How to make money from number plates (2022)

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You actually can make money from number plates – it’s not just a big, fat pose!

Personalised number plates are becoming increasingly common. Many celebrities boast having one, such as Alan Sugar (AMS 1) and Vinnie Jones (100 VJ), but ordinary people like you and me are cashing in on the craze too.

In January 2006, £254,000 was paid to the DVLA for the number plate 51 NGH, and in March 2009 a staggering £352,000 was paid for the number plate 1D. These number plates are worth much, much more now.

So how exactly can you make money from number plates? Find out in our guide:

  • Why number plates?
  • What number plates to buy?
  • Be careful
  • Where to buy number plates?
  • How much would you expect to pay?
  • How to keep your number plate safe
  • The top 5 most expensive number plates in the UK
  • Where to sell?

Why number plates?

How to make money from number plates (1)

You can make money from number platesbecause they hold and increase in value as each one is unique.

Realistically you’re unlikely to find an interested buyer for a randomly assigned registration mark (that’s the usual reg plates that we get with a car).

However, if you purchase a short plate number, one that has a special significance or one that is dateless then you may make a profit from it in the long-term.

Short plate numbers are massively popular now so, if you’re clever, you could make money. Last year the sale of personalised number plates raised a record £102 million for the Treasury. According to the DVLA (Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority), almost 335,000 registrations were sold over the past year, more than four times the total in the mid-1990s

What number plates to buy?

How to make money from number plates (2)

(Video) WHY YOU SHOULDN'T START A NUMBER PLATE BUSINESS IN 2021!

When you’re buying a number plate with the intention of making a profit you should think like a buyer. Remember, your goal is to make money from number plate sells. Ask yourself:

  • What is it about that number plate that would make a buyer interested? Number plates that read as words are incredibly popular and are likely to be a good investment. For example Pope John Paul II had the number plate VIP 1 on his popemobile, which then sold for £285,000.Admittedly it’s unlikely you will make as much as the pope but number plates like that are a good investment because, chances are, someone will be willing to pay good money for the word you have.
  • Alternatively, you can take a punt and buy a plate with popular initials. Many people are often willing to pay a fair bit of money to have their initials plastered on their number plates. This is obviously more of a risk, you have to hope that you will find the right buyer, but the return can be good. Just avoid buying a plate with uncommon initials like the letter X, because this will make it harder to make money from the number plates resales (unless it’s something like XXXX or 4X or XTRA – the sort of combinations that novelty plate buyers would like).
  • Short number plates are a good bet although they are expensive to acquire, and at DVLA auctions there will usually have a high reserve price.
  • Dateless number plates, with up to four numbers and three letters, are also highly desirable, but, again, to buy one new you will need to go to a DVLA auction.

It’s important to be aware that when the number plate has an age identifier, (for example 62 indicates 2012/13), it cannot be used on cars registered before that date.

It’s also important that the spacing and letters have not been edited in any way as this is illegal and could lead to an unexpected fine!

Likewise, it’s good to know that offensive number plates will get banned. As much as you want to be unique, take care not to go for unsuitable names that have sex intonations, vulgarity or awkward words.

If you want to get creative, you can also design your custom number plate using show number plate maker by ShowPlatesWorld.

Be careful when buying number plates

How to make money from number plates (3)

When buying, make sure the seller has a genuine V750 certificate of entitlement or V778 retention document, and that it’s signed by the person whose name is at the top of the certificate.

Only the people named on one of these documents can assign the number plate to their car. Be aware there is an £80 transfer charge if a seller is transferring his number plate from his car to yours. If you want to make money from number plates, you need to include this cost on your price

To transfer a number plate both vehicles must be DVLA registered, available for inspection and have an MOT certificate.

Both buyer and seller must also complete a V317. If you do not plan on using the number plate on your car, you must pay to retain the registration number. It costs £25 to have the nominee on the retention document changed.

Where to buy number plates?

How to make money from number plates (4)

(Video) How EASY It Is To Steal Your Info from a License Plate

If you want to make money from number plate resales, you can buy them directly from the DVLA Personalised Registrations website at any time. The most valuable number plates, however, are likely to be sold at a DVLA auction, which are held six times a year.

