Why You Should Register for a Dun & Bradstreet D-U-N-S Number

Do You Have a Dun and Bradstreet Number? Here is How to Register for a D-U-N-S Number

The Dun and Bradstreet number or D-U-N-S number is simply a reference to a D&B business credit report. The nine-digit identifier for a business, is similar to a social security number assigned to an individual.

Once you register for and are assigned the number, the business credit report (also known as a profile or file) is automatically created.

Dun and Bradstreet Number

If Dun & Bradstreet already has information about your business (based on information from legal filings as well as trade references that other companies report), you should still apply for the D&B D-U-N-S Number. The existing information usually will then be matched to the newly created Dun and Bradstreet number.

In any event, when you apply for your Dun and Bradstreet number, keep in mind: “The more information you are able to include about your business the more robust your business credit file will be,” Amber Colley, business credit expert and director with D&B, told Small Business Trends in an email.

“When you file for your D-U-N-S Number, be sure to include as much information about your business as possible, otherwise your business credit report will be very sparse. Sometimes, some of your information is added to your business credit file when other companies provide trade references on your business, but that isn’t always the case,” Colley added.

D&B’s D-U-N-S (Data Universal Numbering System) Number is D&B’s proprietary means of identifying business entities based on location. A unique nine-digit identification number is issued for each of your company’s physical locations — free of charge for businesses required to register with the federal government for contracts or grants, the U.S. Small Business Administration notes.

“The D-U-N-S Number is assigned and maintained solely by D&B,” Colley said. The number assigned to each of your company’s locations “will remain with the company location to which it has been assigned even if it closes or goes out of business.”

The number references an important report that tells your business’s story, including its full formal name and “dba” (doing business as) name.

Also included are your mailing addresses, the names of principals, financial information, payment history, industry classifications — whether it’s a Standard Industrial Classification (SIC) or North American Industry Classification System (NAICS).

NAICS is used by federal agencies and has replaced the SIC to classify business establishments in terms of their relation to statistical data about the U.S. economy. Also part of the package is a company’s socio-economic status, government data (meaning public filings, such as lawsuits, liens and judgments for or against) and more.

The D-U-N-S Number, which also reveals links between member companies and corporate family trees worldwide, is widely used by both commercial and federal entities. It was adopted as the standard business identifier for federal electronic commerce in October 1994, Colley said.

In addition to helping companies obtain federal contracts, “a D-U-N-S Number assigned to a full business credit report can help give you credibility in the marketplace and may have a positive impact on your company’s cash flow,” Colley noted.

She added, “A robust business credit report can help demonstrate the size and strength of your business to potential customers, insurance companies, banks, vendors/suppliers and business partners.

“If you are looking to do business with a company or if you are trying to get access to capital, your business credit report may impact your ability to get funding or secure contracts.”

The report is able to do this because it includes various scores calculated based on information contained in your business’s credit report.

“The scores can predict the potential future strength of your company. A few of the predictive scores can predict the likelihood that your business will pay its bills on time, or potentially experience financial distress or potentially cease operations.”

“Predictive information about your company is driven from your company’s historical record on how you manage your business credit along with other data elements in the business credit report,” Colley noted.

The process of creating a D&B D-U-N-S Number for your business is free and typically takes about 30 business days.

You can get your free D-U-N-S Number by clicking here.

If you want the process of creating a D-U-N-S Number for your business expedited, you can apply for an expedited D-U-N-S Number and receive one in just five days.

If you need a D-U-N-S Number specifically to work with the Federal Government, you can get it here.

The process is simple; by clicking on the above links you can easily start creating a D&B D-U-N-S Number.

Image: Dun & Bradstreet 6 Comments ▼

Ed Lieber

Ed Lieber Ed Lieber is a staff writer for Small Business Trends. He is a journalist and marketing copywriter with 20 years of experience writing, editing and managing for print and digital vehicles.

6 Reactions

  1. Dun & Bradstreet is a hundred year old company that runs a near-criminal protection racket by maintaining a deadbeat list of debtor companies that don’t pay their bills. You do not want to be on their deadbeat list. You don’t want anything to do with D&B because they make up fake information about your company in order to extort more information out of your business. False information is routinely reported by companies through far too often fallible automated accounting systems, and left uncorrected corrected in the D&B database until you take the time to arbitrate with D&B to get it corrected. D&B is a one way company that demands information from your company, and provides nothing but headaches in return. D&B will cost you money, and what they’re offering is a poor investment of your time and money.

    D&B is also the marketing tool of disreputable scoundrels. Cooperating with D&B will bring nothing but bad experiences and bad luck to your business doorstep. When D&B telemarkets you, hang up. That’s the best advice. They have absolutely nothing to benefit small businesses, and everything to detract from yours. Don’t ever ask for the D&B report on your company. Once you do, YOU become responsible to monitor what they report about your business.

    • Anita Campbell

      Hi Don, Thanks for your comments. But I disagree. I’ve never had the kind of bad experiences you outline.

      I will grant you that some small businesses — especially very new ones and those are very small and more like freelancers — can get by without D&B involvement. But for those that want to grow, it helps to have a profile.

      And if you want to get into federal contracting and even into certain corporate supplier databases, you need that DUNS number.

      – Anita

      • “And if you want to get into federal contracting and even into certain corporate supplier databases, you need that DUNS number.”

        This is exactly why everything they do is criminal. What does the demand curve for a monopolistic firm look like? It is an illegal corporation that practices extortion through its monopoly power.

        You disagree because you’ve personally never had those experiences? Please just google “DUNS lawsuit”. Can’t believe you are recommending fellow small business owners to get a DUNS number.

  2. Dun and Bradstreet issued my husband and I a DUNS number for no reason. We are not nor do we have a business. It is totally bogus. I’ve filed a complaint with the FTC but no response yet. After repeated emails and phone calls with D&B they can/will not tell me why this number was created. I personally think it was a scam to try to sell us their credit building software. I used to think highly of D&B but this experience has totally changed my mind.

    I plan to continue trying to find out how this occurred even if I have to hire an attorney to help me.

  3. I was required to get a DUNS number in order to bid on a federal contract. Since then, D&B keeps sending me letters saying that someone has inquired about my business’s credt, but they won’t tell me who inquired or what information D&B provides unless I pay D&B. If that’s not blackmail, I don’t know what is! I’m not going to be coerced into paying for their services just to make sure they aren’t misrepresenting my business. What a racket! I now just toss any mail from D&B directly into the recycling bin.

  4. D&B is a shakedown operation. Years ago I owned a small business and was contacted by D&B. They told me someone had reported something negative about my company, but they required me to pay hundreds of dollars to get the information I needed to clear my company’s name. I refused and told the lady to whom I was speaking that her employer was highly unethical and she should seek employment elsewhere. This company should be shut down.

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