Personalised number plate fees – what are they?

Personalised number plate fees – when do I pay?

Personalised number plate fees apply whenever you transfer from a car.

If you have a private registration number, there will come a time when you want to do one of these things:

  1. Transfer it to another vehicle,
  2. Hold it for a while, before putting it on another car, or
  3. Sell it on.

Whatever you want to do with your personalised number plate, DVLA fees will apply. We’ve listed the main fees below.

How much are DVLA fees for personalised number plates?

Here are the major DVLA fees charged (correct at time of publishing this article) for personalised number plates:

Personalised number plate fees

How do I pay fees?

Fees are usually payable at the time you send your application. If you’re sending everything in the post, you’ll need to include a cheque for the appropriate fee. Or, if you’re going in person to your local DVLA office, you can usually pay by card.

You will find full instructions and addresses on the back of the green V778 Retention Document or pink V750 Certificate. Or the V317 DVLA form as appropriate. See “What you need” above.

My personalised number plate is on my car – are there fees?

No. Not whilst it’s on the car.

There are no fees for your personalised number plate whilst it’s on your car. These are only payable when you want to remove it from your car, usually when you either selling the car or the registration number itself. And the amount of the fees depends on what you want to do.

Take a look below for the main things you might want to do.

More useful information:

How to transfer a private number plate

How do number plate certificates work?

What is a V778 Retention Document?

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DVLA number plate documents stolen

DVLA V750 Certificate of Entitlement for private number plate

Buyers beware when buying private number plates

DVLA is today warning buyers that they should check the Certificates for private number plates before buying them from a private seller.

That’s because 900 blank certificates have been stolen. This is the pink V750 Certificate of Entitlement. Not to be mixed up with the green V778 Retention Document.

So… if you’re offered a private registration number on a DVLA V750 Certificate of Entitlement make sure you check the serial number on the top right corner. If it falls within the range below…get in touch with the police:

5930101 to 5931000

You should also check if it looks as though the serial number for the Certificate looks like it’s been tampered with. If you have any reason to be suspicious, you should get in touch with the Northumbria Police.

If you’re buying from a legitimate private number plate company, then you don’t need to worry. Your payment to them should be protected, and it’s their responsibility to check that the paperwork is legitimate. Just make sure that they are members of the appropriate number plate Associations and offer a full guarantee.

In addition to the number plate certificates, 200 blank driver license counterparts (D470) were also stolen. That’s the paper part of your Driving Licence.

Private number plate X1 really worth a million?

Private number plate X 1

Ambitious price for distinctive private number plate

There’s been much talk about the number plate X1 coming up for sale. The PR machine has been at work to drum up lots of ‘awareness’ of the stand-out private registration number, with news of it reported in numerous places all over the internet.

What’s it all come to?


This private number plate was open for bids during the first 2 weeks of October…so bids are clearly now closed. And all is quiet. Clearly, had there been an appropriate bid, we’d know about it. So we can only assume that all the furore has (so far) come to nothing.

Not that I’m at all surprised.

In fact, I very much doubt that it was expected to sell so quickly. After all, a million pounds is no insignificant sum….even for those who have that level of finance. Similar exclusive number plates have taken years to sell.

The registration number F1 sold for a record £375k (+vat) in January 2008, though there were failed efforts a couple of years earlier.

Private registration S1 also sold to a mystery owner in September that year, for a total of £397,500. 2008 was clearly a big year for record breaking sales of private number plates in UK.

So is a million pounds for number plate X1 achievable?

Well…it may be a little high.

There’s no doubt it would look good on any car. Though if it sold for that, it would smash any previous UK record paid for a private number plate. Personally, I doubt it will quite make that price.

But ‘million’ is a nice number. And the number plate is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. I think it may take a while before this one gets ‘snapped up’…but the word is out.

Number plate valuations and commission fees

As usual, we’ve received 100′s of requests for number plate valuations this week. Nothing new there. It’s the same as any other week.

