DUNS Number – What it Is and How to Get One for Your Business

In today’s interconnected global marketplace, a unique identifier for your business isn’t just a luxury—it’s a necessity. The DUNS Number serves as this critical identifier, offering a range of benefits that enhance business credibility. The Data Universal Numbering System (DUNS) is an essential tool for various purposes, such as establishing business credibility, verifying your Google ads account, and even becoming listed on Apple Maps. Whether you’re an emerging startup or a well-established enterprise, obtaining a DUNS Number should be on your business checklist.

What Exactly is a DUNS Number?

DUNS number by Dun & Bradstreet Spotted Fox Digital

A DUNS Number, or Data Universal Numbering System Number, is a nine-digit unique identifier assigned to businesses worldwide by Dun & Bradstreet. This numeric code offers a standardized method of identifying companies, making it easier for potential partners, clients, and vendors to verify your business. The DUNS Number isn’t just a random set of digits; it’s an invaluable asset that serves multiple purposes.

Primarily, this identifier aids in building your business credibility. The easiest way to think about it is as a social security number. Just like how every person in a country has a unique number identifying them as a citizen, a DUNS number provides a unique code for businesses for the entire world. Financial institutions and other entities rely on it to assess your business’s credibility and financial stability. Moreover, a DUNS Number is increasingly becoming a requirement for digital platforms. In a nutshell, the DUNS Number is an essential tool that validates your business, increasing its credibility and opening doors to various opportunities.

The Procedure to Get Your DUNS Number

Applying for a DUNS Number is a straightforward process, and the good news is that it can be done for free through the official Dun & Bradstreet website. Here’s a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the application process:

Step 1: Determine Your Business Category

Before applying, choose the category that best describes your business. Options include U.S.-based companies, Canada-based businesses, Apple or Google developers, and U.S. Government Contractors or Grantees. Make sure you’re not already registered by using the D-U-N-S Number lookup tool on the Dun & Bradstreet website.

Step 2: Provide Essential Information

You’ll be asked to furnish key details about your business during the application. This will typically include:

  • Legal business name
  • Official business address
    • You will need a separate DUNS number for each location
  • Contact phone number
  • Name of the owner, CEO, or president
  • Business’s legal structure
  • Year of formation
  • Primary industry
  • Total number of employees

Step 3: Processing, Verification, and Finalization

At this point, you can opt to proceed with the standard processing time or to speed up the process by paying for expedited service. Once you’ve submitted your application, you may be contacted by a Dun & Bradstreet representative for verification. After confirming your details, the DUNS Number will be emailed to you, completing the process.

How Long Does It Take to Get a DUNS Number?

The standard processing time for a free DUNS Number is up to 30 business days. This duration allows Dun & Bradstreet to verify the information you’ve provided, ensuring the accuracy and reliability of their database, which in turn adds to your business credibility.

However, if you are in a situation where you require your DUNS Number sooner—perhaps due to an impending contract or a grant application—you have the option to expedite the process. For an additional fee, expedited service can have your DUNS Number issued within just eight business days.

Whether you choose the standard or expedited service, it’s essential to note that your DUNS Number will be emailed to you upon completion of the process. Knowing this timeline can help you plan ahead and integrate the DUNS Number into your business operations smoothly.

How Much Does It Cost to Get a DUNS Number?

While it may be surprising, obtaining a DUNS Number doesn’t have to cost you a penny; the standard service is absolutely free of charge. Dun & Bradstreet offers this service to encourage businesses to participate in their comprehensive database, thereby enhancing overall business credibility in the marketplace.

That said, if you’re facing time constraints and need your DUNS Number more quickly, you can opt for the expedited service. This faster option does come with an associated fee. Still, it can be a worthwhile investment if you immediately need the number—such as qualifying for a specific contract, grant, or business opportunity.

The cost to expedite is $299.00 as of 2023. However, fees are subject to change, so it’s advisable to consult the Dun & Bradstreet website for the most current pricing information. Regardless of whether you choose the free or expedited service, remember that investing time or money into obtaining your DUNS Number is an investment in your business’s future and credibility.

Why Do I Need a DUNS Number? 

You may be wondering if going through the process of getting a DUNS number is worthwhile. Whether you are a huge corporation or a small business, having a DUNS Number is not confined to certain types or sizes of businesses; any company can apply. Obtaining one is a foundational step in establishing and enhancing your business credibility, which is openly accessible to potential lenders and partners. Moreover, a DUNS Number is often a prerequisite if you plan to engage in government contracts or secure state funding. Let’s dive into five specific reasons why having a DUNS number could benefit your business. 

#1: It Will Verify Suspended Google Ad Accounts

Getting your Google Ad account suspended is a surprisingly easy feat – often with many businesses doing so without understanding how they violated Google’s stringent policy. Fortunately, starting in October 2023, Google will mandate certain advertisers with suspended accounts to complete an advertiser verification process for account reactivation. A DUNS Number will be required if the advertiser is an organization. This new policy provides another compelling reason to have a DUNS Number, as it could be essential for returning or maintaining your advertising strategies. 

