March 23, 2012

Q: What are the benefits, if any, for a systems contractor to have a DUNS number and be registered with the CCR?

A: Good question. DUNS (Data Universal Numbering System) is a number listing for Dun and Bradstreet. Companies who subscribe get a nine-digit number assigned to each business location in the D&B database that has a unique, separate, and distinct operation. The number is used by banks, insurance companies, contractors and end-users and is sort of the de-facto standard for checking out your credibility. It’s like a credit score and better business bureau endorsement all in one, but contains more in-depth financial information. D&B offers a small business starter package for $300 that gets the credit listing and DUNS number. I think that would be well worth the expense.

CCR is the federal contractor registration service. They offer a verified vendor status which was very popular a couple years ago when the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was in full swing. I’m not sure with that program winding down if I would go through the time and expense of this registration. If I recall, it takes an estimated 20 hours of forms, documentation, etc. or you can pay a consultant about $600 and spend about half the time. I do know that the CCR registration has yielded several complaints as you get called on from consulting forms offering a fee-based matchmaking service to sort and identify contracts fitting your scope. Most of the listed contracts appear to be intended for more traditional construction trades. I don’t know if it has yielded any results for our members.

In general if you are looking for these listings to get you additional business, that isn’t a good investment of time or money. If you are looking to gain credibility and add to your resume of distinctions and credentials to differentiate yourself from the competition, than yes these would be beneficial to have. I would first invest in the industry-based credentials and certifications along with key vendor certifications. I would also invest in project management, sales training and business optimization training as well. I may be a bit biased though. CW

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