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Guide to making money from private number plates

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Although it seems strange, investing in private number plates can actually garner you a good amount of money. Private number plates are unique and can’t be duplicated in the area they’re registered in until they’re unregistered. Since the popularity of these plates in the past decade, everyone is looking for the perfect plate. 

This is where you come in. You may need to look for ways to fund your startup business or simply be looking for a sided hustle to make extra income. If you invest in specific nameplates, or even low digit dateless plates, you could see tremendous returns on your investments. Understanding the market here is vital, so knowing which number plates will be profitable in the future based on trends will help you.

I’m always intrigued by ways to make money from home and discovering unique side hustles with good returns for your efforts.  Buying and selling number plates could be a great little side earner.  Here are some tips if you are interested.

How to make money with private number plates:

Buy low

The cardinal rule for business is to buy low, sell high. Buying cheap personalised registrations in bulk below market value will make it more likely you’ll see a return in the future. Pay attention to registration numbers that might be easy to sell. 

Popular initials that contain interesting names or words are likely to sell. Try to find plates that don’t replace a letter with a number (“4” for “A,” “3” for “E”) as most will want a more seamless plate that’s easy to read. Keep in mind that vowel initials will sell higher than lesser-used letters like X, Y, V, or Z. 

Where to find them

You could buy a car that already has a plate on it at a used car lot. Registrations that have no significance to the buyer will sell for cheaper. Look in the local paper, online paper, and the classifieds. If you use online marketplaces, search private number plates and see what shows up.

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DVLA auction

You can also go to auctions, specifically the DVLA auction. The DVLA is one of the best places to find rare, sought after private number plates. Over 1500 plates go on sale each year, some are wholesales, and some are individual. Of course, buying in bulk will be cheaper, but the more interesting unreleased plates will have to be bought individually. 

These auctions will show off registrations that are dateless and read common names. DVLA auctions are held every couple of months. They also offer an online auction, which makes it even easier to participate in the auction from anywhere and saves the cost of driving to and from the building.

Sell high

Sell your private plate number through a dealer. Similar to a gold-selling service, the dealer will evaluate the price of your plate. Marks on the plate, the popularity of the name, and previous selling prices all play a part in the evaluation. 

You can sell them assigned to a vehicle, or separate from. Keep in mind that you need to transfer the number off the registration if you’re selling your car, or else the buyer of your vehicle has full rights to that registration. Applications to keep registration numbers can take up to 3 weeks, so be prepared for this wait time when you’re thinking of selling a car.