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Selling your private number plate ...

January, 27 2014

Customers Editorial Interesting

For the 30 odd years National Numbers has been operating there is always a handful of questions that just never change. In this case it is a big one, and one with many answers:

How can I sell my private number plate?

If you own a private number plate it has probably crossed your mind that it is worth selling. Number plates do tend to increase in value over time, so chances are if you were to sell your private number plate now you will get more back than you originally paid for it. It depends on the market and the buyer of course, but still worth the try.

First thing’s first, can you actually sell it? To transfer a private number plate it either needs to be on a vehicle that is taxed and tested or on a valid retention certificate. Alternatively it can be on a SORN vehicle, but only if it has been that way for less than 12 months. If it is on a vehicle you also need to check that it is not listed as “none-transferable”, as you would not be able to do it in that case either.

A private number plate of a scrapped car cannot be sold
No car, no private number plate. Dems the rules.

Next, you need to think about the price. As easy as this question should be, in practise it can actually be quite hard to answer. If you are selling a private number plate you might fall into the trap of over-thinking things. It really is simple though: how much do you want for the number plate? A private number plate is only worth what someone thinks it is worth at the end of the day, and while I agree you don’t want to under or over value your private number plate it is by far the easiest way to go about it.

If you do need help though the next best thing is to get the private number plate valued. Most private number plate dealers, some of which ever offer the service free-of-charge, can do this. Alternatively you can get a written valuation from the CNDA (Cherished Number Dealers Association), but this does cost money. Getting a valuation for someone who knows the industry is preferable to simply asking for offers – which more often than not attracts low-ball offers – or comparing your private number plate to those already listed.

Remember that at this stage you are only naming an asking price for your private number plate. It is not always the case that number plates will sell at this price. Much like when you sell a house, for example, people will see listed price as more of a guide and make an offer based on that. Some of these offers could be low, but that is why you must consider what YOU want. Sentimental value is worth something.

Don't expect this. This doesn't happen.

Once you have decided on a price you can introduce your registration to the private number plate market. The most popular way of doing this is by contacting the aforementioned private number plate dealers and advertising it with them. For the vast majority this costs nothing as they earn a commission by selling your number plate. Dealers also have a client base to market do, so the majority of the work is passed directly to them.

There are alternative ways of advertising your private number plate as well. A lot of people use eBay, Gumtree and other private merchant sites, and while this does mean in theory you are cutting out a middle man it also means you are not protected and you have to do everything yourself. Certain newspapers, such as the Sunday Times, also have a section for number plates you can sell from, but if you open up a copy you can see this is populated by a lot of private number plate dealers anyway and your advert will be tiny in comparison. Considering you would have to pay for the privilege as well? It might not be worth it.

Once it is advertised the last step is waiting for the sale. This is both the easiest and the hardest step in many regards because it can be absolutely torture waiting for the sale on your private number plate. My best advice would be to be patient and roll with the punches. You will likely receive some offers, but don’t be pressured, simply be honest with yourself and decide whether or not the amount on the table is right for you.


By . Daniel is a journalist and marketing executive who has been with National Numbers since 2012. As well as movies, Daniel's other passion is the private number plate industry. In between writing about the constant changes, Dan can be found on the phone alongside the dedicated sales team trying to help customers find their perfect number plate.

Please quote 'DT' when you phone