In response to valuations sent out, we often get a follow-up question…or perhaps even a challenge. As you would expect, not everyone agrees with the selling price we suggest for their personalised number plate. And some are none-too-polite about it too! But that’s ok… we take it in our stride, and we’re pretty laid back about that. After all, to some degree, it is subjective. We actively encourage clients to get 3 or more valuations before coming to any decision.
And it’s our clients who make the final decision about the selling price anyway. After all, our clients set up their own account online, and are free to add / remove / change number plates 1n their portfolio as they wish. 24hrs a day.
And judging from the feedback, our clients like it. They like it a lot.

This week we received a polite query in response to a number plate valuation we sent out. And after a couple of emails back & forth, I decided it warranted a blog post. I’m always fascinated by what our clients need. After all, without them, we don’t exist.

The query included a couple of questions….
“Could i ask what is different from your company compared to the others..?”

  1. Sell for less…
    … and still end up with more money in your pocket. In a nutshell, cut out the middleman. Selling direct to a buyer takes out the dealer’s commission fees. So you can sell for a lower price to attract a buyer.
  2. Complete control
    We put the seller in the driving seat. Our clients manage their own number plate portfolio 24/7 – whether that’s 1 or 100′s of personalised number plates.
  3. Free insertion in the revolutionary new number plate price comparison site – the only place you can compare number plate prices.

Add to that a whole heap of independent advice and tips on how to buy number plates, sell personalised number plates… how to transfer or retain a registration number.

“Do you think you can sell plates quicker?”
I like this question. From our viewpoint (and this reflects the whole reason for the existence of this site) yes. After all, if you cut out the middle man, you cut out the commission fee. So there’s room to sell for less as there’s no dealer premium built in. And if you sell for less, you reach more pockets. And everyone likes to get the best price they can…don’t they?

You see, in this case we suggested a selling price of £800-900. Other companies gave a much higher price. On investigation, the registration number is currently being advertised at £1925.

So what accounts for the difference? Commission fees, mainly. Work it out for yourself – what would you rather pay?

Personalised number plates go up in value over time

Personalised number plates always go up in value over time…
…don’t they?

As you will probably have spotted, offers free valuations for personalised number plates. Literally 100′s of number plates are valued each day. Occasionally, we get a query about the valuations we send out, asking for clarification or insight into how we’ve arrived at the valuation. And we’re always happy to do that.

One such query this week has inspired this blog.

We valued 2 personalised number plates (which were very similar) for a client. Both prefix style number plates with the digit number 1. For the sake of keeping the details anonymous, let’s say it was registration numbers C1 UUU and N1 UUU.

We valued one registration number at £900, the other at £800. Although the number plates are very similar, the C prefix attracted a higher valuation because it’s an earlier prefix. Our client questioned the valuation, advising us that she had owned the earlier prefix for over 8 years, and the later prefix for just a couple of years. And was challenging the number plate valuations on the basis that she had owned one registration number much longer than the other. A reasonable question – one that often applies to so many other “investment” based spending decisions. Unfortunately, it doesn’t necessarily work that way for personalised number plates.

So here’s an insight into some of what counts when deciding how much a number plate is worth.
The value of a number plate doesn’t necessarily increase over time. It’s more about what’s happening in the number plate market right now.

One of the factors is the popularity of the letters that sit alongside the prefix on the number plate. Some initials are more common than others… for instance, there are far more people with initials PJM than (let’s say) FRW. That means there’s more demand for PJM, and less of them available for sale… pushing up the value of the PJM number plates that are offered up for sale. There’s less demand for FRW, and the market is currently flooded with prefix number plates for the initials FRW. Great if your initials are FRW – plenty of choice and a relatively low cost. Not so good if you later decide to sell the personalised number plate as it will take some time to sell. And won’t go up much (if at all) in value.

In this particular instance, the initials that accompanied the prefix were not a common set of initials. There are around 90 single-digit prefix registration numbers with the same letters available for sale right now. And hundreds with 2+ digits – so plenty of choice for a buyer. Which means, if you’re selling, there’s a lot of competition. Low demand, lots of choice. Consequently, the number plate will not increase much in value… regardless of how long you’ve owned it.

Number plate investment
is by no means straightforward.

