If you’re wondering, “How do I sell my number plate?”, you’ve come to the right place.
In this article, we’ll give you the lowdown on how to sell a private number plate, including how to stay on top of the paperwork, the UK regulations you need to adhere to, and where might be best to do it.
How do I go about selling my number plate?
You can apply for your private (or personalised) number plate to be assigned to someone else if you no longer want to use it. You can either do this yourself or through a dealer.
The V778 retention document and V750 certificate of entitlement
If you’ve already started the process of researching how to sell your number plate, then you’ve probably seen the V778 and the V750 mentioned — a lot.
Although these two important documents serve a similar purpose when it comes to selling your car’s registration number, there are subtle differences between them.
The V778 retention document (a green document) helps drivers to retain (as the name suggests) a private number plate that’s no longer being used on their vehicle. The V750 certificate of entitlement, on the other hand, is a pink document for new private car registrations that haven’t ever been attached to a vehicle.
After the transfer
Once you’ve successfully transferred your private number, your vehicle will usually be reverted to its original registration by the DVLA automatically and you’ll receive a new V5C log book and an updated V778. A big plus of telling the DVLA about the transferral of your number plate online is it will (usually) be reassigned immediately.
The new owner of the registration number will need to put the new number plates on their vehicle and inform their insurance company about the change before they start driving.
Can I sell my number plate back to the DVLA?
No. The DVLA won’t buy back your car’s number plate.
As a rule, the DVLA doesn’t sell second-hand number plates. The DVLA only holds or sells so-called “cherished registrations” and provides new vehicle number plates.
Cherished number plates
A cherished number plate, unsurprisingly, is a number plate that’s particularly sought after, and so tends to be higher in value. Examples include named plates, for example, “P3 TER”, and dateless formats including “REG 1”.
What are the rules for selling my UK number plate?
There are some scenarios in which you can’t sell your number plate according to UK law.
These include situations in which:
- The registration is non-transferable according to the V5C log book
- The vehicle no longer exists, for example, it’s already been scrapped
- You’re not the registered keeper of the vehicle or you don’t have the consent of the keeper
- Your vehicle is not registered with the DVLA in the UK
- The vehicle can’t move under its own power
- The vehicle is not subject to MOT or heavy goods vehicle (HGV) certification (for example, a tractor’s registration number can’t be transferred)
- Your vehicle is a historic (classic) car with no current MOT certificate (even though these types of vehicles are often exempt from MOTs)
If the registration number you want to sell is currently being used on your vehicle, make sure that your vehicle is up to date in terms of its tax and MOT. Also make sure that your vehicle is available for inspection if the DVLA decides to contact you.
You’ll also need to check the V750 or V778 document for your car’s private registration hasn’t expired. If you need a replacement V750 or V778 (if your copy has been lost or stolen), you can apply for a new one from the DVLA online or through the post. More details are available on gov.uk.
Where is the best place to sell my number plate?
If you want to sell your private number plate, you have a range of options: sell it privately, through a number plate dealer, or at an auction.
Selling your number plate privately
Once you’ve found a suitable buyer, you’ll need to let the DVLA know that you’re assigning your car registration to someone else. You can do this online or by post and will need details from your V778 or V7S0, as well as from the V5C of the buyer’s vehicle.
Selling your number plate through a number plate dealer
Reputable number plate dealers take most of the hassle of selling your car’s private registration — usually by arranging a buyer, and handling payment and transfer for you. However, it’s worth noting that there is often some kind of fee associated with this service, as many dealers work on commission.
The DVLA has a list of personalised registration dealers that have “agreed to comply with DVLA’s terms and conditions of trading practices”, which is worth checking out if you’d like to pursue this option.
Selling your number plate at an auction
Rather confusingly, the DVLA does hold auctions of personalised registrations, but you can’t sell your number plate in one of these. They’re only for previously unissued registration numbers that have been held by the DVLA.
But there are private auctions by number plate dealers and auctioneers out there, too. And these might be a good option, especially if you think your private number plate could be in high demand. Again, auctioneers tend to charge some kind of commission, so always do your research before deciding to put your plate up for sale.
Whichever option you choose, be careful with your V778 or V750 documents. According to advice published on gov.uk, “someone other than the buyer might use it to put the private number on another vehicle”. So don’t share images (either photographs or scans) of your V750 or V778 document.
How much could my number plate be worth?
While there isn’t an exact answer to how much your private number could fetch on the market, there are several factors that could bump up its selling price.
Here are a few distinguishing features that may drive up your plate’s market value:
- Plates that spell names, particularly shorter, more common ones such as DAN, SUE, MEL etc.
- Plates that feature popular words, for example, BOY, BAD, FUN and those that incorporate numbers, for example, MI55 and BO55
- Special numbers, such as the car’s model number or a birthday
- Private plates with historical significance. For example, the first number plate issued in the UK, A1, is currently valued at £5 million according to CarReg
What do I need to do once I’ve sold my number plate?
If your vehicle’s registration number has changed as a result of selling your private number plate (i.e it wasn’t on retention), then there are a few things you’ll need to update, including:
- The details held by your insurance company
- Any automatic payment accounts that use your vehicle’s current registration, for example, for the Congestion Charge
V778 retention documents issued after 2015 expire after 10 years, so remember to renew your right to use the private registration on gov.uk. You can do this up to 28 days before the expiry date, but not before.
In summary: how to sell your number plate
When it comes to selling your private number plate, you have three main options: selling it privately, through a dealer, or at an auction. The DVLA will not buy back your number plate.
The option you choose will depend on how much you think your plate could be worth, whether you’re willing to deal with the necessary paperwork, and whether you’re happy with the commission and/or fees taken by a dealer or an auctioneer.
Whichever option you choose, the DVLA will need to be notified of the transfer. And you’ll need to make sure you have your vehicle’s V5C log book and either the V778 or V750 document for the number plate you want to sell. Currently issued V778 and V750 documents expire after 10 years, so it’s important to keep yours updated.
Once you’ve sold your number plate, remember to update your vehicle’s registration details with your insurance company and on any automatic payment services that hold your current registration on file.