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    5 Replies Latest reply on Jul 8, 2008 5:07 PM by crypbuilder

    Getting a DUNS number versus $329 CreditBuilder?

    crypbuilder Newbie

      Greetings:

      I am a young CEO and have a question for the forum members about DUNS numbers: Is there any practical difference between the free and pay versions offered by Dun & Bradstreet—is the $329 CreditBuilder a worthwhile purchase?

      Our software company (Delaware C-Corp) started up a few months ago, and we closed our first big deal a few weeks ago. Our customer requested a D-U-N-S (Dun & Bradstreet number) from us, and we anticipate doing work with the US government directly or indirectly—the federal government requires DUNS number(s) from its contractors. I already know what a DUNS number is and how to get one within a day (thanks to googling), but it's not clear to me what advantage is conferred by paying Dun & Bradstreet for their "CreditBuilder" ($329) or "CreditBuilder Plus" ($599) programs. D&B claims that it is necessary to get at least the $329 CreditBuilder version so that they will "establish a credit file," but I would like to know the real-world practicality. The company manufactures software primarily distributed over the Internet; we're not a distributor or retailer so we do not anticipate purchasing a lot of capital inputs on credit beyond typical office space and the like.

      Again, I have read all of the marketing hype from dnb.com as well as talked with D&B's customer service representatives. We are not in a crunch where we really need to build a line of credit, although like most small business owners I would like to stop personally guaranteeing the lines of credit of the corporation as soon as possible.

      What I read from dnb.com is that the CreditBuilder program seems to provide:
      "[E]stablishing a basic credit file on your business."
      "Expedited creation of a basic D&B credit file..."
      "A basic set of D&B scores and ratings..."
      "Access to your company's credit file..."
      "D&B will build your basic D&B credit file, making your company eligible for a D&B Rating, Financial Stress Score and a Commercial Credit Score."

      What does this mean? What happens if I do not pay for CreditBuilder and just get a DUNS number: does that just mean that D&B will create a credit file anyway but it will happen over time as creditors get paid and report the payment cycles?

      Thanks!
        • Re: Getting a DUNS number versus $329 CreditBuilder?
          MeridianT Newbie
          We are in our seventh year and are still actively pursued by D&B to buy their credit reports. Obtaining a D&B number is free and you will need it regardless. You are able to review some level of information for free from D&B periodically just for updating your company's information.

          I've bought one of the pricier D&B reports in 2002 or 2003, when we were gaining momentum, to see where we stood. The info was incomplete. Only some of your suppliers and vendors report. I suggest you ask each vendor if they report and have accounts payable take it into consideration. Phone companies show up on the report as well.

          Their updates rate your company on whether you are a slow pay, overextended, etc. They even have an alert item if they believe you are under financial stress based on the same. Try to pay your invoices a few days early or on time; if you take something larger beyond terms, try to pay a few smaller invoices to offset your 'avg days aging.' Ask your trade specific vendors to give you Net-45 terms; harder to obtain, but companies trying to build a long term relationship with you will often do it.

          I wouldn't pay for the CreditBuilder report -- you know where you stand with each of your vendors, keep an eye on the statements. Any credit applications you fill out are going to ask for specifics and the underwriter is going to look at both.
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          • Re: Getting a DUNS number versus $329 CreditBuilder?
            Lighthouse24 Ranger

            As already noted, you can get a DUNS number for free -- and with a little effort (i.e., setting up accounts with vendors that report to D&B, making purchases from them on credit, and paying the bills promptly) you can do everything yourself that a "credit builder" program would do to build your business credit (without paying extra for a program). Plus, from what I've heard, if you buy one of those programs, you end up on a "sucker" list that is sold and resold (and everybody with something to pitch to a new business owner starts calling you -- two colleagues tell me that after buying one of these programs, they received as many as 30 calls a day from people selling "must have" products and services for their new company -- they say it got very annoying!).
              • Re: Getting a DUNS number versus $329 CreditBuilder?
                crypbuilder Newbie
                Thanks all for the responses. I agree, after looking through everything, that getting a plain free DUNS number is probably best for everyone. If you intend to work with the US federal government you can even get one within one business day at <http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform/displayHomePage.do>.

                As it turned out, I ended up paying for the CreditBuilder product because one thing that the online forms do not let you do is provide a toll-free telephone number as the main line of the business. I tried but some JavaScript blocked me. I could have forced it through but did not want to risk it (who knows what might have been flagged on D&B's backend). We have a toll-free number, and only a toll-free number, because our PBX vendor offers us the same price for toll-free and local numbers. We saw no reason to get a local number as we are a "virtual" software company rather than a manufacturer or supplier with a substantial physical presence. One D&B rep told me that they no longer accept toll-free numbers as main numbers, so I talked to another rep who didn't give it a second thought when entering the data. I think he really wanted the business. I was very explicit about opting-out from the marketing list, however, so hopefully I won't get such offers. I am applying for some business lines of credit through some office supply companies so I will see if the CreditBuilder data really helps at all.

                Unless you have very specific reasons to work directly with D&B (as I did), you should use one of the free methods to get a DUNS number. Be sure to opt-out of any marketing lists.