TRI Retail Warehouse Training
Running a Retail Warehouse for Used Building Materials
This program was piloted in San Bernardino and sponsored by the Housing Authority of the County of San Bernardino. It’s now offered at TRP’s Oakland facility — or at your own establishment.
Starting a retail business for used building materials is not much different from starting any other retail business. You need to know the basics of the industry, understand what the consumer is looking for, and be reasonably familiar with the competition.
In the used building-material business, the merchandise is neither uniform nor neatly packaged. Products arrive in different shapes and configurations and present many safety, storage, and display problems.
Knowing what has been received, what has been sold, and the quantities on hand are especially thorny issues. Quality and condition vary dramatically. One door is almost perfect, the next slightly scratched. Should they be priced the same? Procuring materials and managing the receiving process pose additional challenges.
Layout and display are critical aspects of most retail businesses, very definitely of this one. In order to keep customers coming back and recommending the store to their friends requires the ongoing, creative manipulation of available space. That’s not easy with so many large, cumbersome items.
These topics and more are fully addressed in the warehouse training program, through lectures, discussions, written exercises, and visits to existing retail establishments. Participants receive an illustrated workbook and participate in activities designed to build sales, merchandising, and management skills.
The basic three-day course covers all the issues that arise in opening and operating a retail outlet for used building materials, including:
- Breadth and depth of inventory
- Minimum quality requirements
- Types of stores
For managers who have completed the basic course, an additional two days are devoted to:
- Manager competencies and self-assessment
- Warehouse location
- Personnel and staffing requirements
- Handling of cash and credit cards
- Promotion and advertising