Each auction has 1,500 desirable number plates for sale, each with a reserve price, where you can bid amongst number plate enthusiasts for a brand new registration number. Find out where and when the next auction will be held here.

If you can’t find the number plate you want on the DVLA website you can contact the DVLA directly and make a request. If the number plate is available, then it may be offered at a future DVLA auction.

Similarly, eBay has a large Cherished Number Section with an active community of number plate sellers and there are many specialist websites that sell personalised number plates, including:

All these sites are reputable, and most of them are members of the RMI Cherished Numbers Dealers Association.

Alternatively it could be worth looking through your local paper and free advertising sites to see if anyone is selling.

When buying a number plate, make sure you do a price comparison with similar plates on the market. This way, you will get a fair deal and also make money from number plates on your resale mission. Also note that if your car is scrapped whilst the registration number is assigned to it then the number plate is lost and unrecoverable.

How much would you expect to pay for a number plate?

How to make money from number plates (5)

If you want to make money from number plates, you should get the right price in the first place.

How much you might pay will vary according to how desirable the number plate is. On the DVLA website prices start from £250. For example if I search for a number plate with my own initials, MC, prices range from £399 for the number plate V222 MCC, to £999 for MC02 ABE. At the real top end of the price range, the number plate MC 9 would set me back £57,495 at newreg.co.uk!

It might sound easier and cheaper to change your name by deed poll to match your licence plate rather than the other way round, but registration marks can be excellent investments.

(Video) How To Get Cheap Number Plates

For example, in the mid-nineties, the number plate 1 SAJ was sold for £3,300. Its value today is estimated to be £30,000. Not a bad return made from selling number plates!

How to keep your number plate safe

How to make money from number plates (6)

Although all number plates risk getting stolen for car cloning, special number plates shouldn’t be any more vulnerable than a standard number plate as there are checks in place to ensure criminals cannot make money from number plates by selling them on.

Criminals who stole your number plate would require either the retention document or the certificate of entitlement or, if they were trying to transfer the number plate, then their car would have to be DVLA registered, available for inspection and have an MOT certificate. Thankfully this makes it difficult for would-be criminals.

However if you are concerned that your eye-catching number plate might draw unwanted attention, why not invest in making your plate theft proof? Companies like Secureplate use patented technology to keep your number plate safe.

It’s important to notify your insurer of any changes to your number plate as your plate must correspond with their documents. It also gives you protection in the event of your car being stolen, as it will allow you to try and claim back/make money from your number plates. This shouldn’t cost you any extra, however.

Remember, if you’re not going to be using your number plate on your car and want to store it, you will need to put it on a retention document, which costs £155 for three years.

Where to sell your number plates and make money?

How to make money from number plates (7)

All the sites you can use to buy number plates you are also able to use to sell them. These include eBay, and:

  • Regtransfers
  • Newreg
  • Nationalnumbers

To make money from number plates, ensure the company making you an offer is buying it for stock or is offering to sell it for a commission.

Whilst it will take longer to get your money, if the company advertises it on their website for a commission, it may well get you more money from your number plates than a company which offers to buy the number plate outright.

(Video) I Started a Number Plate Business | Business StartUps EP01

You can also advertise in local papers and on free advertising websites such as gumtree. Advertising will help you make money from number plates by getting out your message to potential buyers.

Look around at similar number plates to the one you are selling and price sensibly to make sure you can sell for a tidy profit. Regtransfers.co.uk offers a free valuation service.

Once you have found a buyer, make sure you have cleared funds before handing over your certificate and transferring or assigning the number plate.

The top 5 most expensive number plates in the UK

See, we told you, you can make money from number plates. Check these out:

VIP 1 –This was bought by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich in 2006 for £285,000. Two years earlier the plate had been sold for just £62,000.

S1 – This was originally on a car owned by one of Scotland’s first car owners Lord Kingsburgh in 1903. It was bought by an anonymous bidder in 2008 for £404,000 who said it would be put on an old red Skoda.

