Obtain an Employer Identification Number (EIN) and identify your industry codes.
An Employer Identification Number, or EIN, is like a Social Security Number, but for your business. You might also see an EIN referred to as a Federal Tax Identification Number, FTIN or TIN. It helps both you, and those you do business with, identify your business as a unique entity.
US businesses require an EIN for a variety of reasons. An EIN helps the Internal Revenue Service, or IRS, identify your business quickly and easily. If you want to do business with the City or any other governmental agency, you will need an EIN to complete various forms and applications.
EINs are easy to obtain and entirely free. They are issued by the IRS. The application to obtain an EIN can be completed online. Simply visit IRS Website - Employer ID Numbers and click “Apply for an EIN Online."
You can also apply for an EIN via fax, mail, or phone, but the process will generally take a little longer. The directions for each of these methods can be found on this page.
The online application to obtain an EIN takes minutes. After you have completed the application successfully, an EIN will be issued to you right away. However, please note that the online EIN service is only available on weekdays between 6AM and 9PM Central Time.
Applying for an EIN via fax takes about a week, while applying by mail takes between four and five weeks.
In this section, we’ll learn a little bit about NAICS and NIGP codes, and why they are important for your business.
Industry codes, also referred to as NAICS and NIGP codes, help describe what your business does. For example, if your business is a barber shop, then your NAICS code is 812111, and your NIGP code is 95210.
Cities and government agencies use industry codes for things like taxation and licensing, which means you’ll need them in order to do business with the City of Mobile. These codes help the government quickly and correctly identify what your business does. Many of the forms you’ll encounter in this process will require an industry code.
The Federal Government uses the North American Industry Classification System (NAICS) code to classify businesses. The CIty of Mobile uses National Institute of Governmental Purchasing (NIGP) codes to classify its vendors. You will need both an NAICS and an NIGP code to register your business with the City.
You can determine the NAICS and NIGP codes for your business in just a few clicks. Visit the City’s Industry Code Search, type in a few keywords, and select up to three codes that best describe what your business does.
In this section, we’ll learn a little bit about DUNS numbers, and why they are important for bidding on City contracts.
Like an EIN, a DUNS number is a unique identifier for your business, however DUNS numbers are issued by a private company, Dun & Bradstreet. When you obtain a new DUNS number, Dun & Bradstreet starts a record for you business that is similar to a credit report.
A DUNS number allows cities, banks and other businesses to review your business’s reliability, and helps them decide whether or not to do business with you.
You can obtain a DUNS number for free by visiting the Dun & Bradstreet website.
Applying for a DUNS number online typically takes just a few minutes. After you have completed the application successfully, you should receive a DUNS number within 1-2 business days.
The Federal Government uses the System for Award Management (SAM) to register vendors and track vendors for government contracts. The City of Mobile requires that vendors register as an Entity on SAM for certain projects. This process can take some time, so it is best to review the user guides on the SAM website and come prepared.
To register, visit SAM.gov and create a Login profile using your business email address and your phone number. You will need to provide information about your business including a DUNS number and your EIN. You will be asked about your ownership, business history, NAICS codes, and other factors, and you may have to submit additional supporting documentation.
Your application will be in Draft Status until it has been reviewed and your information has been verified. Generally, it takes 12-15 days for your registration to be reviewed after it has been submitted.
If you already have a SAM number or are unsure of your registration status, you can search for your business entity by entering your DUNS number or CAGE code.