Per­se­ver­ance pay­ing off at PrimePay

Com­pany mark­ing 30 years in busi­ness with ac­qui­si­tion, con­test for clients and more plans for growth

Daily Local News (West Chester, PA) - - FRONT PAGE - By Brian McCullough bm­c­cul­lough@21st-cen­tu­ry­ @wc­dai­ly­lo­cal on Twit­ter

The com­pany is mark­ing 30 years in busi­ness with ac­qui­si­tion, con­test for clients and more plans for growth.

WEST WHITE­LAND >> In sports, the term ‘tweener is of­ten used in a neg­a­tive con­text to de­scribe a player too small to guard big­ger op­po­nents and too slow to be suc­cess­ful against smaller ones.

But in busi­ness, being a ‘tweener “is just where we want to be,” said Bill Pel­li­cano, who be­lieves his PrimePay LLC com­pany head­quar­tered in the Glen­loch cor­po­rate park near West Ch­ester has found a sweet mid­dle ground in the pay­roll and HR ad­min­is­tra­tion in­dus­try.

Last week, PrimePay showed the power of the ‘tweener with its an­nounce­ment that it ac­quired Co­bra Di­rect of San­ford, North Carolina.

A com­plete re­source for the South­ern U.S. on the health in­surance that al­lows em­ploy­ees who leave their com­pany to con­tinue cov­er­age for a cer­tain time pe­riod, Co­bra Di­rect’s busi­ness model com­ple­ments PrimePay’s, Pel­li­cano said.

“As PrimePay con­tin­ues to grow and add ser­vices that ben­e­fit our clients, we seek out syn­er­gies to de­liver bet­ter value,” the CEO said. “Co­bra Di­rect’s com­mit­ment to cus­tomer service mir­rors our own and opens up a new con­sumer land­scape for us to nur­ture.”

PrimePay, now in its 30th year, de­scribes it­self as “de­liv­er­ing highly per­son­al­ized pay­roll pro­cess­ing ser­vices, ben­e­fits ad­min­is­tra­tion and en­sur­ing com­pli­ance for all clients.”

“It’s be­come the back end

“What re­ally cap­tured my at­ten­tion was the grit that our clients pos­sess. Fifty per­cent of them launched their busi­nesses be­cause they ‘had a dream and acted on it’.” – PrimePay CEO Bill Pel­li­cano

for small busi­nesses,” Pel­li­cano said of the way pay­roll com­pa­nies have evolved to han­dle is­sues like 401(k) ad­min­is­tra­tion, worker com­pen­sa­tion pro­grams, lo­cal tax com­pli­ance and health sav­ings ac­counts. “Our busi­ness is reg­u­la­tor com­pli­ance driven.”

Lo­cal clients in­clude Thorn­croft Eques­trian Cen­ter in East Goshen and the Arch­dio­cese of Philadel­phia.

As in the bank­ing in­dus­try, com­pa­nies in pay­roll and HR are best when they’re big enough to of­fer all the ser­vices their cus­tomers need but small enough to of­fer per­son­al­ized service, Pel­li­cano said.

“There were 5,000 dif­fer­ent pay­roll pro­ces­sors at one time, now there are 1,500,” Pel­li­cano ob­served dur­ing a re­cent in­ter­view at his of­fice

where a 1-Meg Mac­in­tosh com­puter, an orig­i­nal piece of PrimePay equip­ment, has a prom­i­nent place in the CEO’s of­fice. “To­day with all the voice­mail and email, a lot of com­pa­nies have lost that per­sonal touch while we have main­tained it. Even my­self, they can call me at any­time.”

That phi­los­o­phy was in­grained in Pel­li­cano at an early age.

“I come from a fam­ily that doesn’t be­lieve in sick days. My dad im­pressed this upon me,” said Pel­li­cano. “At the age of three, he lost an arm and leg in a farm­ing equip­ment ac­ci­dent. He never gave into what he was miss­ing and al­ways made the most of what he had. He pro­vided for our fam­ily by work­ing in the sales tax divi­sion for the state of New York. To me, he is a war­rior and em­bod­ies the mean­ing of per­se­ver­ance.”

Pel­li­cano said his fa­ther is now 86 – and still work­ing PrimePay CEO Bill Pel­li­cano, right, speaks with con­tact mar­ket­ing an­a­lyt­ics as­so­ciate Sean McCaf­frey, as a sales tax con­sul­tant at Weg­mans supermarkets.

“His drive and in­spi­ra­tion made me the way I am to­day,” the CEO said.

Pel­li­cano, 58, orig­i­nally of Rochester, New York, now lives in the Malvern area where he and his wife have raised four chil­dren. He started PrimePay in 1986 and moved twice as the com­pany grew to em­ploy 500 na­tion­ally, in­clud­ing about 225 in Ch­ester County. When he orig­i­nally bought the Dun­woody Drive build­ing, he thought his com­pany would oc­cupy two-thirds of it and he would lease the rest out

to an­other com­pany. In­stead, PrimePay is leas­ing a nearby 20,000-square-foot build­ing for its op­er­a­tions cen­ter.

The com­pany’s big­gest de­ci­sion came early when it went with its own soft­ware in­stead of li­cens­ing from oth­ers, Pel­li­cano said.

“We own our en­gine,” he said. “Con­trol­ling our des­tiny was key.”

Re­cent growth has been the re­sult of bring­ing to­gether four com­pa­nies that had of­ten worked to­gether un­der one roof. As a re­sult of that move in 2014, PrimePay has nearly 30 offices na­tion­wide with more than 20,000 clients.

“Be­fore, we all wanted to be in­de­pen­dent,” Pel­li­cano said, “but this al­lows us to work with larger clients. Now, when we do a prod­uct roll­out, it’s all con­sis­tent.”

To mark its 30th year in busi­ness, PrimePay in Oc­to­ber is giv­ing six of its clients $5,000 each, for a to­tal

of $30,000.

Called the Amer­i­can Dream Give­away, Pel­li­cano’s goal is to as­sist the Main Street clien­tele the com­pany serves.

PrimePay re­cently con­ducted a sur­vey and found its clients are pas­sion­ate about much more than just their bot­tom-line.

“What re­ally cap­tured my at­ten­tion was the grit that our clients pos­sess. Fifty per­cent of them launched their busi­nesses be­cause they ‘had a dream and acted on it,’” said Pel­li­cano. “Call­ing it the ‘Amer­i­can Dream Give­away’ was by far the log­i­cal choice.”

The six clients with the most votes on the PrimePay web­site will win the prize money. Winners will be an­nounced in Oc­to­ber.

To con­tact Busi­ness Ed­i­tor Brian McCullough, call 610-235-2655 or send an email to bm­c­cul­lough@ dai­ly­lo­


Pic­tured is PrimePay CEO Bill Pel­li­cano with his orig­i­nal Mac­in­tosh com­puter.


Shown here is PrimePay’s build­ing near West Ch­ester.


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