Published By Janet Gershen-Siegel at October 4, 2017
Your DUNS number is the key to unlocking business credit for your small business. No DUNS number, no business credit. It is truly that simple.
But free DUNS numbers do not magically, mystically drop from the sky. You have to proactively go and get one. Fortunately for you, there are three easy steps you can follow and voila, your small business will have a DUNS number.
Dun & Bradstreet requires that you register your company on their site before they will hand out a DUNS number. Registration is free. Much like for so many website registrations we see on the internet these days, registration is fast. Dun and Bradstreet does not ask for extraneous information it does not need. Rather, it merely asks you for your full name, an email address, a password, and then to confirm that password. Therefore, you can get a registered account on the Dun and Bradstreet website before you even create your small business!
Like with most registrations, Dun and Bradstreet sends a confirmation email.
When you log in, you are immediately taken to your Dun and Bradstreet account dashboard. Your dashboard is divided into three parts:
If you have not purchased any products (yet), you will see the names of products in a somewhat light font and links to find out more about them. Credit Signal (their business credit monitoring system) has a listing under My Business Credit. Credit Reporter (which allows you to evaluate other businesses) has a listing under Risk Management. And finally VERIFIED (this product provides a means for you to verify your small business and thereby build credibility) has a listing under Sales & Marketing.
Also under My Business Credit, but with a dark, contrasting font is the Launch the D&B D-U-N-S Number tool. Click Launch and you are immediately taken to a business search page. If you find your business, select the appropriate record and click Submit.
The next screen is a verification screen so that Dun and Bradstreet can confirm that not only are you who you say you are, but you are also authorized to view the company data you want to look at.
I was able to locate my father’s small engineering consulting business even though he has not done any paid consulting work in a few years and I searched under the wrong city. You must fill out a section with personal information such as your full name and address, and a business information section which includes your business email and title with the company. Once you have filled these two sections out, click Next.
On the next page, you must select the last four digits of your Social Security number from a list of four. Then click Next again.
On the next page, you must fill out an authentication questionnaire, which may be different for people, depending upon their specifics. In my case, I had to choose my correct previous telephone number (none of the phone numbers were correct for me but I had to choose one, anyway), a county I had once lived in, and a professional license I hold. Once you have answered the questions, click Next again.
If everything is correct, you will get a confirmation screen. If you want to review the company account, then click the Home button.
If your search did not turn up your company then, from the company search screen, click on Click Here to Get a D-U-N-S Number. The next screen presents you with three choices. You can either go the free route and just get a DUNS number and CreditSignal, or you can pay $229 for those two items plus a complete credit file, or you can pay $999 for all of those items plus Small Business Starter.
Click on Get Started. You’ll end up at a screen which wants your personal information and company information. Fill everything out and click Next. And that’s it! You’ve successfully requested a DUNS Number and you’ll get it within 30 days.