Builders’ merchants supply products to construction companies, tradespeople and the public.

What does a builders’ merchant do?

Builders' merchants sell building and do-it-yourself products to the building trade and the general public. Products include timber, bricks, decorating materials, plumbing supplies, tools and gardening equipment. In larger stores there may be an overlap in duties with general sales assistant roles.

As a builders' merchant, you would:

  • give out product information to customers
  • load and unload deliveries by hand or with a forklift truck
  • process orders and handle payments
  • move goods to storage areas
  • put orders together and organise deliveries
  • advise customers about which materials to use for a particular job

With experience, you may work as a team leader or yard manager, with responsibility for staff training, planning, purchasing, stock control, and health and safety.

What do I need to do to become a builders’ merchant?

You don’t need any formal qualifications, but employers will look for a good general standard of education, often including GCSEs (A-C) in maths and English.

Previous experience in construction, warehousing or retail could be helpful although not essential.

You may be able to get into this career through an apprenticeship scheme with a DIY store or building supplies firm.

If your job includes deliveries to customers, you would need a standard driving licence to use a van, or a Large Goods Vehicle (LGV) licence for a delivery wagon. A forklift licence might also be useful, although your employer may give you training for this.

Related skills

  • Communication
  • Customer service
  • Discipline
  • Literacy
  • Numeracy
  • Physical fitness
  • Time management

Vocational route

  • Apprenticeship with a DIY store or building supplies firm

Desirable qualifications

  • GCSEs (A-C) in maths and English

Where to find out more

Where could I be working?

You would divide your time between the store and the yard. Most of your time is spent on your feet and the job could involve some lifting and carrying of heavy materials. 

Contains public sector information licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0

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