Trade plates are temporary number plates that allow a vehicle to be used on the road when it isn’t licensed or taxed. In the UK they’re typically white with red letters on, and consist of fewer characters than the usual British number plate. They make life a lot easier when it comes to obtaining new vehicles, as you don’t have to keep taxing and registering every single car – you just stick a trade plate on there, and you’re sorted.
Understandably though, not everybody can just put a trade plate on and save going through any of the hassle required to legally drive a vehicle on public roads. Trade plates have to be applied for through the government, and usually last either 6 or 12 months, varying in cost accordingly. There are a number of different plates, dependant on whether you’re buying your first plate or renewing an existing one, with different rates dependant on the time of year.
Motor Traders typically use Trade Plates when relocating vehicles after buying them or bringing them home from an auction, but one good use for them is a relocation of business. I noticed a local car garage to me had moved not so long ago, and the thought that popped into my head, was “that must have been a right pain moving all of those cars!” … maybe it was, but having Trade Plates meant that each car didn’t need to be individually registered or taxed to do so!
Unfortunately in some cases people use trade plates for the wrong reasons, and try to cut corners. They tend to only be used when transporting a vehicle that isn’t taxed (source: https://www.onesureinsurance.co.uk/motor-trade-insurance), yet many pay for trade plates for vehicles they use on a daily basis. In some circumstances this can seem pointless as they’re still paying money for the plates that they could have spent taxing it properly, but some people believe that it’s unnecessary hassle.
Just make sure that you only acquire trade plates if you need them, as incorrect use of them can dig you into quite a hole. If you do get them eventually, just make sure that you follow all guidelines for their use, which can be found online, as the more genuine your business is in terms of the way you run it, the more trustworthy you will be over time from an official standpoint, and that can count for a lot.