Step 1: Apply for GS1 Company PrefixThe first, and most important, step in obtaining a UPC bar code for your product is to apply for membership and license 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 length of the prefix (and price) is dependent on the number of unique items which require UPC identification. 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. To learn how to determine how many UPCs you need, please visit, www.gs1-us.info/how-many-upcs/.
Please be advised that there are third-party companies on the internet who offer to sell single UPC bar codes for discount $5 rates. Most of the main retailers will not accept their numbers and there are many online websites preying on unsuspecting new companies. Quite SIMPLY, buying “upc barcodes” from any organization other than GS1 US puts you at risk for acceptance by retailers (even Amazon). There may be smaller retailers and online marketplaces which do not require a unique GS1 Company Prefix. However, if you plan on selling to any larger retailer in the future, you do not want to have your products marked with UPC barcodes which may not be accepted. Proper product identification is important! Call us at Bar Code Graphics 800-662-0701 x250 for assistance.