How to Make Your Own Universal Product Code

by Jamie Lisse; Updated September 26, 2017
Close-up of a bar code

A universal product code, or UPC, is a bar code that is typically found on retail products. The UPC bar codes are scanned at cash registers upon checkout. A UPC is made up of a company prefix that is unique to a production company, an item number that is from the manufacturer for the specific item and a check digit. UPCs do not contain prices but, rather, are used for database purposes. UPCs can only be assigned by the GS1 organization.

Step 1

Go to the GS1 US Barcodes website. Scroll to the bottom of the page and click “Apply Now” to begin an application for a UPC bar code and an account with GS1 Partner Connections.

Step 2

Enter your company name, address and contact information. Click “Next.” Select your type of business, indicate whether you have an FDA code for selling food or drugs, and then enter your annual sales revenue, the number of products you need a UPC for and the number of company locations.

Step 3

Review the membership and renewal fees. The fees are calculated based on annual revenue and number of products. The fees can be hundreds to thousands of dollars.

Step 4

Select a payment method for your application. Choices are “Pay Online” or “Mail Payment.” The application is not processed until payment has been received by GS1. If mailing, you will be given the address once you click the mail payment button.

Step 5

Wait up to three business days for confirmation of your application approval. Once approved, use the Data Driver web-based tool to make the bar code for the UPC. Just follow the on-screen prompts to create the the UPC bar code for your product.

About the Author

Jamie Lisse has been writing professionally since 1997. She has published works with a number of online and print publishers. Her areas of expertise include finance and accounting, travel, entertainment, digital media and technology. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English.

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