There are, of course, other factors which we haven’t covere. Like number plate styles, or word and name number plates.

5 tips for selling personalised number plates

Selling personalised number plates is a bit of a mystery to most of us. At any time, there are literally 10,000′s number plates for sale. So how do you know whether your is going to sell? Who is going to buy it? And how do you go about trying to sell a personalised registration plate?

Here are our 5 tips for selling a personalised number plate:

  1. Can you sell your registration plate?
    First step is to check whether you can actually sell your personalised number plate. There are some circumstances that prevent you from selling the registration number. For instance, registration plates on most tractors and milk floats do not generally qualify. See Can I sell my number plate? for full details.
  2. Get valuations
    Get lots of valuations. At least 3. If there’s a wide variation in the number plate valuations, get a couple more.
    Some personalised number plates are relatively easy to value. Like a row of houses that are all the roughly the same so it’s easy to compare number plates against another. Others are more difficult, so it’s likely these valuations will vary more.
    Number plate valuations are basically based on other similar number plates are for sale right now, and actual selling prices over the past few years…and the current economic climate.
  3. Decide how you want to sell your registration plate
    Do you want to sell quickly, or are you prepared to wait for a good price? Price your registration number for sale accordingly.
    Are you prepared to pay large commission fees, or would you prefer to cut out the middleman and sell direct to a buyer?
    If you’re in a hurry, in some circumstances, you may be able to sell to a dealer. You may need to a lot of legwork to get the best price.
  4. Decide on your selling price
    If you’re selling privately, you have control of the selling price.
    If you’re selling via a dealer, make sure you understand how the price is structured. The dealer should give you a ‘net’ price, and advise you of the commission fee they will add to that. Bear in mind that there’s no guarantee that you will achieve the ‘net’ price – it depends on the offers made.
  5. Spread yourself around
    Don’t just advertise in one place. Add your number plate for sale on any forums you’re subscribed to (especially motoring or other relevant forums), write a blog article if you have one, or add to free advertising sites. Add a link to wherever you’re selling your number plate so you don’t have to publish you personal details on the internet.

Above all, you will need to be patient. Some personalised numer plates will sell quickly, but many can take months to sell. As with anything, if there are just a few similar number plates for sale and yours is competitively priced it should relatively quickly. More expensive number plates take a little longer to sell.

Read more on how to sell a personalised number plate

Personalised Number Plates – the selling dilemma

Own a personalised number plate? Trying to decide whether it’s worth selling? Or should you just let it go with the car?

It’s a dilemma faced by thousands of owners. Usually when they come to sell their car. They decide they don’t want to keep the personalised number plate, but are left wondering whether it’s worth retaining it.

If your number plate is worth a £1000+, it’s usually a no-brainer. Retain the personalised number plate, and sell the car. Then sell the number plate separately. It may take a while to sell it, but probably worth holding on to.

See the problem is….the DVLA retention fee of £105. An upfront cost, which is prohibitive. If the personalised number plate itself is worth around £300-500, the DVLA fee to retain it seems quite high in proportion. And, generally in this price range, it’s a buyer’s market. There’s loads of choice for the buyer, so it may take some time to sell yours. And if you don’t sell within 12 months of retention, there’s the added cost of extending the number plate Retention Document for a further 12 months – another cost of £25.

As a seller, you would of course look to recoup the cost of retention from the buyer. That has to be balanced against the upfront cost of placing the number plate on retention. On the plus side, though, it is possible to get some of the £105 back should you decide to give up on selling the personalised number plate after it’s been placed on retention. If the registration number is not assigned to a vehicle it is possible to claim a refund for the assignment fee portion of the fee (i.e. £80). So all is not lost.

It’s not an easy decision to make. The key is to not just look at the valuation…but think about how likely the number plate is to actually sell. If there are lots of similar personalised number plates for sale think carefully about how much demand there’s likely to be for yours. What’s special about your number plate? If you decide to retain the number plate and sell it, then be realistic about the asking price. Price it competitively against similar number plates to make sure yours gets chosen ahead of others for sale.

