A DUNS number (Data Universal Number System) is a unique identifier issued by Dun & Bradstreet (D&B) to business entities. The nine-digit DUNS number is universally unique, making it an effective way to identify and prove the authenticity of a given business. The DUNS system has become so well known and widespread that the United States government, the European Commission and the United Nations use it and, in some cases, require its use to award contracts.
If you run a small business, having a DUNS number can open a whole new world of opportunities. Fortunately, acquiring one is a fairly straightforward process, and here’s how you do it.
Information You Need to Provide
To get a DUNS number, you need to provide the following information:
Fill Out the Application
The next step is to go to the D&B application form. There are two applications, depending on why you need a DUNS number. If you need one to apply for government contracts, there is a special application that can fast-track the process and give you a DUNS number within a day. Otherwise, the standard application is what most companies should use.
Once you choose the correct application, you will then go through the five-step process. When filling out the application, you will first be asked to search for your company to ensure it is not already registered. You will then provide the above information.
What Happens Next
Once your organization has been given a DUNS number, it goes beyond just identifying your business.
“This DUNS number will be used to create your business credit file similar to how your social security number is used to identify your personal credit reports,” writes Marco Carbajo, founder of the Business Credit Insiders Circle.
This does not mean that your business will automatically have a credit file. If having a credit file is a priority, however, you would do well to pay for D&B to establish one. Even if you don’t, under some circumstances D&B may create a file anyway.
“The key here is that this ‘might’ happen and it ‘can’ happen, but if you absolutely want to be sure to get a credit file, it’s worthwhile to spend a few bucks to make sure it happens,” writes Ken Gaebler. “By purchasing Credit Builder, you take direct control of the credit file, rather than having it evolve on its own, potentially with inaccurate information.”
Just as having a social security number is critical to many aspects of daily life, a DUNS number can be a critical component to your organization’s identity, especially if your goal is to break into the world of government contracting. With a few minutes’ investment, you can take the first step toward a world of new possibilities.
About the Author: Curt Finch is the CEO of Journyx. Journyx strives to be relentlessly creative and to build tools that help you spend your time on things that matter. After all, time is all we have. Founded in 1996, Journyx offers customers two solutions to reach the highest levels of profitability: Journyx – project, time and expense tracking software – and Journyx PX – resource management software that provides work and financial forecasting for a complete picture of project and budget status, employee time and availability. Connect with Curt on Google+.