First of all you want to start setting up your business entity. You can do this by thinking of a business name you want to have and searching your Secretary of State records to see if it’s available (also consider searching Go Daddy to see if that company name is available as a web domain).
Once you confirm the website and name is available, you can go ahead and setup your entity with your Secretary of State, costs usually range between $60-$600 and setup a corporation or a LLC.
Once your entity is setup get your EIN from the IRS, https://www.irs.gov/businesses/small-businesses-self-employed/apply-for-an-employer-identification-number-ein-online. Business credit is built under your EIN, not your DUNS number so make sure you get your EIN as it’s essential to building initial business credit.
Whether you have employees or not, your business entity must have a Federal Tax ID number (EIN). Just like you have a Social Security Number, your business has an EIN. Your Tax ID number is used to open your bank account and to build your business credit profile. Take the time to verify that all agencies, banks, and trade credit vendors have your business listed with the same Tax ID number. Also make sure your address with the IRS is the same as listed everywhere else.
Get any necessary licensing in your state, city, county, and for your industry also. You won’t need a bank account to build business credit, but it’s a great idea to get this after you have your EIN. Often times, your bank account setup date is when lenders will say your business was initially established… so you can do this as early in the business establishment process as possible.
Ensure your business name is the EXACT same on your corporation papers, licenses, utility statements, bank statements, with your Secretary of State, and with the IRS (One of the most common reasons for business credit disapproval is the name you put on your application doesn’t match EXACTLY as the credit issuer finds online).
While you are checking your name with your Secretary of State, also ensure that they have all of the necessary information for your company and make sure that you are in good standing with them, and that your entity is ACTIVE.
The more credible of a business address you have, the more credibility your company will have… especially when applying for loans and credit. The most credible businesses have a real physical location, with a unique mailing address. If you don’t have this, you mustn’t worry, consider using a Virtual Office address!
It is important that you NEVER use a UPS or P.O. Box address. Many credit issuers and lenders won’t even accept applications with those. You can use a home address, but it may reduce your approvals or get you denied with some sources.
Your business should have a business phone number, keep in mind HOME phone numbers and MOBILE phone numbers are not acceptable, and will get you an immediate denial (You should also have a fax number).
It’s very common for the reporting agencies to know you exist, and give you a low score just because you have no credit. It’s also common to have one or more negative item on your report, and not know it’s even there. This is why you should check your reports unless you’re a brand new business.