Published By Janet Gershen-Siegel at February 25, 2018
Does your business have a DUNS number? If it doesn’t, you are missing out. A DUNS number is exceptionally helpful. But what is a DUNS number, anyway?
A DUNS number is Dun & Bradstreet’s unique identifier for your company. If your company is Joe’s Pizzeria, there may be one in Oshkosh and another in Hicksville and creditors won’t be able to tell them apart.
Enter the DUNS number. With this unique ID, creditors can punch your information into a search for company information. If a creditor doesn’t know your DUNS number, they can find it on the D&B website. D&B keeps a large database – large, as in hundreds of millions of companies. Databases need unique identifiers (called a ‘primary key’ in the lingo). The DUNS number is the primary key which D&B uses to find your company amidst millions of other companies.
So without further ado, here are 3 things you can do with a DUNS number.
As noted above, company information in the D&B database is looked up via DUNS numbers. A DUNS number means a company can change hands yet creditors will still be able to find information on it. A company can move, or become incorporated, or dissolve a corporation. None of that matters; the DUNS number is all you need.
Dun & Bradstreet requires that you register on their site (registration is free) before they will give you a DUNS number. There are a few slightly different ways to get a DUNS if your business belongs to a special class, such as it is a US government contractor or grantee, or you are an Apple developer, or your company is Canadian.
Registration is simple and, once you have agreed to the Terms and Conditions, you are immediately taken to a dashboard where you either request a DUNS number or you look up to see if your business is already listed and then click on your business name in order to make any needed changes.
Having a D & B login gives you a lot of flexibility. You can:
Could you use the D&B site without a DUNS number? It’s not impossible. But having a DUNS number means you can use the D&B site to your fullest advantage.
You can’t have business credit without a credit score. Let’s look at PAYDEX first.
A PAYDEX Score serves as Dun & Bradstreet’s dollar-weighted numerical rating of how your company has paid its bills over the past year. D & B bases their scoring on trade experiences as reported by various vendors (your company’s landlord, suppliers, etc. as they apply to your particular circumstances). The Dun & Bradstreet PAYDEX Score is in a range from 1 to 100. As you might expect, higher scores mean a better payment performance. That is, your company pays its bills on time or early, it pays them as close to fully as possible, and you don’t borrow too much – all of these can keep your PAYDEX score in a better range.
Your PAYDEX score does not start to be figured until your company has a DUNS number, so that comes first. There are other means of improving your PAYDEX score, including establishing company credit which is separate from your personal credit.
Your PAYDEX score comes from your DUNS number and your payment history, so it’s imperative to get your DUNS number first.
As for Experian and Equifax, they will start to build a file for your company once you’re in the D&B system – and you can’t be in the D&B system without a DUNS number.
So, what are you waiting for? Your business needs a DUNS number!