Step One: Apply for a GS1 Company Prefix
The first, and most important, step in obtaining a UPC bar code for your product is to apply for membership and receive a GS1 Company prefix from GS1. Your company prefix is a unique string of digits assigned to your company, identifying you as the manufacturer throughout the entire product supply-chain.
The number of digits in a Company Prefix can vary between 6 – 10 characters, depending on the number of products a manufacturer needs to identify. A small company, who only needs to identify a single product, would receive a 10-digit number. The membership fee for GS1 is primarily based on the number of products which require identification.
BIG NEWS – As of October 2013, GS1 US dramatically reduced their pricing for small companies and the starting fee is $250 for 10 numbers.
Please be advised that there are third-party companies on the internet who offer to sell single UPC bar codes. Bar Code Graphics strongly encourages you to research the limitations of exactly what they’re offering, and how they match with your business goals. Most of the main retailers will not accept their numbers and there are many online websites preying on unsuspecting new companies. Be wary of numbering organizations with names like Barcode Talk, EZ Barcodes, Speedy barcodes, etc. Proper product identification is important. Please call us at 800-662-0701 x250 for assistance.
At the end of this simple tutorial you will be provided information how to obtain a GS1 Company Prefix and put UPC barcodes on your products.