XcelHR is a highly flexible PEO service that works well with small companies—even those with only one employee. It offers a buffet of HR and payroll functions and charges a per employee rate or as a percentage of your gross payroll. The benefits choices are wide-ranging as well. Overall, it earns a 4.43 out of 5 stars in our scoring system.
What We Recommend XcelHR For
XcelHR’s flexibility and huge benefits set makes it stand out from the dozens of PEO and HR payroll services I’ve examined over the years. From payment options to its range of benefits, XcelHR exceeds expectations with its offerings.
In short, XcelHR is best for:
- Businesses with fewer than five employees: XcelHR can serve as your Administrative Services Organization (ASO) if you don’t have enough employees to qualify for a PEO. You can get the advantages of a PEO minus a few features, even if you have only one employee.
- Startups focused on building a company culture: From the kind of benefits you offer to the training and wellness programs you implement, XcelHR has options to help you establish a positive company culture.
- Manufacturing and government contracting: XcelHR works with government contractors and has tools and assistance for keeping up with OSHA regulations.
When We Don’t Recommend XcelHR
- Large companies that have multiple HR experts on staff: If you have multiple HR personnel on staff, using XcelHR may be an unnecessary expense. If at least one is an HR generalist or higher and isn’t overworked, you could have all the expertise you need to manage HR compliance and administrative tasks. You’ll still need software to use in-house, though, so consider our top HR and payroll software for suitable options.
- International businesses: XcelHR is for US businesses. If you are employing people in or from other nations, check out our international payroll services guide.
Looking for something different? Read our guide to the best PEO services for small businesses to find a service or software that’s right for you. And if you need more insight into how PEOs operate, check out our deep-dive into what a PEO is.
|Excellent help maintaining compliance||Outdated interface|
|Benefits that go beyond the standard||User reviews few, mixed on customer support|
|Can pay by employee or % of gross payroll||Not for international businesses|
XcelHR Pricing and Features
XcelHR stands out in that it’s one of the few PEO services that lets you pay either with a flat rate per employee or by the percentage of gross payroll. Depending on the number of employees you have and their average salary, you can save money by choosing the right method, so you have to call for custom pricing. XcelHR also lets you choose features, although some benefits like COBRA administration require you to have a minimum number of employees.
Once you get your plan with XcelHR, its reps will work with you on setup. The software has a somewhat older-looking interface but is easy to follow. You can add or subtract services as needed. The entire plan is very flexible.
XcelHR PEO offers hire-to-retire tools that can start with recruiting and end with COBRA management. You can only get some tools if you have a minimum number of employees.
- Hiring: Help with job descriptions, e-verify, salary research, background checks, pre-employment testing, and phone interviews
- Onboarding: Forms and benefits sign-up
- On-the-job: PTO policy administration, handbook development, on-site HR assistance, and access to HR professionals
- Training and performance management: Assistance with employee goal-setting and coaching, training and coaching templates, review and reporting tools, and supervisor training
- Offboarding: Discipline/probation policies and documentation assistance, compliance assistance, and COBRA administration
Like most PEO services, XcelHR handles payroll, from getting the needed IRS documentation, like W4s, to automating the payroll process, so you only need to check it each month for errors. It integrates with time-tracking software, can accommodate any pay schedule, pays via direct deposit, pay card, or check, and handles deductions. It can also provide job costing and PTO reports.
It files and pays taxes in all 50 states and ensures you are compliant with federal and state payroll and tax laws. It does your quarterly filings and withholdings. However, it is not an IRS-certified PEO.
If you are a company-culture-focused business, benefits are a good way to show it. XcelHR’s PEO not only offers fortune 500-level health benefits plans at prices a small business can afford, but it also has a wide range of additional benefits plans that you can select for your employees. You can even offer pet insurance. XcelHR is the plan sponsor and trustee for 401(k) plans through Slavic. Thus, it handles everything from investing to managing the plans with employees.
Benefits offered include:
- Medical—including opt-in for alternative virtual visits
- Dental—Metlife PPO solutions
- Life, accident, long-term and short-term disability
- Critical illness
- Legal assistance
- Group accident insurance
- Employee assistance
- 401(k) thru Slavic
- Doctegrity Telemedicine—24/7 phone or video access to doctors
- Auto and home insurance
- Discount tickets
- Hospital indemnity
- Pet insurance
XcelHR’s employee portal, XcelerateHR, is available online or via mobile app. Employees and contractors can access payroll information, HR-related forms, handbooks, and time-tracking functions. It also lets employees manually scan and send documents. This app has too few ratings in the Apple and Google Play stores to have star ratings.
Certifications and Compliances
Unlike many PEOs, XcelHR is not certified by the Employer Services Assurance Corporation (ESAC)—and this is considered the gold-star standard for PEOs. Nonetheless, XcelHR has been in business for over 25 years and does a lot to help you ensure compliance with regulations. Just a few functions it includes are:
- Policy development and documentation
- DOL communication assistance
- Wage and hour claims
- ADA laws
- FMLA regulations
- HIPPA regulations
- EEO compliance
- Title VII regulations
XcelHR’s professionals can also provide the following training services:
- Supervisor training for termination procedures
- Sexual harassment and discrimination training
- Supervisor training for conducting interviews
Finally, XcelHR not only provides workers’ compensation insurance but also helps you build a strong and safe workplace that’s OSHA-compliant. It even investigates and processes workers’ claims, establishes a reserve, and facilitates safety audits.
- Safety audits and inspections facilitating
- OSHA 300 log maintenance
- Safety manual template
- Safety training library
- Return-to-work program facilitating and tracking
- First report venue of injuries under workers’ comp; workers’ comp negotiation and management, and claims administration
XcelHR Ease of Use
- Dedicated representatives
- Dated interface but easy to navigate
- How-to videos online
- Online and live resources and training
The interface looks older and has some idiosyncrasies, like preferring all-caps in certain fields and scrolling down to the next pages of forms. Rather than a menu, you can find functions through the search bar, and some options are accessed by clicking on hyperlinks instead of drop-down menus. Nonetheless, it does offer how-to videos, online and live resources, and a dedicated representative.
Top XcelHR PEO Alternatives
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Best for: Small businesses wanting easy, inexpensive PEO services
Best for: Businesses needing flexible plans
Best for: Growing businesses that may need to add functions
What Users Think About XcelHR
There are very few user reviews of XcelHR on the usual third-party sites, and we found only a couple on Trustpilot. One (a 2020 review of a customer of over four years) praised the health care plans and said it paid employees on time. The other (from 2019 and made no mention of how long he was a customer) complained that he had been assigned multiple HR reps and was not getting prompt replies. XcelHR has many customer testimonials on its website from customers praising its service.
If you want to consider other payroll solutions aside from PEOs, check out our best payroll services guide.
XceHR’s flexibility in everything, from features to pricing, makes it a good choice for small businesses on a growth track. It does not list pricing, and the software is a little dated, but the range of services and benefits are ideal, and users say the support is good. Sign up with XcelHR today to discuss your HR and PEO needs.