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How can I sell my number plate?

There are many ways you can sell your number plate but not all are as safe, effective and inexpensive, as others so you need to be very careful which method you choose.

Let’s consider the different ways to sell number plates:

Selling your number plate Privately

You can put an advert in a newspaper or magazine:

Better make sure this is a motoring publication or else you may be advertising to someone who hasn’t even got a vehicle or is just looking for a holiday! 

This way costs money and the amount you pay depends on how many people read the publication. The bigger the audience then the higher the cost. Publications also have very short ‘shelf lives’ some daily, some weekly and some monthly. Number plates are very personal things so think about how many people who might be looking to buy a number plate, are likely to be reading and then how many of those may fancy your particular number plate at exactly the same time as you are advertising. Before you know it, you’ll realise that the number of likely buyers will be very, very, small, particularly if the next day there’s a new publication and the old one with your advert is wrapping a portion of fish and chips!

You can put a free advert on Gumtree or some other online free-ads website:

Once again carefully consider which section on the free ads website to place your advert. Ideally you want your advert to appear in a section that is vehicle -related and not pets, sporting or baby-related. Very few free advert platforms have a private number plates section due to the simple fact that buyers look elsewhere to find number plates. Also consider how long the free advert will last and the time and trouble you may need to go to, to keep re-posting your advert if your number plate doesn’t sell quickly.

You can auction your number plate on eBay:

Probably the best Do it Yourself option to get your number plate listed where there are others for sale and therefore an audience, although many adverts are for companies who manufacture number plates or have plate parts for sale. Make sure you place your advert /auction listing in the section called ‘Private Number plates’ or else you may get calls for the wrong reasons!

At the time of writing there were 5300+ results for private number plates for sale and no way to search for any plate in particular, they’re not even listed in alphabetical order, meaning that buyers would need to patiently ‘trawl’ through pages and pages and pages of other people’s number plates just to get to yours.  

Also, there’s no way for buyers to contact you easily and discuss the purchase so that they can be sure that you and your plate are genuine. If you are a regular eBay user then no problem, but for the unfamiliar it’s a pretty difficult place to buy items that involve both parties being honest and trustworthy even if there is a money back guarantee to encourage you. There are pricings to consider, buy it now or /and auction listings, delivery costs and listing preferences such as who manages the payments, plus of course eBay is not a free advertising platform so there will be fees to pay and you may need to set up a Paypal account to get your money.

Wherever you decide to advertise your number plate……. be careful!

Selling Privately ultimately involves a great deal of trust! Consider that you will be communicating with complete strangers to negotiate a fair price and then you will have to agree how you will get paid and at what time, …. precisely. 

Imagine that the buyer gets what he wants from you using a false name and never pays up, it happens! One of the main ways it ‘happens’ is when trusting sellers post pictures of government certificates online and thieves just use those document numbers to transfer the registration marks onto vehicles that they have control of, without the owners having any clue whatsoever, …. easy!

So, consider further, your private plate will either be on your vehicle or on a government certificate but either way, those documents will also display your personal details on them, details that you really should not be sharing with a complete stranger whom you have never met and whom you are never likely to meet, as nearly all transactions are at ‘arm’s length’

eBay has a guarantee but this only works for buyers who don’t get the goods that they pay for. As a seller, as soon as you have shared an image of your V5 registration document or government holding certificate on which your number plate is being retained, its already too late!

Let’s now consider the potentially safer way, of asking a number plate specialist agency to sell your number plates for you.

Selling your number plates through a Specialist Agent

"Selling my number plate through an agent is safe, right?" 

Not necessarily, because unfortunately, some agents are more trustworthy and professional than others.

Getting your free number plate valuation

Agents should be able to help sellers like you in many ways. First off, because they are specialists, they should be able to give you a pretty good idea of how much your private number plate is worth. Getting a free number plate valuation online is quite easy, buy don’t be surprised if you get different figures from different firms, because valuing number plates is notoriously tricky. A reputable agent will always consider many factors apart from the obvious ones and give you a range of the value you can expect to achieve on the open market. They will look at how popular your letters and number may be and how active the market is, together with sales of similar marks (if there have been any) and the conditions of those sales. Prices achieved in public auctions will nearly always be higher than single sales, due to competition between buyers, for example.

This is the first place that you may be taken advantage of. Unscrupulous agents have been known to down-value number plates and buy them off unwitting sellers for a pittance, only to re-list them for sale at their true value the following day! They do have to make a profit, and some sellers are desperate for cash, but be aware that some firms take full advantage of the lack of knowledge and experience of the seller.

Also be wary of agents who are telling you ‘What you want to hear’ and are overvaluing your plate just so that they can get it on their website and hammer down the price later on when no offers are forthcoming!

So, do your homework!

To combat this, go online and check independent reviews of any agents that you may be considering. (Trustpilot.com Reviews.io Goggle reviews etc) 

Make sure you read their 1-star reviews to get the full picture of how they treat their customers.

Next, take a look at their credentials. 

On their website be immediately suspicious if it’s difficult to find important information in their ‘About Us ‘page or their Terms and Conditions of Business. Look for their Information Commissioners’ Office (ICO) listing- vital if they are to hold your personal information and are legal data controllers, as they ought to be. Look for their Vat registration number; any firm of a significant size needs to be vat registered with the government by law. Check their DVLA RNPS (registered number plates supplier) registration number, again a legal requirement if they supply acrylic number plates to the UK public.

Now, take a good look at their sale listings to get an idea of what your private plate is worth, fore-warned is fore-armed! 

Try them out to see how good they are!

Try their online number plate sales search to see whether you get what you expect when you enter your search request, or something completely different and unexpected! How good a match is the search result? How easily will a buyer searching for your plate be able to find it?

Remember, ……if you found this agent easily, then your buyer will find them easily too!

Next, see what they are offering as a sales service and what it will cost you

Most reputable agents will nowadays offer you a FREE sales service provided you uphold your end of the bargain and sell your plate once you have agreed to do so. They may even offer FREE valuations for prospective clients. They can do this for free because the buyer pays all their costs.

Take a close look at their Terms and Conditions of business. If you can’t easily find them then be suspicious, as they may not be keen to let you know that by asking for a FREE Valuation you are actually listing your number plate For Sale!

If you can find them then do try to read them to make certain they are fair and that if they are offering FREE advertising, it really is free, provided you uphold your end of the bargain and sell your plate once you have agreed to do so.

The main benefits of using a reputable private number plate sales agent

Apart from getting your price right; agents are specialists and so they devote their whole website and advertising spend to the process of selling private registration marks. They will list millions of registration marks and should have highly trained personnel, skilled at negotiation so that both buyer and seller get a great deal.

They should have plenty of buyers looking at their website every day and Trusted Associates throughout the country who they can enlist to help sell your number plate, for no extra effort on your part.

By law, they are beholden to protect your identity from the buyer and their identity from you, so that you have a safe arms-length transaction, and no comeback

They should save you the hassle of dealing with time-wasters who like your plate but can’t really afford it and so make silly offers, which you ought not be considering.

They should be able to offer your buyer many ways to pay, including finance, so that they can better afford your plate.

They should have secure systems and procedures that allow them to take full payment before you relinquish control of your private registration mark. That way you know you will definitely get paid, no matter what

The best private plate dealers or agents will do all this for a small cost that the buyer will pay, meaning that you get the figure you hope for. The not so good ones will ask you to consider low offers for your plate and pocket the difference, so beware!

If you have enjoyed this guide and you wish to get a free number plate valuation then please use the email valuation@plates4less.co.uk 

Or complete the form below to set up your own FREE account