F1 – This was boughtin 2008 by Bradford businessman Afzal Khan for £440,625. Three years ago heturned down a £6 million bid to buy it.

And here are the top five

5th: RR 1 -This was sold in September 2018 at an auction by the suspected owners, Bentley Motors, at Bonham’s Auction. It went for £472,000. It is now valued at an estimated £500,000.

4th: G 1 – This was auctioned in Sept 2011 for £500,000 and is attached to an Aston Martin. Its current value is estimated to be £1,000,000.

3rd: X 1 – This was bought by an unknown person in Nov 2011 for £502,500. According to DVLA it was put on a Mercedes Benz Elegance and its current estimated price is £1,000,000.

2nd: 25 O – This one was boughtby Ferrari dealer John Collins in 2014 for £518,000. It is now on a Ferrari 250 SWB once owned by Eric Clapton and is worth £10million.

(Video) I BOUGHT A NUMBER PLATE BUSINESS!

1st: 1 – The highest price paid for a plate is for this one at £7.25million.It was bought by Abu Dhabi businessman Saeed Abdul Ghaffar Khouri in 2008. Goodness knows what it’s worth now!

Further information on how to make money from number plates

Before you get cracking make sure to take time to read the government’s instructions about buying/selling personalised plates as this clearly outlines all the legal information you need to know to keep you safe.

With the above knowledge, you can now easily make money from your number plates.

FAQs

Do number plates make money? ›

Why number plates? You can make money from number plates because they hold and increase in value as each one is unique. Realistically you're unlikely to find an interested buyer for a randomly assigned registration mark (that's the usual reg plates that we get with a car).

Is number plate business profitable? ›

While there are a number of businesses to try in this area, more and more specialists see the number plate endeavour as being one of the most profitable domains to try on.

How much is the 1 number plate worth? ›

Registration Number '1'

The astounding sum of £7.25 million is the highest price paid ever for a plate. Abu Dhabi property mogul Saeed Abdul Ghaffar Khouri snapped it up in 2008. He later commented: 'I bought it because it's the best number'.

Are car number plates a good investment? ›

Having private registrations on your vehicles can help with this uncertainty. Because they are a good investment and tend to increase in price even as the car itself depreciates, you know that you can always sell your private number plate on when and if you want or need to, giving you a good return.

Why are number plates worth so much? ›

Beyond the investors and the vain, many more families are investing in his and hers plates and also finding matching numbers for the kids. New South Wales and Victoria have the highest value plates, mainly because of their longer histories and many buyers value them as pieces of art, said Boribon.

What number plates go up in value? ›

The type of numbers that tend to rise in value are short numbers like 25 O, RR 1, and S 1; specific names such as B1 LLY, JAM 33S or DAN 13L. These are also the registrations that will cost a lot of money to purchase in the first instance which is why most people will buy for the love rather than to make money.

Is plate trader any good? ›

I would 100% recommend you to anyone, great service. Very pleased with the service from Plate Trader. I sold the plate YOU 1N and the process was easy.

Can I sell private plate? ›

You can sell personalised number plates privately by finding a customer yourself or using a dealer. The best way to sell a private number plate is with car registration companies, like us! They will provide the services you need to advertise and sell your number plate.

Do the DVLA buy number plates back? ›

It's worth mentioning that a common misconception among Brits is that you can sell your number plate back to the DVLA, but this is incorrect. Although the DVLA sell personalised registrations that have never been issued to a vehicle before, they have no interest in buying them back off you.

Who owns a1 number plate? ›

In 1985, BTR plc gained the "A 1" plate after it acquired Dunlop. The company's headquarters in Birmingham placed it on a Ford Granada. In 2000, the plate was bought by Jefri Bolkiah after its sale by Insignia Registrations alongside the plate, "1 A".

Who owns the King number plate? ›

In 2018, British automotive designer Afzal Kahn was described as “the king of car customisation”. He bought his 'F1' number plate in 2008 for £440,000. He has since been offered £20 million for the plate but has no intentions of selling it any time soon.

