TIP OF THE WEEK

Construction material costs in 2018 are up about 10 percent compared to last year, according to U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics data, and some raw materials, like crude petroleum, are up nearly 50 percent. Labor is also getting more expensive as construction workers are in high demand due to the skilled labor shortage.

So, as a homeowner getting ready to start a project, what can you do to mitigate these rising costs?

Don’t delay. Building materials are projected to get even more expensive and the project backlog for some contractors across the country is up to three or four months. Waiting to start the process of a home repair or improvement, especially a needed one like a new roof, could push off the repair for months due to the contractor’s schedule, and only cause the project to get more expensive as building material costs continue to rise.

Look for low-cost quality products. Home improvement isn’t the place to cut corners by buying the cheapest supplies, but in many product segments there is a low-cost leader — a product or brand comparable in quality to more expensive brands, but offered at a lower cost to provide the best value per dollar.

Choose a reputable contractor. Don’t cut corners when hiring a contractor. Even if it may be more expensive upfront, or result in a longer waiting period for work to start, hiring an experienced local contractor with a good reputation can save thousands of dollars in the long run.

Plan, plan, plan. With any home improvement project, there are many decisions to be made, both large and small. Making as many of those decisions early in the process can reduce project delays or rework. Some of the decisions that can be made before the contractor ever starts include establishing the scope of the project, identifying potential issues, having utilities mark lines and deciding what brands to use and product colors to install.

— Brandpoint

THE LIST

According to Forbes, the world’s highest-paid DJs of 2018 are:

1. Calvin Harris ($48 million)

2. The Chainsmokers ($45.5 million)

3. Tiesto ($33 million)

4. Steve Aoki ($28 million)

5. Marsmello ($23 million)

6. Zedd ($22 million)

7. Diplo ($20 million)

8. David Guetta ($15 million)

9. Kaskade ($13.5 million)

10. Martin Garrix ($13 million)

NUMBER TO KNOW

$1 billion: Former chairman of Walt Disney Studios and a founder of DremWorks Jeffrey Kateznberg recently announced that his holding company, WndrCo, has raised $1 billion for the new short-form video platform. NewTV is designed to give users high-quality, bite-sized content intended for mobile devices.

TECH TALK

Microsoft to hold off on shutting down classic Skype

Although Microsoft had announced it was shutting down Skype version 7.0 (or Skype Classic) in July with the release of Skype version 8.0, negative user backlash prompted the company to extend the use of the older version. Skype 7.0 was set to no longer function after Sept. 1, but Microsoft posted on its community forum that support for the classic version would be extended. “Based on customer feedback, we are extending support for Skype 7 (Skype Classic) for some time. Our customers can continue to use Skype Classic until then,” the post said.

— More Content Now