Once a symbol of the social elite, and normally only seen on luxury cars of the rich and famous, the private number plate industry has boomed in recent decades.
Private number plates have become universally more popular, with a much wider range now available to suit a variety of budgets. To some, assigning a private plate is a status symbol and to others they are a fun way of adding a personalised touch to your vehicle that a randomly assigned combination of numbers and letters does not achieve.
But one of the big questions surrounding private number plates is: 'are they a good option for me?'
As with most products we buy and sell, things can go up and down in value over time. A lot of this is dependent upon the supply and demand of a particular product.
Generally, when demand increases, the price goes up, and if supply is also low, then the price can skyrocket even higher. But then again, the opposite can also happen - low demand tends to drive down prices as people are not willing to pay for it.
So how does this affect you, if you want to consider purchasing in private number plates?
Private number plates as an economic option
If you are looking to make money from private number plates, then you need to pay the right price for it in the first place. The price of private number plates varies considerably, starting from about £200 and can go into the thousands.
One of the most expensive personalised plates ever sold in a UK auction was back in 2014. The registration plate '25 O' was sold for £400,000 (which became £500,000+ once taxes and sales fees were added). It is estimated to now be worth over £10 million.
And the world's most expensive car registration? It consisted of the single digit '1' and was bought by Saeed Abdul Ghaffar Khouri back in 2008 in Abu Dhabi, UAE for £7.2 million - who knows what this is now worth in today's market?
It is unlikely that your plates will be worth anywhere near these numbers - but it could well have increased in value since you purchased it.
The key is to find a private number plate that will increase in value over time. You are unlikely to find a buyer for the randomly allocated registration plate assigned to your car when it was produced.
Short private number plates, also known as cherished number plates, like T1 and R19, tend to return a profit as they are more rare and more desirable, whereas a plate with your initials may not have such a high value to most people - unless it is someone with the same initials as you.
Specific names, such as D4 VID and L34 NNE, cost a lot of money to buy initially, but you have a better chance of finding a buyer, provided you can find someone who is looking for that name and that exact combination.
Click here to see our full range of private number plates for men's names and private number plates for women's names.
Do private number plates hold their value?
If you want to make your car stand out with a personalised number plate, you can expect to pay top money for the most popular combinations of numbers and letters. But, it is definitely possible to get affordable personalised plates - so it is important that you have a budget in mind first of how much you want to spend.
Buying a private number plate is just like dealing in stocks and shares - it is about speculating their future value. They might go up, down or stay the same and will certainly fluctuate over time.
Ultimately, something is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it - if someone has the money and is willing to pay anything to get their hands on it, then the price can increase considerably. Or if you have something that multiple people want, then you can end up in a bidding war and gradually see the price inflate.
You can search for a plate to find its value on our website and we will be able to give you an idea of how many people are looking for either that number plate or similar number plates.
Provided you are fully aware of the risks, purchasing in private number plates has the potential to increase in value over time.
Can I own more than one private number plate?
One of the advantages of owning private number plates is that there is no limit as to how many you can own. It is perfectly acceptable to buy multiple personalised plates and sell them on when you are ready to.
However you should bear in mind that if they are not being used on a vehicle, you have to renew your private number plates every 10 years - and if they were bought before 2015, then it may need renewing more often. You should check your V750 or V778 document to confirm this.
If you do not renew it before the expiry date, then you will lose the right to use that number plate.
Putting your private number plate on older vehicles
Perhaps you own an older vehicle and want to spruce it up a bit. Or maybe you are cautious and you do not want people to know the age of the vehicle you are driving or your vehicle is looking dated and you want to give it a new lease of life.
Private number plates can certainly change the appearance of your vehicle and are a much cheaper alternative to replacing the car completely.
A standard registration will indicate the age of the vehicle whereas a personalised private number plate makes this less obvious.
It is worth noting that trying to make your car appear younger than it is is illegal. However, using dateless number plates to hide the age of your vehicle is perfectly legal.
Therefore by purchasing a private number plates, you get the feel of driving a slightly newer or refurbished car without the huge, additional cost.
Private number plates for businesses
The major pull factor of private number plates is that they are not just for personal vehicles; they can be an excellent addition to a work vehicle too.
One of the main advantages is that they can be used as a marketing strategy - having a number plate that is memorable, conspicuous and easily spotted means that when people see you driving around, they are more likely to take note.
Essentially, by purchasing some private number plates for your work vehicle, this is a way of advertising your business to prospective customers.
They will obviously cost you money to begin with, but by bringing in extra customers, this will generate further income for your business.
And at the end of the day, if you find they are not proving to be useful or you no longer want them, then you can always sell your number plate to try and retain your initial cost or, even better, make a profit.
You will never forget your number plate again
We have all been there - trying to find where you parked your car or putting your vehicle registration details into a payment machine and you just can't quite remember what it is.
This issue is that the random combination of numbers and letters assigned to your vehicle, when you purchased it, is just not memorable. The fact that it has little meaning or relevance makes it harder to remember.
By purchasing a private number plate, this can save you time, effort and money in the long run.
And because you can transfer the same private number plate onto any new or used car that you buy, this means that you only ever have to remember one number plate ever again.
Things to be aware of when it comes to purchasing a private number plates
There are a number of things to be aware of with private number plates, particularly if you are thinking about purchasing a private number plate.
• If the price does go up, this may not be immediately - you may need to wait years or decades, depending on the demand for that particular plate.
• Finding the right buyer can be a lengthy process - you need to find someone who is looking for that exact combination of numbers and letters.
• Drivers are limited by the combinations available to use on their vehicles - so finding a number plate at a price that suits can become a difficult task. However, this can be to your advantage if you own the plate as the limited supply and increased demand will cause the value to increase.
• Importance is something that is highly subjective - some people view private number plates as a sign of uniqueness, branding or a status symbol. Some may see it as an unnecessary purchase and a waste of money.
• Private number plates are considered by many as a luxury item. During an economic downturn, one of the first things people will do to try and save money is to reduce their outgoings. Therefore the value of private number plates could go down if people are tightening their belts.
• As with anything, prices can fluctuate, increase or decrease depending on a number of factors beyond your control, and private number plates are not exempt from this.
Top tips for buying private number plates for the long term
• Do your research first to see what combinations are available and how much they will cost - look up your number plate and its potential value.
• Know your budget and stick to it - finance deals can help spread the cost but you should not pay through the nose for something that is not going to hold its value or increase.
• The more rare the combination, the more expensive it will be - common names and initials tend to have a higher value due to their increased demand.
• Look at the different types of number plates that are on offer and do not confine your search to one category.
• Buy from a trusted retailer, like Click4Reg, to ensure you are getting what you pay for.
• Take time to read the government guidelines on buying and selling private number plates so that you are fully aware of the legal requirements before making a purchase.
Knowing this information before you go through with a purchase will allow you to buy a personalised number plate with confidence and enjoy the benefits of having it displayed on your vehicle.
Generally speaking, they are a good purchase for many car owners as they tend to increase in price even as the vehicle depreciates in value.
You can always sell your private number plate if you want or need to in the future . At the very least, if and when you come to sell it, you should get back what you paid for it, and if it has gone up in value, then fantastic; more money in your pocket.
And if you do decide to keep it, and it brings you joy and happiness, then who can really put a price on that.
If you need any further information or assistance in purchasing a private number plate, then please feel free to contact us and one of our trusted team members will be more than happy to assist you.
Alternatively, you can visit our private number plates frequently asked questions page to see if the answer you are looking for is on there.