A DUNS number or a data universal numbering system is a nine-digit series of numerals that identifies a business. Dun & Bradstreet creates the number and in turn created a profile within its database that stores the company’s name, address, phone number and other necessary corporate information.
The DUNS number is the most popular way to identify companies in the U.S. Dun & Bradstreet maintains the most accurate information on millions of businesses not limited to just the U.S.
Dun & Bradstreet created its data universal numbering system (DUNS) in 1963 to identify businesses as part of its business credit report system. Listed companies include major corporations, small business owners, nonprofit organizations, and partnerships.
The number allows a company to search for information about other companies and helps businesses find potential customers, partners, or vendors. The federal government requires all vendors to have a DUNS number.
Applying for a DUNS number is done through the DUNS website. Businesses based in the U.S. may request a DUNS number for free. After applying for a DUNS number, a representative will help complete the submission in the span of 30 days. However, the number can be obtained within 24 hours at no cost if applying as part of a federal government contract. The authorized representative of the company will need to provide a legal company name, headquarters company name and address, physical address, mailing address, telephone number, contact name and title, and the number of employees at the physical location.
A DUNS number is specific to a physical location. Therefore, a company would need a separate DUNS for each of its physical locations such as a branch, division, or headquarters. When a company received a DUNS number, it is their responsibility to manage and properly upload the correct information.