Cheapest source for millions of number plates
The UK’s fastest number plates search engine
Fast & secure online purchase
Professionally managed services & options

Where To Buy A Number Plate

If you haven’t had a private number plate for your car before, you might be curious about where people get them from. The DVLA is responsible for issuing car registration numbers in the UK, and is indeed one of the biggest sellers of personalised registrations in the British market. Cherished dealers, such as, also sell their own stock along with DVLA plates. 

Since the current style of registration plates was introduced in September 2001, the DVLA has withheld certain desirable numbers and letters, reserving them for sale instead. For example, for the Birmingham area, the letter Y is reserved, as B plus Y spells BY. In Garden of England areas, O is reserved as the word GO is created when it is added to G.

Older style registrations date from before late 2001. The prefix style preceded the new style plates, with a letter denoting the year situated at the start of the registration; this system began in 1983. Before this, the year was the very last character on the number plate, and this system applied from 1963. The very first plates were issued in 1903, and in general the shorter the sequence, the older the plate. For example, ‘A1’ was the first plate ever issued in London.

Where can I buy a private number plate?

If you want an introduction to the world of private number plates, the easiest way to begin is to search online. You can try the DVLA Personalised Registrations service, or one of a number of companies that trade in private plates. The search tools tend to be very simple to use, and very effective. You can input the name, word or numbers you want, and the system will quickly find you a list of registrations that match your criteria. In some cases, you might even find exactly what you want straight away.

When searching, you will quickly get an idea of what sort of plates are available and their corresponding price tags. If the prices seem very steep, then perhaps it’s time to think outside the box to find something uniquely yours at a more affordable price.

For example - if your name is Steve, you may search for STEVE, or if you’re called Dan then DAN - and so forth. The problem is, such names are very popular, and thus very desirable. When a certain combination of letters is sought-after, it becomes expensive simply because demand is high.

In this case, perhaps you could use your initials instead. Say for instance that Dan’s initials are DTJ. Searching for this kind of more unusual combination will reveal plates that are cheaper, and you will probably also have more choice.

Where do I get the plates made up?

Now that you’ve found the right plate at a good price, how do you buy the actual white and yellow plates to fix to your car? You need to find a registered number plate supplier. Some of the companies selling the registrations can also provide you with the plates when you order your new registration. Otherwise, specialist motoring shops and other outlets can make up plates for you locally, or you can order them online. It’s important to check that you are using a registered number plate supplier, as they will have an in-depth knowledge of the laws governing what kind of plates you can legally display and what is not permitted.

Other related FAQs

Looking for more related content to this? We’ve picked a selection of related topics that you may find helpful

If you’re searching for a personalised number plate, there are three main options to consider: you can buy directly from the DVLA at fixed or auction price, through a registration plate dealer in person or online, or purchase privately.

Most private number plates are bought and sold online, via one of the many websites - including the DVLA - that sell these plates. People may also buy number plates privately, or via a traditional auction house

Always a popular addition to vehicles, there are many websites that allow you to purchase number plates online, including the DVLA. It is safe to buy personalised number plates online as long as you take a few simple precautions.

You can buy a personalised number plate from an individual or an organisation as long as they can show that they are the legal owner of the plate. You can then assign the number to your car if you wish.

You’ll find a variety of finance products available for purchasing a private number plate. These agreements allow you to pay in monthly installments, helping you to spread the cost of your new plate.

Whether as a gift or for yourself, it’s perfectly possible to buy a number plate without a car. The registration will be put on a certificate allowing you to use or gift it to someone at a later date.

You can buy your personalised registration from the DVLA or specialist vendors and then get them made up by auto retail outlets such as Halfords, but you’ll need to provide your vehicle log book and proof of ID.

The price of a personalised car number plate in the secondary market is determined by supply and demand. Number plates featuring popular names, words or initials that are attractive to many people tend to come with a higher price tag.