Builders' Merchant

Job Description:

Builders' merchants sell building and DIY products and materials.

Job Category:
Engineering & Construction

What you will do:

On a typical day you could:

  • give 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
  • complete stock control paperwork or update computerised stock lists


You’ll need:

  • to be able to carry out basic tasks on a computer or hand-held device
  • the ability to work well with your hands
    physical skills like lifting, bending and carrying

As well as:

  • to be thorough and pay attention to detail
  • the ability to work well with others (teamwork skills)
  • customer service skills
  • the ability to accept criticism and work well under pressure
  • excellent verbal communication skills
  • the ability to organise your time and workload (organisational skills)
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a builder’s merchant, specific subjects are not typically required. However, having a strong educational background in relevant areas can be beneficial, especially if you plan to pursue management or leadership roles within a building materials supply company. Here are some subjects and skills that can be helpful:

  1. Business Studies: Courses related to business studies can provide valuable knowledge about business operations, management, marketing, and customer service.
  2. Mathematics: Basic math skills are important for inventory management, pricing, financial calculations, and data analysis.
  3. English Language: Effective communication skills, including reading, writing, and customer interactions, are essential in the merchant business.
  4. ICT (Information and Communication Technology): Proficiency in using computer software for inventory management, sales tracking, and customer relationship management can be valuable.
  5. Design and Technology: Courses related to design and technology can provide insights into construction materials, their properties, and their uses, which is relevant to the building materials industry.
  6. Economics: Understanding economic principles and market trends can be helpful for pricing strategies and business decision-making.

Post School

You can get into this job through:

  • an apprenticeship
  • applying directly

You could get into this job through a trade supplier intermediate apprenticeship.

This typically takes 12 months to complete as a mix of learning in the workplace and off-the-job study.

Direct Application
You could apply directly to work as a builders’ merchant.

Working Hours and Environment:

Typically you could work 39 to 41 hours a week, occasionally including evenings, weekends, or holidays.

You could work at a builder’s yard or at a store.

Your working environment may be physically demanding and outdoors in all weathers.

You may need to wear protective clothing.

Career Path & Progression:

With experience, you could progress to supervisor or manager.