Instead of Get ‘er Done, we encourage you to Get yer DUNS…
In our blogs to date, we have covered many topics, but one was how to apply for a USDA grant and we have touched on other government (federal and state) programs. If you decide to go at it alone and not involve a university or other organization (which I think is a BAD idea at this point in individual progress of the US Grown Tea Movement), you will need to get a DUNS number assigned to the business or organization that you will be using to apply for the grant.
The DUNS number will also be required if you are planning on applying for a US Small Business Administration loan or grant. It is also used by creditors when determining deposits, interest rates, insurance premiums, and many other things thing required in the course of business. It is similar to a FICO score (personal credit score) for a business. Even if you are NOT applying for government assistance, some banks and insurance companies will require you to have a DUNS number. Even if it is not REQUIRED, it is a wise idea because unlike a FICO score, you can “manage” your DUNS interface by keeping it up to date, possibly saving you a lot of money on insurance premiums, percentage rates, utility deposits, and numerous other ways.
A DUNS number is NOT the same as a federal/state tax identification number. A DUNS number differs from a tax identification number because, if there is more than one physical location or address for your business/organization, then you will need to apply for a DUNS number for EVERY location. If you operate multiple businesses/organizations out of one address, you will need to apply for a DUNS number for EVERY business/organization at the address. It is not a “catch all” number for a physical location or a business/organization at large, it is an individualized number for every location and every business and never changes and never is reused. It will remain with that business even if it is ever closed (and we hope that never happens).
DUNS stands for Data Universal Numeric System and is copyrighted by Dunn & Bradstreet (NYSE: DNB). According to the Dun & Bradstreet website, “The D-U-N-S® Number is the linchpin of D&B’s DUNSRight™ patented-quality process. Once assigned, a D-U-N-S® Number is neither reused nor assigned to another business. Used by the world’s most influential standards-setting organizations, the D-U-N-S® Number is recognized, recommended, and/or required by more than 200 global, industry, and trade associations, including the U.N., European Commission, and the U.S. Federal Government.”
A DUNS number is REQUIRED for any transactions with contractors and grantees with the federal government in the US. According to the federal government website at http://fedgov.dnb.com/webform, “The DUNS number is widely used by both commercial and federal entities and was adopted as the standard business identifier for federal electronic commerce in October 1994. The DUNS Number was also incorporated into the Federal Acquisition Regulation (FAR) in April 1998 as the Federal Government’s contractor identification code for all procurement-related activities.”
There is also a very good blog on the process found here: http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/why-your-business-needs-get-duns-number.
If you need additional assistance, your county agent should be familiar with this process and can help you or you can visit your local USDA office.