#2: Opening an Apple Maps Listing

Apple uses the DUNS Number as part of its verification process for joining the Apple Developer Program. To be able to open an account, your business must first be a recognized legal entity to meet the requirements of Apple’s legal agreements. Then, your company (or education institute) must also provide a DUNS number. Thus, having a DUNS Number is not just advisable but often essential for businesses looking to be listed on platforms like Apple Maps.

#3: Boosting Business Credibility: 

A DUNS Number allows you to separate your personal and business credit profiles. This distinction enhances your business credibility, making you more attractive to potential business partners and lenders. The number can also help you secure better terms from vendors and suppliers, saving you money to reinvest in your business. 

#4: Unlocking Business Opportunities: 

If you aim to bid for contracts or grants, especially in governmental and corporate sectors, having a DUNS Number is often required. This unique identifier assists potential partners in conducting risk assessments, ensuring they are dealing with a stable and legitimate business. Keep in mind that some opportunities may require you to have an established DUN number for a specific time period prior to applying, so it is better to get one sooner rather than later. 

#5: Improving Financial Relationships: 

In the eyes of financial institutions, a DUNS Number acts as a mark of reliability, transparency, and business credibility. It provides critical financial information lenders often require during the procurement process, thus facilitating more straightforward and more favorable financial relationships.

How to Maintain and Update Your DUNS Number Details

It’s crucial to keep your DUNS data up-to-date. Any major company shifts, like changes in location, ownership, or the opening of new branches, should be reflected in your DUNS profile. To ensure the accuracy of your file and maintain your business credibility, it’s advisable to review your DUNS details at least once a year.

Types of Information You Can Modify:

As a confirmed representative of your company, the DUNS Manager allows you to make a wide range of updates. These include basic company details like the legal name, address, or employee count. You can also upload financial statements and challenge specific payment experiences that appear on your business credit report for review.

If you’re uncertain about the current accuracy of your DUNS information, you can execute a DUNS Number lookup. This will allow you to review your company’s existing profile and make any necessary adjustments.

Steps to Update Information:

  1. Locate Your Company: Visit the DUNS Manager portal and select the option for updating your company information. If you haven’t acquired a DUNS Number yet, the portal will guide you through the application process.
  2. Identity Verification: After you have located your company’s profile, you will need to confirm your identity to proceed.
  3. Confirm Your Role: For added security, you must clarify your relationship with the company. Access to the DUNS Manager is limited to verified company owners, directors, or officers.
  4. Edit Business Details: Once your identity has been validated, you’ll gain access to your company’s profile. Here, you can request changes to various pieces of business information.


We understand that we just provided you with a lot of information. Therefore, to wrap it up in a pretty bow, we will address some of the most common questions about DUNS Numbers to provide quick and straightforward answers. 

Question: How long will it take to receive my number after I complete my DUNS Number application? 

The standard processing time for obtaining a DUNS Number is up to 30 business days. However, you can get your number within eight business days if you opt for expedited processing. 

Question: How much does it cost to get a DUNS number? 

Obtaining a DUNS Number is free. There are paid options for expedited processing if you need your number sooner. 

Question: Does my company have to have a DUNS Number? 

A DUNS Number is not mandatory for operating a business. Nevertheless, it’s often required when engaging with certain governmental agencies or companies. Even if you don’t need it now, having one could benefit future opportunities by improving your business credibility. 

Question: Does my company already have a DUNS Number? 

You can use their lookup tool to find out if your company already has a DUNS Number. Input the necessary business information to search the database. If you discover an existing DUNS Number, it’s an excellent opportunity to ensure all your data is current. 

Question: How should I display and use my DUNS Number? 

There are no set rules for displaying your DUNS Number. If your enterprise frequently works with organizations that require a DUNS Number, you may wish to include it in your marketing materials, website, and business correspondence. 

Question: Is there a charge to renew or maintain my company’s DUNS Number? 

No, there is no fee for renewing or maintaining your DUNS Number. It’s a unique identifier that stays with your company indefinitely and does not change, even if your business undergoes significant changes, such as being sold or closing.

Utilize Spotted Fox Digital Marketing Agency as Your Strategic Business Partner

spotted fox digital marketing team your strategic business partner

In today’s dynamic business landscape, having a DUNS Number serves as a crucial legitimizing factor for companies of all sizes. A DUNS Number not only establishes your business as a distinct entity but also opens doors to numerous opportunities, such as qualifying for loans, securing government contracts, and forming valuable partnerships. It can significantly enhance your business credit profile, making you more attractive to lenders and vendors while also offering better terms. 

For organizations aiming for growth and expansion, especially in regulated markets or in dealings with the government, a DUNS Number is often a mandatory requirement. Overall, a DUNS Number acts as your business’s financial passport, offering credibility, opening new avenues, and unlocking potential growth.

At the end of the day, we understand that, as a business owner, you have a lot on your plate. Here at Spotted Fox, we can help you take some of those tasks off your plate so you can focus on bigger-picture growth strategies, like getting a DUN Number. Need guidance on navigating the business world? At Spotted Fox Digital Marketing, we provide the clarity and direction you need to succeed! Book a consultation with us today to learn more!