A data universal numbering system, or DUNS, number is a unique nine-digit identifier that’s become the industry standard for business listings worldwide. The number, which is provided and maintained by Dun & Bradstreet, is required for any business submitting federal grant and cooperative agreement applications, as well as businesses applying for the Small Business Administration’s America’s Recovery Capital loans.
Getting a DUNS number is easy and free. Here are some tips to help streamline the process of obtaining and maintaining your DUNS number:
- First make sure you don’t already have one. Call D&B toll-free at (866) 705-5711. A representative will tell you if you need to apply for a new number.
- Before you call D&B or visit the “D&B DUNS Numbers” page to apply for a DUNS number online, make sure you have all of the information that you’ll need on hand.
- Remember that DUNS numbers are site-specific. This means that a number is required for each distinct physical location of an entity (branches, divisions, headquarters, etc.).
- It’s recommended that organizations try to keep their DUNS numbers to a minimum, especially large organizations with many locations. You can request a family-tree report from D&B that tells you all of the DUNS numbers that are associated with your organization by calling (866) 705-5711. Review the report carefully to make sure all the information is current and accurate.
- If yours is a multicampus organization, you can use a parent DUNS number to aggregate information for your entire organization. The main campus will be assigned a parent DUNS number and each satellite campus can reference this number when obtaining its own number.
- D&B also recommends that organizations with multiple DUNS numbers identify a single person who will control DUNS number requests and make sure that all appropriate locations have DUNS numbers. This should generally be someone who is knowledgeable about the structure of your organization as a whole and who has decision-making authority. It’s common to pick a finance or accounting person or someone else who works across all lines and departments of the organization.
- When you get a DUNS number, you’ll automatically be placed on D&B’s master marketing list, which is sold to other companies. If you don’t want to be placed on this list, you can call D&B and ask to be removed from the marketing file. Or simply ask the representative you speak with when obtaining your DUNS number (if you obtain a number over the phone).
- If your business is located outside the continental United States, Puerto Rico, or the U.S. Virgin Islands, you can’t get a DUNS number over the phone. Instead you must obtain one online.