How Many Dealer Plates Do I Really Need?

So you’ve finally decided that you need to do something about those dealer demo plates. Now all you have to do is decide what you need to do. There are several things you can and should do.

  1. You need to determine how many demo plates you really need to operate your store efficiently.
  2. You need to make demo plates readily available to personnel who need them when they need them.
  3. You have to know where your demo plates are and who has them.
  4. You need to know if any are lost, stolen or misappropriated.
  5. You need to take control of your demo plates.

Let’s take a look at determining how many demo plates you really need to operate your store efficiently. There are at least two basic categories of demo plates in most dealerships; there are those that are affixed to vehicles used by certain employees of the dealership and there are those used for doing demo rides. For the most part, the demo plates that are affixed to vehicles do not present a problem. Their location and disposition are known. As for the plates used for demo rides, most dealerships, for one reason or another have decided that they need at least one plate for each salesperson to use. These are the plates that are most likely to be a control risk factor. There are several reasons for this:

First of all, the plates are not permanently affixed to any vehicle so their disposition is not known; they may be in a salesperson’s desk drawer or on a vehicle out on a demo drive or on a vehicle that doesn’t even belong to the dealer on business that has nothing to do with the dealership. The possibilities are endless and so is the risk potential. The larger the number of plates you have in this category the greater your liability exposure.

To find out how many demo plates you need at your dealership for demo purposes you have to look at your sales records. From this information you should be able to determine how many demo rides your sales team gave in the busiest month in the last twelve-month period. Once you have determined the number of demo rides your team has given, you can multiply that number by the number of hours duration of an average demo ride. Next, divide the hours of demo time by the number of sales persons on your team, and you get the number of hours in the period that each member of your team actually needs a demo plate.


dr = monthly demo rides
hr = avg hours per demo ride
sp = salespersons
hw = avg monthly hours worked per salesperson
pr = percentage of hours worked that dealer plates are required

I know that such mathematical calculations cannot exactly represent  the real world environment. If I were to suggest that a member of your team needed a demo plate 30% of the time he or she was on duty, would you consider that to be a fair assessment? It is according to the above equation. If so, you actually only need one dealer plate for every three salespersons.

Now to make that work, all dealer plates would have to be made available to all the members of the team all the time. That is where a good dealer plate control system comes into play, making all your dealer plates available to your sales team all the time while keeping them safe, secure and in a known location so their disposition is known when they are not in use.