Who owns F1 number plate? ›

Afzal Kahn, owner and founder of Kahn Design or 'Project Kahn', purchased the number plate F1 in 2008. Mr. Kahn caused a stir when he set a British record after paying a staggering £440,000, for what he calls 'his favourite plate'.

Can you sell a number plate? ›

You can sell a personalised number plate you own privately or through a dealer. Although using a dealer will involve paying them a fee, it will take the burden of making sure the paperwork and financial transaction are all in order.

Is buying a private plate worth it? ›

It's a Good Investment

Well, each one is unique, so over time, it increases in value. In fact, private number plates have historically gained in value over the years, so much so that people are choosing to invest in number plates instead of putting money into ISAs, TESSAs and bonds.

Are number plates an asset? ›

The value of a personalised car number plate lies in the right to use a particular combination of numbers and letters. This right is an intangible asset which is separate from the actual plate, and from the vehicle to which it is attached.

What is the most expensive number plate in the world? ›

MM – USA: $24.3 Million

Valued at $24.3 Million, California plate MM takes the top spot for the most expensive license plate in the world. Two-character plates are the hardest to find in the U.S., and plates using the same letter for both characters are rarer still. In fact, there are only 35 of them in existence.

How much is a 1 digit number plate worth in Dubai? ›

The world's most expensive car licence plate — made up of the single digit “1” — was sold for 52.2-million AED (an eye-watering R218m in today's money) in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, in February 2008.

Why are short number plates so expensive? ›

The laws of supply and demand dictate the price of number plates. People want their registration numbers to convey a personalised message or a personal signifier, such as one's name or nickname.

How do you value private plate? ›

Factors of a private number plate valuation

Your number plate valuation is determined by how desirable it is to other people, as well as how rare the plate is. Although every number plate is 'rare' (there is only one of each!), some are rarer and more desirable than others.

What's a cherished number plate? ›

Cherished number plates is a term that is traditionally used by the motor trade to describe dateless registration marks issued before 1963. You may be more familiar with the terms private registrations, personalised car numberplates or even just private plates.

What is a dateless number plate? ›

In summary, a dateless number plate is one which contains a letter or sequence of letters, a space, and then a number or combination of numbers. It can be used on any vehicle of any age, which may partially explain the popularity of the dateless style of personalised number plate among buyers in the UK.

What do trade plate drivers do? ›

A trade plate driver is someone who drives cars or vans from A to B for a job. They are also known as a "professional driver". Trade plate drivers are normally retired men who drive cars around the UK to supplement their income.

What is a trade plate vehicle? ›

A trade plate is a temporary number plate used by motor traders or vehicle testers to save them the cost and time to register and tax every vehicle temporarily in their possession.

How do I sell a number plate UK? ›

You have two options to select from when it comes to how you sell your personalised plate. You can either sell through a private dealer or broker who specialises in the selling of personalised number plates or manage the transaction yourself and sell your registration number privately.

Can I sell my private number plate on eBay? ›

Not very well unfortunately... eBay is not famous or well-known as a marketplace for private car number plates.
...
Selling your Personal Number Plate: Exploring the Pros and Cons of a DIY sale.
eBayPlates4less
Potential additional listing feesNo additional listing fees
7 more rows

Do I own my private number plate? ›

Yes, whenever you change cars, you have the choice to take your personalised number plate with you. You don't have to leave it on your car. You must remove the registration number from your car before selling it. If you don't, ownership of the registration number will pass with ownership of the vehicle.

How much is the number plate 007 worth? ›

A licence plate with the code number of Ian Fleming's heroic spy, James Bond, has sold at auction for what is thought to be a record amount. The Guernsey plate, 007, sold for £240,000, believed to be the most paid at a public auction in Guernsey. The winning bidder of the number only plate wants to remain anonymous.

