I think it varies on a number of things - where you are located, how awkward the room is (e.g. large square room easier than a room with lots of details like fireplaces etc).
I just got several quotes and compared. The other thing that made a huge difference was that I wanted someone who would fill gaps between boards with wood rather than filler. Everyone I know who has had gaps filled with filler has been disappointed with how quickly it has fallen through and looks rubbish. Ours has only been done 18 months or so but still looks great.
No idea. I asked which was more durable as it's a kid's room and lacquer by far, was the answer. I would assume oil brings out more of the wood's character out. I'd suggest getting samples of new wood flooring off a website of same wood with the two finishes and you can see which finish you prefer.
Having had ours just done yesterday - wow, I can't believe how great they look. They used a professional sander that was absolutely dust free, the laquer doesn't really smell anywhere as bad as I expected it to. On the above comment, I personally wouldn't even attempt to sand and oil a patch that got scratched myself so for me that wasn't a factor but I guess it depends on your traffic and how comfortable you are with DIY
Fish that sounds pretty similar price-wise. This guy has already done one room in my house but it was as a sub-contractor so I don't know how much he charged the main builder. He did a really good job and his price seems fine so I am happy to go with him then.
We will go with lacquer I think.
Really hope our guy has the dust free sander...suspect he doesn't though.