere.

  • Easy account setup, via web or mobile app

  • Recommended investment portfolio

  • Retirement education and live support

Get set up in 20 minutes

We can walk you through the next steps.

  • 1

    Select a plan type

    The first decision is whether you want a Starter, Traditional, or Safe Harbor 401(k).

  • 2

    Add plan features

    Customize your plan with features like employer matching, eligibility requirements, and more.

  • 3

    Set a start date

    You can get a plan up and running in about 40 days.

Frequently asked questions

How many employees do you need to set up a 401(k)?

There is no minimum number of employees required when setting up a 401(k) with Guideline. You can set up a 401(k) with just an owner or for a single employee.

Can I set up a 401(k) for my LLC?

Yes, Guideline works with many different types of businesses and entity structures such as LLCs

What are the benefits of a 401(k) plan compared to other retirement options?

401(k) plans are popular because they offer a lot of flexibility in plan design options, integrate with payroll systems, and work as a great hiring tool.

When can our plan start?

While setting up a Guideline 401(k) only takes about 20 minutes, it generally takes about 40 days until first contributions are made. This is due to the automatic enrollment feature on all Guideline 401(k) plans. Generally, eligible employees cannot be automatically enrolled in your plan until 30 days after they receive notice of the auto-enroll feature. This gives them sufficient time to opt-out before the plan begins.

What is auto enrollment?

Auto enrollment is a required feature for all Guideline 401(k) plans. Auto enrollment can help improve IRS nondiscrimination testing results, increase employees’ retirement readiness, and much more. Learn more about auto enrollment

What fees are employers charged?

Employers will be charged a base fee of $39, $89, or $149/month depending on their pricing plan, plus $4-$8/month for each active participant in the plan. We don’t charge transaction fees—this includes no plan termination fees or Form 5500 prep fees. See our pricing. Exclusive pricing options are available for Enterprise pricing plans.Contact Sales for details.

Which employees are eligible to participate in the plan?

With Guideline, you can determine your plan eligibility based on your employees’ age and length of service with your company:

→ Age: 18, 19, 20, or 21 years

→ Length of service: 0, 3, 6, 12 months

We do not distinguish between part time and full time employees.