Heckler Design

How Gusto R&D Tax Credit Services Helped Heckler Design Uncover Over $380,000 in Savings

With the help of Gusto, Heckler Design achieved over $380,000 in R&D tax credits which it redeployed to help keep its business healthy during the pandemic.

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Gusto was instrumental in enabling Heckler Design to:

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Realize over $380,000 in R&D tax credits


Submit six years of reporting in under four hours via automated processing


Save 10+ hours when switching to Gusto from top competitor

About Heckler Design

Where: Phoenix, AZ
Industry: Product Design & Manufacturing
Employees: 30+
Joined Gusto: January 2015

Heckler Design began with one desk. Since then, the hardware company has expanded its portfolio of design-forward office solutions into hardware that supports the latest and most in-demand office technology. That’s because Heckler believes hardware doesn’t have to be boring. It strives to design, manufacture and deliver products that people can get excited about. From iPad stands, iPad mounts and AV furniture for video meetings, the company offers everything businesses need to make the most of their open-style offices, conference and huddle rooms. 

A Gusto customer since 2014, Heckler discovered the Research and Development (R&D) tax credit on its Gusto dashboard. After learning R&D tax credits were available, Heckler decided to see how much in R&D tax credit savings they could uncover.

Harnessing the power of R&D tax credits through Gusto

Getting Started with Gusto

Not having an HR department, Heckler uses Gusto for many of its HR management needs, such as health benefits, 401K, onboarding and time tracking tools. Offering benefits like vision, dental, health and retirement savings have been key in keeping Heckler competitive with larger firms when it comes to the war for talent.  As Kaylee Krekowski, Director of Finance at Heckler, says, “Being able to access and provide these benefits at a competitive rate makes us look good as a company, but we love that it also makes our employees feel appreciated.”

Being an HR department of one, Krekowski often has to wear many hats. Gusto is able to help her be more effective and productive, especially when it comes to onboarding new hires. “I love how easy it is to create and reuse offer letters, it’s very helpful,” notes Krekowski. “I also love the onboarding checklist because it enables me to easily push out what’s needed from the managers to properly onboard a new teammate. They can take it from there, ensuring it will all get done correctly.”

As Heckler continues to grow, it uses Gusto as a great resource to tackle employee questions. “When we only had 10 employees, it was so easy for me to come into the office and announce that open enrollment starts today. Now that we’ve tripled in size and transitioned to working remotely, I can’t do that. With Gusto, the message about open enrollment pops up on the employee dashboard and gives me confidence that everyone is informed.”

Trust in Gusto as a Reliable Partner

The confidence and positive results Heckler experienced using Gusto for payroll, made it easy for Heckler to try its R&D Tax Credit Services. “Gusto has proven itself to be a reliable partner, so of course we trusted its recommendations,” Krekowski explained. “We’re currently in the process of integrating more of our business onto Gusto’s platform, so it was a no-brainer to obtain our R&D tax credits through the platform.” 

While Heckler did weigh other options for who processed its R&D tax credits, Krekowski noted that Gusto R&D Tax Credit Services made the most sense for Heckler’s business needs.

“A big part of our decision to choose this service over another company was that they really understood our business. Other companies weren’t as flexible and would have caused a lot of reporting for me. Gusto simplified the whole process and made sure everything was filed correctly. We really appreciated that they never hesitated to go the extra mile.”

Using R&D Tax Credits to Fuel Heckler’s Business

Companies making products for in-office workspaces were hit hard with the rapid change to remote work. Reduced demand for its office products led to a 30% cut in revenue. And while the Heckler team quickly adapted by developing food delivery hardware for McDonald’s and others, the downturn was a challenge. “That was rough on us,” says Krekowski.

Despite getting hit hard by COVID, Krekowski shared Heckler was able to keep all of its employees on payroll because of the money the company received from R&D tax credits. “We did receive loans through PPP, but the additional money we received with Gusto’s R&D Tax Credit Services really helped us to keep our entire team intact. We used the funds to purchase more inventory, keep people on payroll and didn’t have to cut anyone’s hours. We were even able to give a few folks raises in 2020.”

With the help of the R&D Credit Services CPAs, Heckler was able to achieve significant federal and state R&D tax credits from years spanning 2015 to present. “They helped us sift through 6 years of reporting to find nearly $400,000 in tax credits in under four hours. I mean, I think that was well worth the nominal investment!” 

They helped us sift through 6 years of reporting to find nearly $400,000 in tax credits in under four hours. I mean, I think that was well worth the nominal investment!
Director of Finance, Heckler

Guidance From Beginning to End

Navigating the complexities and evolving legislation of R&D tax credits can be challenging, but Heckler didn’t have to worry. They had Gusto there as a trusted guide. “Our account manager was our main point of contact, but you could really talk to anyone. I know that I can always get answers when I need them. Unfortunately, that wasn’t my experience with other companies,” says Krekowski. 

Heckler also valued Gusto’s willingness to meet customers where they are. “We run a pretty lean team, so I don’t always have a lot of time or resources. This is especially true for our founder, Dean Heckler, whose time is precious,” says Krekowski. When Heckler was sent a list of questions about design that only their founder could answer, they were thrilled when they realized that Gusto would accept voice memos as responses. “For us, that was truly a stand out moment because it represented the epitome of customer service,” explains Krekowski.

Confidence in Gusto Resources

“Overall, we’ve had such a great experience,” notes Krekowski. “Gusto has given us access to resources that we didn’t have before and because Gusto vets these resources, we feel confident using them. The funds we discovered meant we were able to keep our business going, and we’re so grateful for that.”

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