Builders' Merchant Careers

How to become a Builders' Merchant

What does a Builders' Merchant do?

Builders’ merchants or DIY store workers sell building and do-it-yourself products to the building trade and the general public. They sell construction materials including tiles, bricks, sand and cement, timber, painting and decorating materials, electrical and plumbing supplies, hand and power tools, gardening equipment, ironmongery, kitchen and bathroom units and associated products.

Workers offer information on products; direct customers around the store, warehouse or yard; deal with payments; organise deliveries; and advise on the suitability of materials for a particular job. They move goods around the store and yard and load/unload vehicles, manually or with forklift trucks.

More senior posts involve staff management, planning, purchasing, stock control and health and safety.

What's the working environment like working as a Builders' Merchant?

Builders’ merchants usually open early, with staff normally starting by 8am. Large DIY outlets are open seven days a week. Many DIY outlets open for extended hours on weekdays and may open on Sundays. Shift work may be required and part-time work is common.

Work can be indoors, and outdoors in all weathers, especially for merchants dealing solely with the construction trade. Builders' merchants are on their feet for most of the day and the work can involve lifting or carrying heavy materials.

Staff often wear uniforms. Those who move heavy items may also need protective footwear, which is usually provided by the employer.

What does it take to become a Builders' Merchant?

To be a builders’ merchant or DIY store worker, you should:

  • have a good general knowledge of building products
  • have good communication skills for advising customers
  • have good numeracy skills for taking measurements, making calculations and handling cash
  • have good written skills
  • be punctual, reliable and honest
  • be physically fit
  • have a friendly and helpful personality
  • have a neat and tidy appearance
  • be aware of health and safety issues.

Builders' Merchant Career Opportunities

Builders’ merchants and DIY stores are located across the UK. Builders' merchants closely follow trends in the construction industry, which at the moment are good.

The larger DIY stores and builders' merchants, which have increased in number in recent years, are usually situated in out-of-town superstores. There has been a decline in the number of smaller merchants, and those that remain tend to specialise in a particular type of product such as timber or painting and decorating.

Larger employers recruit on a regular basis. Part-time vacancies are usually available with both large and small employers.

Working for one of the larger merchants usually offers more secure job prospects, and many of them provide training, or help with training, to enable staff to progress to supervisory and management positions.

Further information

If you would like to know anything about Builders' Merchant that does not appear on Hotcourses, further information can be found below.

Builders Merchants Federation (BMF)
15 Soho Square
Tel: 0870 901 3380

Facts and Stats:

  • Napoleon Bonaparte once called England a "nation of shopkeepers".

  • Consumer expenditure per head in the UK is £8,053.

  • The phrase "The customer is always right", was coined by H Gordon Selfridge.

  • The annual sales of digestive biscuits, if stacked on top of each other, would reach 275 miles high That's 4,500 times the height of Nelson's Column or 1,400 times the height of the Eiffel Tower.

  • Britain's first department store was Selfridges, which was opened in 1909.

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