How can I sell my number plate fast? ›

Where Can I Sell My Number Plate Fast/Instantly?
  1. Option 1 – Approach a dealer and ask if they'll buy it for their stock.
  2. Option 2 – Advertise with as many dealers as possible.
  3. Option 3 – List it on eBay with a really low start price.
  4. Option 4 – List it on as many free websites as possible.
  5. Option 5 – Use a classifieds site.
21 Jun 2014

Can I sell my number plate on DVLA auction? ›

In a word, no, you can't sell your number plate back to the DVLA. The DVLA issue new registrations for vehicles and also hold/sell the stock of all cherished registrations that have never been issued to a vehicle before, but they have no interest in buying registrations.

Who owns the number plate 007? ›

A Guernsey resident won the battle to buy the new (number-only) States of Guernsey registration, '007', in a recent auction. The buyer, who wishes to remain anonymous, bought it for a whopping £240,000!

What is the oldest number plate? ›

the worlds oldest number plate was one issued to a Canadian vehicle in 1884, flying in the face of conventional wisdom, which states that plates were introduced by France in 1893. The discovery is causing quite a stir in Victoria, British Columbia, which is about to celebrate its 150th anniversary.

Does the Queen's car have a number plate? ›

These, likewise, do not have number plates; nor does the State hearse, an addition to the Royal Mews fleet which was first used in 2022 following the death of Queen Elizabeth II.

Who owns the most expensive plate number in the world? ›

UAE businessman Ahmed Al Marzuoqi won the bid to own the exclusive 'Abu Dhabi 2' number plate for a whopping $2.7 million (Rs 20 crore). "I am very excited and proud to get number 2," he told Khaleej Times. He said he bought the number plate because of its significance to the nation.

Who has the number 1 Dubai plate? ›

1) Saeed Abdul Ghaffar Khouri's $14m '1'

The '1' is the most expensive number plate in the world. The registration plate was sold to Saeed Abdul Ghaffar Khouri for Dh52 million ($14 million) in 2008. Khouri, who is the CEO of Abdul Khaleq Al Khouri & Bros Co and CEO of Milipol International Est.

Who owns D5 number plate UK? ›

5. Dubai's £7 Million 'D5' Indian businessman Balwinder Sahni forked out 33 Million UAED, roughly equivalent to £7 million, in 2016 for the Dubai number plate 'D5'. Sahni told the press that he wanted the plate because 9 is his “lucky number”.

Which car is number 1 in the world? ›

The Toyota Corolla was the world's best-selling car in 2019, and the dependable Japanese saloon continued to occupy the top spot with over 1.1 million sales in 2020.

How much did F1 plate sell for? ›

The 'F1' number plate, the most expensive in the world, was for sale on RegTransfers, a private number plates and car registrations supplier.

What's the most expensive private Reg? ›

$24.5 Million 'MM' Licence Plate Set to Become World's Most Expensive Private Number Plate. The owner of the rare California licence plate 'MM' has put it up for sale at an incredible $24,545,011.20, which would make it the world's most expensive personalised number plate.

Can I sell my car and keep the number plate? ›

The short answer is yes! If you have a number plate that you wish to keep when you sell or scrap your car, you must make an application to keep the registration plate by assigning it to a Retention Document. This document proves that you own the plate and you can use it in the next 10 years.

Can I put my number plate on someone else's car? ›

You can put your private number on someone else's vehicle via online or through post. Either way, the DVLA will send you a replacement logbook for the vehicle but with a new private number shown on it.

Should I hide my number plate when selling car? ›

Whilst it may seem unlikely that someone will take advantage of your number plate to attain information, it is possible, so it's best to cover your back, just in case.

Why do people like private plates? ›

Private number plates can deter criminals

Private number plates obviously make a vehicle more distinctive and recognisable. This can actually help prevent your car from being stolen as criminals are less likely to want to steal a vehicle that could be easily recognised.

Why do people buy private plates? ›

Many people buy a private registration number to give their car a unique personal touch by using their name or initials, or to mark a special occasion such as a birthday, wedding or anniversary. Others like to display humorous plates, while businesses can use them as a marketing tool.

How many people have private number plates? ›

There are more than 45 million private number plates

There are over 45 million of them - more than two for every three people in the country. Most are actually used on cars, while many are bought purely as an investment and never see the dirt and filth of a road for protection.

