Selling private number plates can be highly lucrative, particularly if you own a cherished (dateless) plate. However, how should you go about it?
To begin with, sellers must understand that the trading market for second hand personalised plates is quite limited. The largest auction market in the UK, DVLA’s auction website, only sells new or recirculated plates. As such, your options are narrowed down to just three: private sales, website brokerage and online auction marketplaces.
A private sale of a number plate is a very time consuming and hit and miss affair. Unless you have access to a pool of ready buyers (in which case, you shouldn’t even be reading this guide), you will need to widely advertise your number plate to get the word out. One advertisement is not going to do the trick, however. Instead, you will need to advertise repeatedly in numerous websites and even newspaper classified ads, depending on your target market. Online classified websites such as Craigslist and Gumtree are also good options.
You need to be prepared to invest a not insignificant amount of time and money before you eventually find a buyer. The good news is, you don’t have to pay any commission to anyone. The bad news is, your profit margin would’ve gone down due to your advertising expenditure.
There is a growing number of websites which offer brokerage services to both buyer and seller of personalised plates. The chances of a sale are comparatively higher here, as there are existing community of direct buyers and flippers at such websites.
If the website is led by an experience broker, he will use his connections with car dealers, traders and speculators to push your plate. In fact, if your plate is attractive enough, the broker might even buy the plate directly from you. However, a conflict of interest can emerge here since you are reliant on the broker for your number plate’s valuation. Owing to your likely inexperience, you probably cannot determine if your plate is being undervalued.
Your best bet would be to take your plate to major online brokerages like nationalnumbers.co.uk and regtransfers.co.uk, which has developed solid reputations in the sector over the years.
Auction marketplaces such as eBay, Bonanza and eBid are also worth a try. Most of the listings just wither and die, but really good registration marks are sometimes snapped up.