Published By Janet Gershen-Siegel at May 24th, 2018
You need to set up your business credit profile with Dun & Bradstreet. Dun & Bradstreet keeps data on hundreds of millions of businesses around the world. And you want your small business to be one of them.
Why? Because D & B is one of the three big business credit reporting agencies (the other two are Equifax and Experian), and the more complete your profile is, the more complete their report on your business will be. And a more complete report can’t help but to be more accurate. Dun & Bradstreet wants your business’s credit report to be accurate – and so do you. So a business credit profile with Dun & Bradstreet is a priority.
What’s in a Dun & Bradstreet business credit profile? It includes direct investigations and interviews with company principals (such as self-reported data) and any other companies that you do business with.
First things first! Your first stop is to get a nine-digit Dun & Bradstreet D-U-N-S number. This unique identifying number is used to establish a business credit file with D & B. Lenders and potential business partners frequently reference such a file in order to help predict the reliability and/or financial stability of your company. A D-U-N-S (Data Universal Number System) works in order to keep accurate and timely data on over 265 million businesses around the globe.
From an identification standpoint, it makes a great deal of sense. After all, yours might not be the only Joe’s Restaurant in Wisconsin. By using this identifier, errors are minimized and Dun & Bradstreet will never confuse your business with someone else’s.
Dun & Bradstreet requires that you register on their site (registration is free) before they will give you a D-U-N-S number. There are a few slightly different ways to get a D-U-N-S 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 D-U-N-S 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.
If you don’t want to wait and deal with any paperwork, D & B offers a service called DUNS File whereby you can get a D-U-N-S number and a basic business credit file in 5 days. The current cost is $299. Without this service, it can take up to 30 days to get your company’s D-U-N-S number.
Having a D & B login gives you a lot of flexibility. You can:
D & B also offers CreditBuilder Plus. It currently costs $159/month and includes DUNS File as one of its benefits. This product also allows for unlimited access to ratings and scorings, and enables you to add positive experiences to your credit file. You get alerts when others have accessed your credit file, and you even get access to LegalZoom.
If you prefer a free version, you can get CreditSignal. This product can show you how your business activities are affecting your credit score, so you’ll know when to take action. Like with CreditBuilder Plus, you’ll get an alert whenever others have accessed your credit file. This version allows you to access D & B’s mobile app CreditReporter.
You get free alerts to changes to your D & B scores, which includes PAYDEX. You also get a monthly summary with an overview of changes in your report (this report just shows changes; if you want the specifics, you’ll have to pay for one of D & B’s credit building or business credit monitoring solutions).
The last two are not strictly necessary, but they’re helpful. In particular, if your business is already on the D & B site, it quite literally pays to use that time and check on your business credit score. Learn more here and get started toward setting up your business credit profile with D&B.