Whether for a company or the general public, materials needed for buildings are purchased through a builder’s merchant. These include products and materials such as masonry items such as bricks ad stone, timber, materials for the garden or exterior of a home or building, various tools and other supplies, plumbing materials, and those used for decorating. A builder’s merchant deals heavily with customer service by ensuring that customers’ orders are placed correctly and that they receive their orders in a timely fashion. Builder’s merchants are responsible for delivery and will unload the goods purchased by customers.
To ensure that you are a good fit for a career as a builder’s merchant you should have working knowledge of building supplies, the ability to organise businesses, excellent customer service skills, and be able to work independently, organise time and be in good physical condition. A great part of the job focuses on sales and you must possess self-confidence, good communication skills and have the ability to sell products easily. The builder’s merchant is responsible for making certain that customer’s thoroughly understand various products, so that they can make a qualified and well-informed decision. Therefore, builder’s merchants must be familiar with the wide range of products. Builder’s merchants must be experts in their field.
A builder’s merchant often receives on the job training and there are no special requirements to enter the field, however, this does not mean that you should not become familiar with all of the products and materials your company handles. Those with previous construction, building, retail, or even warehouse experience might have preference over those who do not. It is also possible to secure a place as a builder’s merchant by an apprenticeship scheme. You might be required to operate a forklift, so obtaining a Large Goods Vehicle (LGV license) and a forklift truck-driving license is beneficial.
Once you begin work and have gained experience you could further your career in other areas as well. Working towards your NVQs at levels 2 and 3 in sales, customer service, warehouse operations or business administration would give you the educational background needed to gain a supervisory position. A degree in retail operations would also enable you to start your own company. For further information regarding courses check with the Builders Merchants Federation. They are also a good source for gaining local apprenticeships.
Work conditions vary and you will be expected to work both evening hours and weekend. Since many companies and warehouses are open seven days a week, you would also be required to work on Sundays. Your job would require the use of safety equipment as well as a uniform. Salaries vary and trainee builder’s merchants earn approximately £10,000 per year. Those who work in the yard and have gained experience can earn between £12,500 and £16,000 per year. Those who operate the customer desk and handle sales earn approximately £18,000 per year. Overtime and bonuses are also available.