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Brian Howard

Guidance Counsellor

Department of Education and Skills

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Brian Howard

This career involves working with people in a caring capacity. If you have no interest in helping people personally or educationally then this may be the wrong profession for you.

Empathy, patience and respect are important qualities for this job, in addition to be able to relate well to the person you are dealing with. As there is also a large amount of information to be handled in the job, good organisational, IT and time management skills are also quite important.

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Occupation Details

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Builders' Merchant

Job Zone

Education
Most of these occupations require qualifications at NFQ Levels 7 or 8 (Ordinary / Honours Degrees) but some do not.

Related Experience
A considerable amount of work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is needed for these occupations. For example, an engineer must complete four years of college and work for several years in engineering to be considered qualified.

Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need several years of work-related experience, on-the-job training, and/or vocational training.

Job Zone Examples
Many of these occupations involve coordinating, supervising, managing, or training others. Examples include accountants, sales managers, computer programmers, teachers, chemists, environmental engineers, criminal investigators, and financial analysts.

€18k > 38
Builders Merchant
Salary Range
(thousands per year)*
€18 - 38
Related Information:
Data Source(s):
CareersPortal

Last Updated: March, 2017

* The lower figures typically reflect starting salaries. Higher salaries are awarded to those with greater experience and responsibility. Positions in Dublin sometimes command higher salaries.
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At a Glance... header image

Sells trade goods in bulk to the construction industry, and retail goods to the general public.


Videos & Interviews header image

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The Work header image

Builders' merchants supply building craftspeople such as plumbers, builders, electricians etc, with the items that they need to do their jobs. They also sell these products to members of the public.  
 
Builders' merchants differ from the large superstores that cater for do-it-yourself (DIY) enthusiasts in the range of their stock and the expertise of their staff. Most builders' merchants specialise in particular types of supplies such as timber, electrical or bathrooms. They would have members of staff who would be qualified to talk about their designated area.  
 
The trade is divided into two areas. The 'heavy side' covers sand, cement, bricks, ballast etc, and the 'light side' provides plumbing, sanitary ware, decorating equipment etc.  
 
Work as a builders' merchant involves all the tasks done in general distribution. One major aspect of the work is ordering stock, both in bulk and for individual customers. In large organisations, this is computerised and goods are automatically reordered when they fall below a certain level. In smaller firms, stock has to be counted manually and the related paperwork is also done by hand. In either case, there is a great deal of clerical work and dealing with office equipment and office procedures. Also, there are often long discussions with suppliers about the right type and amount of stock needed. This side of the job may also mean doing some work in the warehouse, checking in items, storing and distributing them. They need to store their stock in such a way that it can be easily be inspected by prospective customers.  
 
Builders' merchants have a lot of contact with customers, both from telephone enquiries and assisting people face-to-face. Much of this involves giving advice, not only on which goods to buy (such as the best type of tap to install or the correct kind of wood for a particular purpose) but also on which tools and fittings to use.  
 
Having advised the customer, builders' merchants then have to complete the selling process. This can vary from taking a few pence for a couple of nails, to handling cheques and credit cards for thousands of pounds. Apart from operating a till, it entails completing detailed receipts and invoices and often calculating value added tax (VAT) as well.  
 
In addition to these duties, staff may occasionally help out in the yard, making up orders and loading/unloading products. They must have an accounts office so that someone can keep track of big orders and big customers who may have accounts open.


Tasks & Activitiesheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported tasks and activities for this occupation

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Resolve customer complaints regarding sales and service.

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Oversee regional and local sales managers and their staffs.

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Plan and direct staffing, training, and performance evaluations to develop and control sales and service programs.

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Determine price schedules and discount rates.

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Review operational records and reports to project sales and determine profitability.

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Monitor customer preferences to determine focus of sales efforts.

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Prepare budgets and approve budget expenditures.

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Confer or consult with department heads to plan advertising services and to secure information on equipment and customer specifications.

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Direct and coordinate activities involving sales of manufactured products, services, commodities, real estate or other subjects of sale.

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Confer with potential customers regarding equipment needs and advise customers on types of equipment to purchase.

Work Activities header image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported work activities in this occupation.

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Selling or Influencing Others: Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.

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Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships: Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.

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Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others: Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.

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Coaching and Developing Others: Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.

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Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates: Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.

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Communicating with Persons Outside Organization: Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.

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Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work: Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

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Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates: Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.

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Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others: Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.

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Making Decisions and Solving Problems: Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.


Knowledge header image

The following is a list of the five most commonly reported knowledge areas for this occupation.

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Sales and Marketing: Knowledge of principles and methods for showing, promoting, and selling products or services. This includes marketing strategy and tactics, product demonstration, sales techniques, and sales control systems.

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Customer and Personal Service: Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.

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Administration and Management: Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

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English Language: Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

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Personnel and Human Resources: Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.


Skillsheader image

The following is a list of the most commonly reported skills used in this occupation.

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Monitoring: Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.

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Management of Personnel Resources: Motivating, developing, and directing people as they work, identifying the best people for the job.

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Coordination: Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.

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Persuasion: Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.

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Social Perceptiveness: Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.

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Speaking: Talking to others to convey information effectively.

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Judgment and Decision Making: Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

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Time Management: Managing one's own time and the time of others.

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Critical Thinking: Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

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Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Personal Qualitiesheader image

As a builders' merchant, you'll need to be fit and healthy as you'll spend much of your time on your feet, and you may have to help with moving and lifting heavy goods and materials. Depending on the sort of products being sold, the work may not be suitable if you have allergies to dust or have chest complaints.  
 
It is important to be able to learn quickly, and to build up product knowledge. You also need to be confident when dealing with suppliers and customers, the majority of whom are experienced trades people seeking expert assistance. You should have a certain level of expertise in the items or products you are trying to sell.  
 
A good standard of numeracy is vital since you'll have to make calculations, estimate both cost and quantity of goods and cope with large amounts of money. The office duties involved require a good standard of written and spoken English. A working knowledge of computers is essential.  
 
Communication and people skills are important.


Further Informationheader image

A detailed description of this occupation can be found on a number of online databases. Follow the link(s) below to access this information:

Note: you will be leaving the CareersPortal Site

Go..Builders' Merchant - from: N.C.S. [UK]

Related Occupationsheader image

Contactsheader image

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Organisation: National Employment Rights Authority
Address: Information Services, Government Buildings, O'Brien Road, Carlow
Tel: (059) 917 8990 Locall: 1890 80 80 90
Email: Click here
Url Click here

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Industry Expert


Career Guidance

This occupation is popular with people who have the following Career Interests...


...and for people who like working in the following Career Sectors:

Building, Construction & Property
Business Organisation & Business Management

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