You can improve your chances of selling your personalised number plate if you sell privately, because there’s no number plate dealer commission fee inflating the selling price. That puts you in a strong position to compete with others for sale.

Personal number plate valuation

Personal number plate valuations can vary a little, and sometimes a lot. And that can be a bit confusing when you’re planning to sell your cherished registration number plate.
Number plate valuations can vary for all sorts of reasons.

How are you selling your personal registration plate?

The main difference can be depending on how you’re selling your cherished registration number plate.
If you sell your cherished registration number direct to a buyer, you cut out the middle man and save on commission fees.
If you’re selling via a dealer, the amount you receive from the sale of your personal number plate will be lower because you must take into account the dealer commission fees.
You can sometimes sell your personal number plate direct to a dealer. This option will give you the lowest amount, as the dealer doesn’t know how long it will take to sell the number plate.

Number plate dealer commission fees

Dealers’ commission fees will vary.
You can ask dealers how much commission fee they will be charging. Check whether the valuation you are given is net of commission fees.
Don’t forget that the number plate valuation you are given is not a guaranteed amount. Buyers do almost always negotiate on the asking price, so the amount you receive will be affected. The dealer will discuss any offers with you, naturally.

How unique is your cherished number plate?

Some personal number plates are difficult to value. Especially very high value private number plates, and cherished registration numbers that can’t easily be compared with other number plates.

Our advice?

  1. Consider how you would like to sell your personal registration plate.
  2. Get some number plate valuations
  3. Look around at what else is on the market – price yours accordingly.

Trend in new style number plates

So what’s the deal with the new style number plates? worth buying? not worth buying?

It depends….
… are you buying a private number plate for investment?
… or are you buying it just because….?

Prefix style number plates are still the first choice for those who have the budget. Especially for those of us who would like a shortened version of our name (like GAV, or JAN). Or those initials that are very common and in high demand (like JMH).

There’s no doubt that the new style number plates are generally more affordable. With 2 issues each year, the registration numbers are in good supply. Once you’ve decided on the 3-letter combination you’re looking for at the end of the registration number, the tricky bit is deciding the first half. I’ve already blogged about how to choose a new style number plate if you’re looking at it from an investment point of view. The best combinations disappear pretty quickly.

The other trend that’s popular is to repeat initials on the registration number, like this:

JB08 JRB or

As new style registration numbers are released twice a year, they are much more attainable. The restricting factor is, of course, the age of the vehicle the number plate is going on. You cannot assign a registration number to a vehicle that is older than the year identifier on the registration number. i.e. you can’t assign JB08 JRB to vehicle that was registered in 2007.

It may be that older combinations that are similar have already gone. So what to do?

You can of course look for the appropriate 07 registration number. If that’s not available, the other option is to buy JB08 JRB and leave it on a number plate certificate until you have a vehicle of the appropriate age.

The choice is yours. It’s important, though, to be realistic. Not all registration numbers are a good investment. So make sure you know what your expectations are before you make a decision on your purchase.

How long does it take to sell a number plate?

Selling number plates is unlike selling anything else. Each registration number is unique, and means something different to each individual.

As a first option, most will choose a number plate with their name (if budget allows) or, alternatively, their initials. Others will opt for a number plate that reflects a hobby (like horses or a music number plate), or their job (such as doctor or pub).

The most common (and affordable) are initials. Some initials are more common than others. For the more common initials, there will perhaps only be a few good number plates on the market at any time. These number plates will sell relatively quickly, provided they are priced sensibly. Naturally, if there are a lot of similar number plates for sale , it will take longer to sell for two reasons:
1. Demand for those number plates is lower.
2. Potential buyers have a lot more registration numbers to choose from!
That means that prices will be lower, and they will take longer to sell.

Higher priced number plates will, of course, take longer to sell. this is simply because there are fewer buyers with high budgets.

Personal number plates are a luxury purchase. So it can take some time to sell a number plate. On average, it takes around 9-12 months to sell a registration number. Where there are many similar number plates for sale, or the number plate is in a high price bracket, this time period can increase significantly. Some number plates can take years to sell… so patience will be needed!