Perseverance paying off at PrimePay
Company marking 30 years in business with acquisition, contest for clients and more plans for growth
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
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@ dailylocal.com.
Pictured is PrimePay CEO Bill Pellicano with his original Macintosh computer.
Shown here is PrimePay’s building near West Chester.