Published By Janet Gershen-Siegel at October 4th, 2017
What is a DUNS number? Your free DUNS number is the key to unlocking business credit for your small business. You may be asking: do I need a Dun and Bradstreet number? You do!
No Dun and Bradstreet number, no business credit. It is truly that simple. But first, you need to get your free DUNS number.
But free DUNS numbers aren’t just handed to you. You have to proactively go and get one. The first method is actually just one step. You can get our Business Finance Suite!
You can use our Business Finance Suite (Step 2).
But aside from the Business Finance Suite, there are a few other things you can so to get a free DUNS number.
Fortunately for you, there are three easy steps you can follow and voila, your small business will have a DUNS number.
How does Dun and Bradstreet get their information? Here is how to get a DUNS number. Dun and 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 Dun and Bradstreet account on the Dun and Bradstreet website before you even create your small business! It is a good first step and you may as well do it early. Get into small business DnB ASAP.
When you register to get DUNS number free online, Dun and Bradstreet sends a confirmation email. And, by the way, you’re now on the Dun and Bradstreet mailing list. Which is kind of convenient. It goes both ways. Now, if you need to, you can send Dun Bradstreet complaints.
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.
Let’s look at the latter two sections first.
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.
Credit Signal (their business credit monitoring system) has a listing under My Business Credit.
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 you who you say you are. It is also to confirm that you are also authorized to view the company data you want to look at.
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. Note: none of the phone numbers were correct for me but I had to choose one, anyway. I also had to choose a county I had once lived in. Also, I had to choose a professional license I hold.
Your authentication questions will undoubtedly be different.
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.
Using the Dun and Bradstreet number lookup, I was able to locate my father’s small engineering consulting business. And this is even though he has not done any paid consulting work in a few years and I searched under the wrong city. The DUNS number lookup worked just fine. Try the DUNS company lookup before you buy anything! Just in case, you should know how to find a Dun and Bradstreet number.
If you look up DUNS number and your search did not turn up your company then don’t worry. Instead, from the company search screen, click on Click Here to Get a D-U-N-S Number for free.
The next screen presents you with three choices. One method is to go the free Dun & Bradstreet route and just get a DUNS number and CreditSignal. Or you can pay $229 for those two items plus a complete credit file. Another option is you can pay $999 for all of those items plus Small Business Starter. Personally, I recommend waiting a little and getting the free Dun Bradstreet number.
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 free Dun and Bradstreet Number and you’ll get it within 30 days.
Of course the reason you need to get a DUN number is to get your free DUN Bradstreet reports! So here’s a brief look at them.
A Dun & Bradstreet Report (also known as a D&B Report) is a database-generated report. The business services giant produces such free Dun and Bradstreet reports in order to help its clients in making decisions regarding new credit applications.
The primary reason for a client making use of such a free Dun and Bradstreet report is to engage in credit risk monitoring of merchants, suppliers, and business partners. This helps companies make informed business credit determinations and steer clear of bad debt.
Dun & Bradstreet takes several factors into account in producing such a report. These include a predictor of payment delinquency; how financially stressed a company is compared to comparable businesses; an assessment of supplier risk; credit limit recommendation; D&B rating; and PAYDEX score. Get a Dun and Bradstreet report free and let’s look at all these factors in turn.
Dun & Bradstreet uses predictive models to ascertain how likely a company is to be overdue with its payments. Predictive scoring is a means of using historical data to try to predict future outcomes. It involves identifying the risks inherent in a future decision. It does this by examining the relationship between historical information and the future event.
This represents an objective and statistically derived counterpart to subjective and intuitive analyses. Such scoring allows a business to rank and order accounts based upon the probability of an event occurring, such as delinquent payments. However, note that Predictive Scoring only exemplifies a statistical probability, and not a guarantee.
The Financial Stress Percentile compares the company in question to other businesses in the same region, industry, number of employees, or number of years in the business. Financial Stress Score Norms indicate an average score and percentile for all organizations with similar demographic attributes. These Norms can be utilized in order to benchmark where this particular business stands in relation to the norm for its peer group.
Dun & Bradstreet produces Financial Stress Scores to forecast the chance of business failure over the next twelve months.
D&B defines business failure in several ways. One is as a firm which gets legal relief from its creditors. Another is a company which discontinues its business operations without paying all of its creditors in full. Yet another is a company which voluntarily withdraws from its business operations thus leaving unpaid obligations
Another way is a business which enters into receivership or reorganization. Or it can be a company which makes some kind of arrangement for the benefit of its creditors. And all of this is based on the information found inside D&B’s commercial database.