Can a company buy a number plate? ›

It's certainly possible to get a personalised number plate that in some way reflects what your business has to offer or even matches your company name. Of course, you might be aware of the cost of personal licence plates.

Can you claim VAT back on a Personalised number plate? ›

VAT incurred on personalised number plates may be recoverable when the number plate is bought for the purposes of the business. For commentary on business purpose, see ¶19-020. HMRC generally take the view that the purchase is made for private reasons.

Is VAT charged on Personalised number plates? ›

VAT is payable on number plate sales where: The number plate is owned by Regtransfers. The number plate is a government issue number plate. The number plate is being sold on behalf of third party vendors who is VAT registered.

Can I sell my number plate to DVLA? ›

Can I sell my number plate back to the DVLA? No, It's not possible to sell your private number plate back to the DVLA. The DVLA sells cherished number plates, but only new ones. They won't buy back registrations that have already been issued to a vehicle.

Can you sell a number plate? ›

You can sell a personalised number plate you own privately or through a dealer. Although using a dealer will involve paying them a fee, it will take the burden of making sure the paperwork and financial transaction are all in order.

Is plate trader any good? ›

I would 100% recommend you to anyone, great service. Very pleased with the service from Plate Trader. I sold the plate YOU 1N and the process was easy.

How do I start a number plate business UK? ›

To legally make or sell number plates, your company must be registered as a Registered Number Plate Supplier with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). To register online, click here. Alternatively, you can download a V940 form from the bottom of this page and post your application.

Can I sell my car and keep the number plate? ›

The short answer is yes! If you have a number plate that you wish to keep when you sell or scrap your car, you must make an application to keep the registration plate by assigning it to a Retention Document. This document proves that you own the plate and you can use it in the next 10 years.

How do I sell my private number plate UK? ›

You have two options to select from when it comes to how you sell your personalised plate. You can either sell through a private dealer or broker who specialises in the selling of personalised number plates or manage the transaction yourself and sell your registration number privately.

Do I own my private number plate? ›

Yes, whenever you change cars, you have the choice to take your personalised number plate with you. You don't have to leave it on your car. You must remove the registration number from your car before selling it. If you don't, ownership of the registration number will pass with ownership of the vehicle.

Can I sell my private number plate on eBay? ›

Not very well unfortunately... eBay is not famous or well-known as a marketplace for private car number plates.
...
Selling your Personal Number Plate: Exploring the Pros and Cons of a DIY sale.
eBayPlates4less
Potential additional listing feesNo additional listing fees
7 more rows

Can I put my number plate on someone else's car? ›

You can put your private number on someone else's vehicle via online or through post. Either way, the DVLA will send you a replacement logbook for the vehicle but with a new private number shown on it.

Should I hide my number plate when selling car? ›

Whilst it may seem unlikely that someone will take advantage of your number plate to attain information, it is possible, so it's best to cover your back, just in case.

What do trade plate drivers do? ›

A trade plate driver is someone who drives cars or vans from A to B for a job. They are also known as a "professional driver". Trade plate drivers are normally retired men who drive cars around the UK to supplement their income.

What is a trade plate vehicle? ›

A trade plate is a temporary number plate used by motor traders or vehicle testers to save them the cost and time to register and tax every vehicle temporarily in their possession.

Is it legal to buy number plates online? ›

Yes, you can buy new license plates online. As a registered supplier we can provide optimally manufactured replacement number plates to ensure the public do not find themselves with any unwanted costs or fines for displaying number plates that are damaged or are not being displayed at a readable standard.

How do you print number plates? ›

How to Print a Number Plate - YouTube

Do number plates have to have manufacturer? ›

Legally, the number plates attached to your car need to be made by a manufacturer who is registered on the DVLA's Register of Number Plate Suppliers (RNPS).
...
Dimensions for number plates fitted after 1st September 2001.
Character Height79 mm
Character Width (except the figure 1 or letter I)50 mm
Character stroke14 mm
3 more rows

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