Hardiplank Installation Costs
We're getting wildly varying costs for installing Hardiplank siding on our house. We're in the inland area of San Diego county where fires are common and want to replace the 25 year old cracked and worn cedar totem & panel siding. We bought the house as a foreclosure and it had been severely neglected the last few years. Our house needs about 3800 sf ft, mostly one story but there is a 2 story A frame section in the middle that is ~30 ft up at the apex.
I've seen forums online that seem to show that installation costs with materials should be around $8-10/sq ft. The quotes we are getting are all over the map.
We have a GC/beekeeper who has done some bee removal from the house (80 lb of hive in the fireplace when we bought the plance). He's done work on our house and we've been happy with his work. He's done his house in Hardi, so he knows what's involved. He said $10k + materials to remove all old siding, replace vapor barrier, put up sheathing, siding, and trim (may not include haul away of old material, but a couple of dumpsters should be ~$1000). Hardiplank is about $1/sq ft, so figuring ~$3/sq ft for all material costs. That puts him at about $6/sq ft.
We had also got two bids back from other contractors. Home Depot came in at $60k, or ~$16/sq ft, which we thought was way overpriced. Another contractor, referred to by a painter we've used, came in at $45k + materials, or ~$12/sq ft. Neither of these contractors gave us a good feeling.
We're waiting for 2 more bids, and hoping they will be closer to the middle ground. Our GC actually seems the best qualified, but we are a little concerned that he's significantly less than the bids we've received so far.
Any thoughts on why bids should be significantly different? What should we be expecting the costs to be (either labor or labor + materials)? Should we be concerned our GC is significantly less?