The score ranges from 1,001 to 1,875. A score of 1,001 represents the highest probability while a figure of 1,875 exemplifies the lowest probability of business failure.
If your business has a lot of lawsuits and liens against it, those will negatively impact your financial stress score.
This is a division of the scored universe into five distinct groups, ranging from 1 to 5. A 1 represents businesses which have the lowest probability of failure, while a 5 represents firms which have the highest probability of failure.
This Class makes it so a customer can quickly segment their new and existing accounts into various risk segments. This is to determine appropriate marketing or credit policies. For any businesses showed as being Discontinued at This Location; Higher Risk; or Open Bankruptcy, those records automatically get a 0 score.
A Financial Stress Score Percentile is shown as a 1-100 ranking where a 1 percentile has the highest probability of failure and a 100 percentile has the lowest probability of failure.
A financially stressed company is defined as a firm which has certain characteristics. It may have discontinued operations following assignment of bankruptcy. Another possibility is it has voluntarily withdrawn from business operation leaving unsettled obligations.
Yet another possibility is it has discontinued operations with loss to creditors. Or it could be in receivership or reorganization. Or it may have made some sort of an arrangement for the benefit of its creditors.
The Supplier Evaluation Risk Rating (also called a SER Rating) forecasts how probable it is that a company will get legal relief from its creditors or terminate its operations without paying creditors in full over next twelve months. The SER rating comes from D&B’s Financial Stress Score. The Financial Stress Score percentile serves as the basis for the SER Rating.
Once the Financial Stress Score percentile is determined for a company, a second set of rules are applied to figure the SER Rating. The SER Rating provides a probability of global supplier failure. Local nations’ failure ratings are indicated via a Class of 1 – 9. A 1 represents businesses with the lowest probability of supplier failure. A 9 represents companies with the highest probability of supplier failure.
A D&B Credit Limit Recommendation includes two recommended dollar guidelines:
These dollar guideline amounts come from on a historical analysis of the credit demand of customers in the U.S. payments database. So these are customers with a similar profile to the company under evaluation. So, this is with respect to employee size and industry. The guidelines do not address if a specific business can pay that amount or if a particular customer’s total credit limit was achieved.
Each set of limits comes with an assessment of the risk category a business falls into, or D&B’s assessment of how likely they are to continue to pay their obligations within the agreed-upon terms and how likely they are to undergo financial stress in the next twelve months.
A D&B Rating is designed to help firms rapidly gauge a business’s size and composite credit appraisal. The rating is based upon information in a company’s interim or fiscal balance sheet, and also an overall evaluation of the firm’s creditworthiness. This, too, comes from a DUNS and Bradstreet number.
5A to HH Rating Classifications show company size based on worth or equity as computed by Dun & Bradstreet. The figure matters because a firm’s size can be a reliable indicator of credit capacity. Dun & Bradstreet assigns such ratings to firms which have supplied a current financial statement.
This is a number, 1 through 4, and it comprises the second half of a firm’s rating under the DNB rating system. It reflects Dun & Bradstreet’s overall assessment of that company’s creditworthiness. Dun & Bradstreet’s analysis of company payments, financial information, public records, business age and other important factors, when available, are analyzed in order to generate a Composite Credit Appraisal.
When a company does not supply current financial information, they cannot get a Composite Credit Appraisal rating of better than a 2. Furthermore, the 1R and 2R Rating categories indicate company size based on the total number of employees for the company.
These rating categories go to company files which do not contain a current financial statement. Employee Range (ER) Ratings apply to certain lines of business not lending themselves to classification under the D&B Rating system. These kinds of companies are getting an Employee Range symbol based upon the number of employees and nothing more.
As a whole, when Dun & Bradstreet does not have all of the information they need, they will indicate as much in their reports. However, the absence of some pieces of information does not necessarily mean a certain firm is a poor credit risk.
A PAYDEX Score is Dun & Bradstreet’s proprietary dollar-weighted numerical indicator of how a business has paid its bills over the past year. The score is based upon trade experiences reported to Dun & Bradstreet by various vendors. In addition, the D&B PAYDEX Score ranges from 1 to 100; so higher scores signify a better payment performance.
Finally, any report is only as good as the data it comes from. Dun & Bradstreet’s database contains over 250 million firms spanning the globe, which includes around 120 million active firms and about 130 million firms which are out of business but kept for historical reasons.
D&B continuously gathers data and works to improve its analyses to ensure the greatest degree of accuracy possible. It all comes from the D&B number. So yes, your Dun & Bradstreet number is that important.
Yes, it’s easy. This vital step will get you that much closer to building fantastic business credit. Now you know what is duns number. Get EIN credit – this is how to start.