Getting a unique number plate is a great way to give your car a bit more personality – and they can also become interesting collector’s items. From names, birthdates and initials to amusing words or beloved sports teams, personalising your number plates can be done for sentimental reasons, or simply to help you stand out on the road.
Either way, buying a number plate is a surprisingly simple process if you go through a trusted dealer. For instance, CarReg offer number plates in a range of different formats, which can be easily ordered online and transferred quickly to your ownership.
Number plates can be a big purchase, though, so it’s important to think carefully about what you want to buy. Here are five key considerations to think through before you start personalising your ride.
Setting a suitable budget
The cost of personalised number plates can vary wildly depending on how desirable they are. While some plates can be picked up for under a hundred pounds, the most popular can run to tens of thousands. Shorter plates – think ‘A1’ – are the most exclusive of the lot, and are usually only picked up by dedicated collectors.
The amount that you’re willing to spend will depend on your personal financial situation, and we would suggest setting your budget before you start hunting for the perfect number plate. This will help you to set a realistic expectation about what you might be able to afford. Even at the lower end of the price range there are still plenty of options to choose from.
Choosing a number plate that will hold value
While some number plates may be expensive, they can also be a savvy financial investment. Historically, the value of number plates has risen each year, and there’s every reason to believe that this trend will continue. Generally speaking, shorter number plates are considered to be the most desirable, so it stands to reason that their value will increase by the biggest margin. Plates that spell out popular names or common phrases also have a high chance of finding a buyer in years to come.
There’s never any guarantee that the value will go up, so we wouldn’t necessarily recommend number plates specifically as an investment opportunity. However, if you’re choosing between several different options then it’s worth considering which one is most likely to make you some money in the future.
Understanding the purchase process
We’ve already said that the process for buying a number plate is surprisingly simple. However, it’s still important to understand how it all works before you get started. When you buy a number plate, you’re not actually purchasing the physical plate. Instead, you’re buying the right to use that number as the registration for your vehicle.
This means that you won’t be getting any chunky parcels in the post – but you will receive a DVLA Certificate of Entitlement. This piece of paper proves that you have the right to use that number. You’ll then be able to go to a local supplier and have the number plate made to order.
Buying from a reliable seller
Unfortunately, as in any industry, there are some less scrupulous sellers out there simply looking to make a quick buck. It’s important to buy from a reputable seller, as using fake plates could lead to legal trouble or problems with your insurance. Watch out for sellers who are selling number plates at prices that seem too good to be true. You can also check reviews on a site such as TrustPilot to check whether others have had a good experience.
Allowing time for the transfer process
Finally, you need to be aware that the process of transferring a new number plate to your ownership takes a few days to complete. This is important, because you are legally required to wait for ownership to be transferred before you start using your new registration number.
Luckily, the transfer process is simple – and dealers like CarReg can even complete the transfer for you if you don’t want to handle the paperwork. Typically, the process takes around seven-ten days, so you won’t be waiting too long to get your personal numbers out onto the road.