CHOOSING A CAREER / JUL. 18, 2014
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How to Become a Builders' Merchant

DIY store

Are you interested in building materials? If you like providing customers with helpful tips to help them put up new homes, you would serve best as a builders’ merchant. Builders’ merchants are responsible for supplying materials and products to the general public, tradespeople and companies. Working under a busy schedule, they make up, convey orders and guide customers on the most suitable products for a given job. This is an ideal career for someone who would like to combine both outdoor and indoor work.

What do Builders’ Merchants do?

Builders’ merchants sell do-it-yourself and building materials when needed by the general public and the building trade. These products include decorating materials, bricks, timber, gardening equipment and plumbing supplies. Sometimes they might assume the sales assistant duties. As a builders’ merchant, your duties include but are not limited to:

  • Giving out information on products to customers
  • Loading and unloading deliveries with a forklift truck or by hand
  • Processing orders and handling payments
  • Moving goods to storage areas
  • Putting orders together and organizing deliveries

With experience, you might assume the role of a yard manager or a team leader with responsibility for purchasing, planning, staff training, health and safety and stock control.

Salary

Normally, builders’ merchants work 35-40 hours a week. However, large outlets might require them to stay a little bit longer or work in shifts unlike the smaller sores where their hours are more consistent. Below is the summary of the builders’ merchant’s earnings:

Highest Median Annual Salary

£36,250

Average Median Annual Salary

£28,000

Lowest Median Annual Salary

£21,000

Skills

As a builders’ merchant, you need to:

  • Have excellent communication skills for providing guidance to customers
  • Have excellent knowledge in areas such as woodwork, decorating and painting
  • Have a proper grasp of numeracy skills for handling cash, making calculations and taking measurements
  • Be reliable, time conscious and honest
  • Be friendly and helpful
  • Be neat and tidy
  • Be physically fit
  • Give work an honest and reliable approach
  • Have outstanding customer skills
  • Have a vast knowledge of building materials

Qualifications

Even though no formal education is required for one to become a builders’ merchant, a GCSE with an (A-C) in English and Maths s preferred for the entry position. Individuals with past experience in retail, warehousing or construction and a better chance though this is not essential. The most preferred way to enter into this career is through an apprenticeship program with a building supplies firm or a DIY store. The apprenticeship scheme is outlined in the BMF apprenticeship training. The training is inclusive of:

  • Forklift and Banksman Training as well as CPC training
  • Apprenticeship
  • Skill training such as margin management, sales, Customer Care Distance Learning, Health & Safety

Individuals who pursue a BMF diploma can assume the managerial roles. The curriculum is inclusive of nine working modules each with a single day workshop. The curriculum is tailored to lay focus on managing people, managing resources and managing operations. BMF has also launched a Foundation Degree in Merchanting that is offered in the University of West England. The degree enhances the diploma training and provides a logical advancement for the learners and fosters professionalism.

Career Prospects

DIY stores and builders’ merchants majorly depend on the construction industry hence the reason for the few jobs available during the recession period when there are few building activities. Furthermore, most builders’ merchants are now specializing on a single line of products such as painting and decorating or timber. However, larger employers employ new workers on a routine basis and there are both full-time and part-time vacancies. Employment opportunities for builders’ merchants are advertised in the recruitment agencies, Jobcentre Plus Centre, the local press and various company websites.

If you seek for a practical job that combines working with customers, this could be an ideal career option for you.

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