Please note: online orders placed after Thursday 20th December 2018 will be processed from Wednesday 2nd January 2019.

Why buying from a builders' merchant is a smart move

You'll get competitive prices and trade-trusted products - but there's even more!

A trip to Turnbull offers real added-value for customers and to explain why, Assistant Manager of our Boston Lightside branch, Dan Lane, answers some typical FAQs.

1. What exactly is a builders' merchant?

A Builders' Merchant sells building, plumbing and do-it-yourself products to anyone, from the homeowner, DIY enthusiast or self-builder to trade professionals and developers.  You can buy sawn timber, bricks, decorating materials, plumbing and heating parts, tools, paving, fencing and landscaping materials.  You can also buy complete kitchens and bathrooms with all appliances.

2. Why buy from an independent Builders’ Merchant like Turnbull rather than a DIY superstore?

Independent means that - Turnbull is a local business supplying a wide range of trade quality products and specialist materials at trade prices.  You’ll be dealing with a knowledgeable team who are there to help you find exactly what you need.  Some of our skilled sales staff have worked in trades themselves before joining Turnbull.  They receive training from manufacturing technical teams and often visit UK factories to understand product application in depth.

3. Do you have to be a builder or in a trade to buy from Turnbull?

No, everyone is welcome!  We get a good mix of trade professionals dropping in early in the day for supplies before going on to a job, alongside local homeowners and DIYers.  Customers like to come in store to handle the products, look at displays and take advice from sales staff before buying.  We also welcome customers arriving with their chosen installer to look at new systems and designs for a project.

4. Do you have to have an account to shop at a builders' merchant?

Not at all.  Lots of customers make one-off or occasional cash purchases.  If you want to buy in large quantities - say for an home extension or self build - it makes sense to open a trading account.  We’re able to offer discounts on certain products and quantities to account holders.  If you become an account customer you'll be allocated an account manager in your local branch.  They'll get to know you and your project, and they’re your first point of contact to discuss prices and lead in times.

5. How can your branch staff help me?

There are a number of counter traders available on the shop floor every day.  These are skilled sales staff, knowledgeable about their products, often with industry experience, and able to help with technical choices.  T hey'll put together your order, handle payment and organise your delivery, making sure you've got everything you need for the job. The warehouse teams are there to load purchases in stores and in the yards.  Some are specialist operators of timber saws and other heavy machinery.  We also have a fleet of trusty Turnbull delivery drivers to get your order to you quickly, cheerfully and safely.

6. Can you help if I’m looking for a new kitchen or bathroom?

Our Boston, Sleaford and Newark branches have kitchen and bathroom showrooms so you can browse the latest designs and look at layout solutions.  Book a free consultation with one of our trained designers who can take you through the steps of planning, ordering, and the staged delivery of your dream kitchen or bathroom.  They'll happily liaise with the trade professional you've engaged to complete the fitting so that everything goes smoothly and to schedule.

7. How is a typical branch set out?

All branches have a a walk-in store with a main counter.  Our Sleaford, Boston and Newark branches have kitchen and bathroom showrooms.  Outside you’ll find timber, landscaping and building materials, warehouse storage and customer parking.  Our staff, known as traders, won't expect you to know your way around, so don't hesitate to ask - they'll be able to show you our products, give you technical information and advise you on what's best for the job in hand.

8. What's the difference between lightside and heavyside branches?

Traditionally, some Builders’ Merchants have offered a range of Heavyside goods - that's building materials like bricks, blocks, tiles, drainage, timber and joinery, aggregates and insulation alongside paving slabs.
Others specialise in Lightside goods like heating and plumbing supplies, decorating materials, kitchens, bathrooms, tools, electrical fittings and all kinds of fixings.  Our Boston branches each specialise in heavyside and lightside goods whereas our larger Newark branch combines both lightside and heavyside products on one site.

9. What's different about your product ranges?

As an independent builders’ merchant, we source carefully selected quality, mid-range products that are value for money for our customers.  If you’re looking for more choice, and you’re not happy with the quality of what you’re seeing elsewhere, then pay us a visit.  Our suppliers are mostly UK-based and our sales teams have visited their factories and seen the manufacturing processes themselves.  Our supply chain is certified so customers can be assured that imported timber or paving, for example,  are from sustainable or ethical sources. Many of our paving, brick and block deliveries come direct from the manufacturer who uses Turnbull as a retailer and distributor.

10. What other services are available in branches?

  • Timber Cutting service: timber, flooring, panelling, skirting, architrave all cut to the lengths you require
  • Kitchen and Bathroom Design: trained, experienced designers to help you maximise your space and take you through the umpteen different options and finishes to get you the best bathroom or kitchen for your budget.
  • Take Off service: if you've got a large project starting and you've opened an account, you can take advantage of our take-off service. We'll look at your plans, quantify the materials you'll need and provide a quotation. We routinely stock materials already given the OK by local planning and will have samples ready to hand to support an application.

11. Anything else going on? (seems there's a lot of pies delivered some mornings)

A builder's merchant like Turnbulls acts as a hub for professional trade info exchange and training.  Sales representatives from UK suppliers and manufacturers visit to demonstrate the latest products, and our sales teams and local customers get hands on with the new products, and to ask specific technical questions about performance and application.  These often take place early in the morning to avoid clashing with everyone’s schedule for the day.  Pies, pasties and hot coffee always help get the brain working and keep everyone happy.  And though Turnbull works with individual homeowners, and small to medium size businesses, behind the scenes we have teams working with developers on larger commercial building projects.

12. Turnbull is a member of the Builders Merchant Federation.  Does that count for anything?

Yes, it matters to us. Builders’ Merchants registered with the BMF are signed up to industry standards for quality of goods supplied to customers, as well as for staff training, product knowledge and site safety.  We use the group buying power of the BMF to negotiate excellent pricing deals which we pass on to you.

13. Is just an online version of a Turnbull branch?

Our online shop offers the products we have been selling to our local customers for years. We're confident in their quality, and in the manufacturing standards of our chosen suppliers.  There are some lines which are only available in branches, so if you live in the Lincs/Notts area, it’s always worth calling in to look at the current stock lines. Our online sales team work closely with branch teams to ensure all customers benefit from the Turnbull wealth of expertise.