How long does it take to sell a personalised number plate?

This question is always a difficult one to answer. It is asked by almost everyone who approaches Simply Registrations with a number plate they wish to sell. Whilst there are definitely some influential factors such as price and desirability, until a buyer is prepared to part with their hard-earned money and commit to the purchase, you just never know.

Many years of buying and selling private number plates has taught me this business can make you look foolish. As an example; I bought the registration BEN 962 many years ago expecting to sell it fairly quickly for a modest profit. It sold in December 2012 for a modest profit; however I had it in stock for over seven years. In contrast, less than three weeks ago I purchased the registrations 79 SD & SHC 7 expecting to have them in stock for the average length of time which tends to be two to three years. 79 SD sold within days of me buying it and we have just taken a part-payment against SHC 7.

Influential Factors

The asking price is likely to have some impact on how long a personalised plate takes to sell, but it doesn’t always just come down to price. We currently have 9 JSE in stock, probably the lowest priced single-digit JSE plate on the market. However that doesn’t necessarily mean that 9 JSE will sell before 5 JSE or JSE 7 which are also for sale, albeit with higher asking prices. If Jason S Edwards is looking for a cherished registration and he was born on the 5th of March, it is likely that 5 JSE would be his first choice.

The desirability of the registration should also have some bearing on how quickly it sells, or doesn’t sell as the case may be. The initials AJB or SMC are much more popular than combinations such as VGR or HBN. But if Helen B Nelson has just bought herself a brand new car and is eager to get a private plate for it, you may just get lucky if you have an HBN registration for sale.

Spreading the Word

If you want to stand a good chance of selling your number plate you’ve got to let potential buyers know that it is for sale. We promote the Simply Registrations website at every opportunity and advertise regularly in selected motoring publications such as What Car? Motor Sport and Auto Express. We also circulate our entire stock of personalised registrations among the trade which often results in other trusted dealers selling our stock via their websites or advertisements.

Common sense suggests that a registration which can be found on dealer websites, in adverts within car magazines and maybe even listed on Ebay will stand a better chance of selling than one which is photographed and carefully placed inside a newsagent’s window.

My fifteen years of buying and selling private number plates suggests you should allow at least two, or maybe even three years to sell a personalised registration. There will always be external forces at work which may help or hinder the sale of your plate, whilst price and desirability could also influence timescales. If you have a registration that you are considering selling, you may find this guide useful which provides further details on how to sell a private number plate.