Simple Steps to follow when Buying Private Plates

Private number plates have become very popular among people who want their cars to stand out and to add character to their vehicle. However, many people also use private plates in order to ensure that their vehicles are easily identifiable. It may seem at first that buying a personalised number is fairly easy. However, it is not as straightforward as it may seem. It can be time consuming, it can involve some complicated processes, and there are risks you need to be aware of.

If you are unsure about where to start when buying private plates, here are the essential steps that you need to take.

1. Set a Budget

First and foremost you will need to decide on a budget. You absolutely need to decide how much you can afford in order to buy a private number plate for your vehicle. Number plates are available in a wide range of prices in the market place. If you do not set your budget, it will be quite difficult for you to select the right plate due to the vast range of numbers available. You run the risk of choosing a number plate that is way too expensive for you and subsequently regretting spending the money and as a consequence not enjoying the experience. It is a fundamental requirement to always set a budget before you start searching for your personalised number plates. This will enable you to look only for the plates that are available within your budget. By narrowing down the options in this way you will also make the process more time efficient.

2. Search for the Perfect Number Plate

Perfect Number Plate

When it comes to buying private plates, there are several options from which to choose. The first place that you should consider is the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA). By buying directly from the DVLA, you can buy un-issued registrations fairly easily. However, the DVLA do not provide you with a fully managed transfer service and you can make mistakes that can cost you time and money. If you don’t understand the fundamentals of the assignment process then you should either research the processes thoroughly or alternatively source the registration from a trusted broker that will make sure the transfer process goes smoothly and without undue delay.

DVLA auctions are another option for buying personalised number plates for a vehicle. They can provide you with exclusive number plates, sometimes at competitive prices, in order to fit with your budget. However, you may not be able to find your ideal plate through a DVLA auction, or you may find there is competition driving the price up, as has been seen in auctions where there is no fixed price. An alternative to the DVLA is to source your personalized registration number from a broker that specializes in the buying and selling of cherished numbers to members of the public. There are a number of brokers operating in the car registrations market and the number of brokers has increased significantly since 2010. If you are looking for an already issued registration, then the brokers can provide you with a range of options not available from the DVLA. Make sure to look for trusted and reputable brokers in the market place, and avail yourself of the plate of your choice, in the knowledge that you are in safe hands.

If you are still unable to find your ideal number plate through one of these options then you can always consider buying from a private individual. This approach will require investing your time searching across portals such as e-bay or Gumtree, for example. Number Plate options at any given time are going to change and you may get lucky in finding the plate of your dreams quickly but this is unlikely and you may need to spend months or years searching. You need to apply due diligence to buying from private individuals as there are risks associated with this process – there are many people that have paid money to fraudsters for a fake registration number.

3. Value the Number Plate

Once you find the best place to buy your personalised number plate, the next step is to value the plate. As you are potentially going to invest a significant amount of money in a number plate, you simply cannot purchase it blindly without verification of its value. You can research similar formats of number plate providing you understand the format types and establish a value yourself. However, there are a number of factors that influence the value of a number plate and merely looking at prices on websites can lead to confusion. You need to have a very good understanding of pricing and the factors that can influence pricing. Alternatively you can consult with a reputable broker and request independent advice or pay for a valuation in advance of buying.

Check the Price

Of course, as you have set your budget, you will be looking for number plates that fall within the limits of your budget. However, you must also verify the price being demanded by the seller and verify if the plate is worth the asking price. As mentioned there are a number of factors that determine the value of private plates. Some of the important factors include the popularity and demand for the name or the initials being used, the uniqueness, the age and history of the number plate, and relevance of the characters. Only when you feel that a numberplate offers value for your money, should you purchase it.

4. Close the Deal

Once you are satisfied with the price of your chosen personalised number plate, the final step in the process is to make your purchase. You can purchase the number plate right away or leverage any financing options available from the seller. After making your decision, you can make the payment, complete the paperwork, and close the deal. If the registration is of extremely high value and you are buying from a private client you may want to consider the services of a solicitor. You can then have the solicitor hold the documentation and exchange documentation when the 3rd party solicitor has received your payment. This does not however, guarantee that the solicitor has the knowledge needed to check the validity and authenticity of the documentation.


Buying a private number plate is not as straight forward as it might seem. It requires time and effort, and a knowledge of the processes involved. Following these steps can at least help you to make your purchase.

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