This article was originally published in Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp.'s Credit Resources.
In our second installment of “Five Steps to Business Credit,” we will go over the many ways to build your business credit rating. Because good business credit is essential to financial success, it is critical that you not only understand business credit, but learn how to build it. If your company gets a good rating from D&B®, you may find that more companies are willing to partner with you based solely on this rating. Many companies use D&B ratings to build profitable relationships with their partners.
D&B is the world’s largest credit bureau. It maintains an information database of approximately 200 million companies or more, worldwide, and a staggering 30 million in the U.S. alone. But how is your credit rating determined?
D&B evaluates factors that include your company’s promptness in paying its suppliers and meeting its
financial obligations. In addition, it looks at your business finances, including:
- Cash flow
- Working capital
- Net worth
- Financial resources
- Corporate finance reports
- Business filings
- Judgments against your company
Finally, it also considers self-reported data such as interviews with company principals and other company partners, as well as direct investigations. In order to establish a D&B credit rating, you need to obtain a Data Universal Numbering System number, or D-U-N-S® number. You can apply for a free D-U-N-S number online and receive the number in 30-45 days. Once you have the D-U-N-S number, you need to contact your trade accounts to have them add your D-U-N-S number to your credit file. That way, D&B will get a report of your credit history with each vendor each month.
One of the scores that D&B assigns your business is reported as a PAYDEX® score that ranges from 0 to 100. The best scores are those above 80. (Compare this with personal FICO scores, which range from 500 to 800, with scores more than 750 being excellent.)
Your business can get rewarded for paying early! You may be able to boost its PAYDEX score by paying its accounts before your trade accounts generate invoices. For best results, your business should use five accounts each month. To ensure that you are paying early, get into the habit of sending the company a check immediately after making a purchase on credit.
It’s also important to remember that the four Cs of credit almost always determine the creditworthiness of a business:
- Capacity: are you able to repay the loan?
- Capital: what are you worth?
- Conditions: what external factors impact your business, and how?
- Character: will you repay the loan?
Once you have established a credit rating for your business, you must also monitor it for accuracy. Check your credit report quarterly to ensure that it contains no errors. Should you find any, report them immediately to D&B – and have documentation ready to support your claim!
By following these simple steps, your business credit report will be up-to-date, an essential factor for business success. For more information on business credit, visit dandb.com or call 1-800-280-0306.
The information and opinions provided by Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. is provided "as-is" and are solely those of Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. makes no representations or warranties, express or implied, with respect to such information and the results of the use of such information. Neither Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. nor any of its parents, subsidiaries or affiliates shall be held liable for any damages, whether direct, indirect, incidental, special or consequential arising from or in connection with a business's use or reliance on the information or advice offered by Dun & Bradstreet Credibility Corp. You should consult a qualified professional to assist you in determining the most effective business structure for your particular business.