Michael Wiener

You have to have a very diverse inventory so that you can attract the broadest possible audience. If you don’t have what a customer wants, try to find it!


Michael Wiener is a world-renowned expert in the field of automobile license plates and motor vehicle licensing systems. He is a devoted professional, business founder, spent 25 years as a New Mexico Licensed Real Estate Broker, a TV personality, entrepreneur, and accomplished license plate collector with a passion for world travel. He was a founding member of the first New Mexico MADD Chapter and served as their spokesperson. Additionally, Mr. Wiener was the editor of “The License Plate Book” for over a decade and created New Mexico’s Diamond Jubilee 75th Anniversary commemorative official front license plate series.

The public has recognized his devotion, hard work, and honesty, and elected him to serve his community and state as an Albuquerque City Councilor, a New Mexico State Senator, and a Bernalillo County Commissioner. Councilor Wiener started the Albuquerque Office of Recycling, established the Police Helicopter program, built a Police Substation and got APD officers their first bulletproof vests. Senator Wiener sponsored many pieces of legislation concerning motor vehicle laws, the enforcement of mandatory auto insurance, and special registration plates. Commissioner Wiener strengthened Animal Protection laws, got inmates working cleaning up the county and making their own uniforms, built new little league baseball facilities, and dedicated a Hang-Gliding Park to his most famous constituent (the last man to walk on the Moon).

He is a 47-year ALPCA member (and was twice elected its international President) with an extensive license plate collection consisting of well-over 100,000 antique and rare license plates. Due to his knowledge and extensive experience, Michael Wiener serves as a reference source/consultant for motor vehicle departments, law enforcement agencies, television, and motion picture production on subjects related to motor vehicles and automobile plate history. By the time he was 23, Michael had visited all 50 states and he has now explored over 100 countries throughout the world. He was honored with the Outstanding Leadership Award by his peers at the Mid Region Council of Governments in 2013 and has been nominated twice to the ALPCA Hall of Fame.

Where did the idea for Bestplates come from?

It came to me very naturally, as the name Bestplates means I always strive to have the very best license plates for my customers.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I start early, and I work late to answer emails, texts, and phone calls, fill orders, organize inventory, and make sure everyone on eBay who has a question gets an answer. Plus, I promise same-day shipping, which can be a real challenge!

How do you bring ideas to life?

I listen carefully, and I ask lots of questions; this is how I learn what works and what doesn’t. I always try to compare notes with my competitors as they are doing the same thing I am. I take the ideas that have worked and implement them!

What’s one trend that excites you?

Graphic, colorful license plates have created so much interest; people who never before paid any attention to license plates are now enthralled by all of the different designs that exist. In recent years, many new artists have emerged and made unique artwork out of these plates. Look at my website: bestplateart.com to see some of these clever creations!

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Hard work, dedication, and drive have enabled me to be very productive. I am also always positive and try to avoid negativity!

What advice would you give your younger self?

Never give up! Persistence definitely pays off!

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Listen carefully – you have two ears and one mouth!

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

You have to have a very diverse inventory so that you can attract the broadest possible audience. If you don’t have what a customer wants, try to find it!

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I made the mistake of opening a retail business. I worked seven days a week and fourteen hours daily. I soon realized that this lifestyle was not for me, and after five years, I was able to sell the business.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

If someone wanted to develop a business without inventory – you could easily buy items that are improperly listed or available on eBay underpriced. These can be bought cheaply and then re-listed correctly and sold for much more. All it takes is time, some limited working capital, and common sense.

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I recently stayed in a very luxurious hotel in Bangkok. I thoroughly enjoyed that mini-vacation and time away from everything. It is so important in life to build in time to rest and to enjoy life.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

I have five useful websites that let others know who I am and what I do.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

“How to Win Friends and Influence People” by Dale Carnegie. I took 5 Dale Carnegie courses; they changed my life and gave me the self-confidence and sensitivity to understand the needs of others. The courses also taught me how to sell and to close transactions.

What is your favorite quote?

“It is nice to be important…but more important to be nice!”

Key Learnings:

  • Never give up, persistence pays off!
  • Listen carefully to others, ask questions, and show genuine interest.
  • Have a diverse inventory so you can attract the broadest possible audience.