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Finding competent, reliable, affordable, honest and user-friendly tradespeople is an issue most people have to deal with at some time. There is no foolproof answer: professional bodies such as Gas Safe Register, NIC-EIC, NAPIT etc, maintain lists of members, indicating a degree of competence. Commercial certification schemes such as Checkatrade, Trustmark and some local authority (but not Reading) approved trader schemes try to vouch for the quality, reliability and integrity of tradespeople they list. There is word-of-mouth recommendation, either person to person or by asking on mailing lists or social media. And there are directories such as the Little Green Book and informal, user-contributed directories such as the University's Handy Persons web page which try to capture word-of-mouth recommendations.

Reality check: Tradespeople are human: they have strengths and weaknesses, they have off days and make mistakes, they get on better with some people than others, and they have home lives with personal and family issues to deal with. One person's dream tradesperson who turned up on the dot, did an excellent job quickly, at an amazingly reasonable price and was a delight to be around could be another person's Trader From Hell. Some tradespeople will more consistently do better work than others, some will be more reliable than others, some cheaper or more expensive than others, some will communicate more clearly, some will be better than others at getting on with a wide range of people. Few have the best of all qualities.

Professional bodies

Building trades

Gas installers (plumbers qualified to work on gas) have to be registered with Gas Safe Register which has a Find an Engineer search page.

Oil: Heating engineers qualified to work on oil burning systems can be found through OFTEC's Locate a Registered Technician page.

Electricians should be registered with competent persons schemes, which are run by several different organisations, which have their own search pages:


The Little Green Book has listings of tradespeople recommended by customers (although the tradespeople also have to pay to be listed in the directory. It is organised into sections for Reading, Wokingham and other nearby areas.

Social media

The Ding's own Facebook group should become a useful place to ask for tradesperson recommendations.

For women north of the river the Facebook Caversham Gossip Girls group has a huge number of members.

The Facebbok East Reading Community Board is another resource.


The University's Handy Persons page used to be a useful resource but it is no longer maintained and increasingly out of date (and not available from the University's own site now unless you have a Uni login - this link is to the Wayback Machine's saved copy).

Here is the start of a Ding directory of local tradespeople and similar.

Building services

Builders, carpenters, plumbers, electricians, handypersons etc

Trade(s) person/company .          phone          . email/web recommendation, name & date
Plumbing, Heating, Gas Maiden Erleigh Heating & Plumbing Ltd
  • 07861 308008
  • 0118 966 8500
  • I have referred several customers to MEHP for boiler replacements when I haven't had time to do them myself and they seem to do a very nice job (using Worcester Bosch boilers) very swiftly and at reasonable prices -- John Stumbles, Oct 2016
Electrician Richard Hall / Red Kite Electrical
  • 0788 2737402
  • 0118 907 1834
  • I have worked with Richard over the years and generally find him to be knowledgeable and skillful -- John Stumbles, Oct 2016
Drainage A Better Drainflow
  • 0794 902 5116
  • 0118 901 4289
  • Don has done various jobs for me and for my customers over the years -- John Stumbles, Oct 2016

Garden services

Gardeners, tree surgeons etc


Dog walkers, cat sitters, vets etc