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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 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, including LPG) 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 on Facebook there are Reading and Caversham Gossip Girls groups with huge numbers of members.

The Facebook 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           contact           recommendation, name & date
Builders Radex Building Services
  • I have worked on various jobs alongside Radek and his team over the last 10 years or so and been impressed with their "no problem" approach to work as diverse as installing underfloor heating and rebuilding a Grade 2 listed chimney using hydraulic lime mortar, as well as the usual range of building works. I have always found them friendly and extremely hard-working. -- John Stumbles, Oct 2016
Builder Malcolm Kirby
  • 0788 759 7058
  • I have worked on various jobs alongside Malcolm for almost 15 years. He trained as a carpenter and his fitting of doors is superb, but he also does a range of building construction work, tiling, kitchen and bathroom fitting, decorating, replacing windows, some roof repairs etc. -- John Stumbles, Oct 2016
Electrician Andy Lannon Electrical Services
  • 3 recommendations on Streetlife - Dec 2016
Electrician Steve / STS Electrical
  • 07834766570
  • 0118 926 8544
  • 2 recommendations on Streetlife - Dec 2016
Electrician Richard Pierce / Pierce Electrical
  • 07598 341 111
  • 0118 437 0897
  • I worked with Richard in 2015 -- John Stumbles, Feb 2020
Plumbing, Heating, Gas Maiden Erleigh Heating & Plumbing Ltd
  • I have referred several customers to MEHP for boiler replacements when I haven't been able to do them myself and they seem to do a very nice job (using Worcester Bosch boilers), swiftly and at reasonable prices -- John Stumbles, Oct 2016
Plumbing, Heating, Gas "Bash" / MBA Plumbing
  • Several recommendations on Streetlife for work including fixing immersion heater & toilet, boiler servicing, drip from header tank, giving free advice over phone, politeness, reasonable rates - Dec 2016
Drainage A Better Drainflow
  • 0794 902 5116
  • 0118 901 4289
  • website
  • Don has done various jobs for me and for my customers over the years -- John Stumbles, Oct 2016
Architect David Quevillart
  • 07767835603
  • In 2009 Dave drew up plans for a house extension for me and submitted them for Planning Permission. He asked a lot of thoughtful, helpful questions and was pleasant to work with. -- John Stumbles, Jan 2018
Project Management Mike Jacob
  • 07863 119698
  • I know Mike through having worked for him and talked about our work. I gather he is particularly interested in sustainable buildings. -- John Stumbles, Jan 2018


Trade(s) person/company           contact           recommendation, name & date
Auto/domestic/commercial locksmith Andy Hardie / LockServ
  • Andy replaced a defective ignition lock for me at a very reasonable price. Friendly and helpful. -- John Stumbles, Mar 2018

Motor mechanics

Mechanics, garages, auto electrical, bodywork etc

Trade(s) person/company           contact           recommendation, name & date
Mobile mechanic Karl Parfitt

07584 352706

  • Karl has done several jobs for me recently. He seems to know what he's doing and has sorted out several problems and advised on others. His charges are reasonable, he's courteous and has kept me posted when he was running late. -- John Stumbles, Oct 2016
Garage workshop Northcourt Garage
88-90 Northcourt Ave, Reading RG2 7HQ


  • A family-run business who evidently like and understand motors, who have been doing services and MOTs on my vans and cars for years. Reasonable prices and good work. -- John Stumbles, Oct 2016
Garage workshop S B Autos
2 Belmont Rd, Reading RG30 2UU


  • I've heard 3 people recommend S B Autos, directly and indirectly. -- John Stumbles, Jun 2018

"Man and Van" transport

Trade(s) person/company           contact           recommendation, name & date
M's Light Haulage Mike
  • Mike and Simon helped a friend move house recently and they worked solidly for hours, were cheerful and friendly, and extremely reasonably priced. -- John Stumbles, Dec 2018
Zatimpex Intertrans Zarand
  • Recommended by a friend. Also I know and respect Zarand -- John Stumbles, Dec 2018

Pest control

Trade(s) person/company           contact           recommendation, name & date
Pest control Denis Froud Pest Control Services

07528 500558 website

  • A friend tells me she found Denis through several recommendations on a community forum for Henley (but she lives in Reading) -- John Stumbles, May 2018

Window cleaners

Trade(s) person/company           contact           recommendation, name & date
Window cleaning PJ and Co (firemen)
  • 07776 105171
  • Two recommendations on Streetlife, Jan 2017
Window cleaning Richard Gregory
  • 07818 517 625
  • "He is reliable and a really nice guy" - recommendation on Streetlife, Jan 2017
Window cleaning Trevor Johnson
  • 07724191308
  • 01189483069
  • "reliable reasonable and trustworthy" - recommendation on Streetlife, Jan 2017


Gardeners, tree surgeons etc

Trade(s) person/company           contact           recommendation, name & date
Gardening Georgina Taylor
  • 0798 695 4723
  • 0118 954 2306
  • email
  • Georgina does general domestic garden maintenance (grass cutting, hedge trimming, pruning, planting etc) and can call on her son, her partner and others for larger jobs. She has a friendly and sympathetic attitude and does a lot of her work for older people. -- John Stumbles (disclaimer: Georgina is my partner); Oct 2016
Tree surgeons Ian Hogg / Eldon Tree Surgery
  • 07714 165840
  • Ian has been doing tree surgery around Reading for decades.

Computer services

Trade(s) person/company           contact           recommendation, name & date
Computer support Tri Computers
  • Recommendation on Facebook, Oct 2017


Dog walkers, cat sitters, vets etc