Re: Neighbor Does Not Wish to Use Our Fence Contractor
The disparity of bids can be an indicatort that your fence contractor is neglecting to include certain services or materials. Many service industries and professions see this problem, where some providers bid very low to get the work and then cut corners in areas that will become apparent only sometime down the road.
I would suggest getting at least 3 bids. If the others come in over $2000, then it's a pretty good indicator that your $1300 contractor either miscalculated, intends to cut corners to make the price and not lose money, or intends to make up for it by adding costs later for "unforeseen" costs. If the others come in closer to the lower price, perhaps the $2800 contractor miscalculated, knows about some difficulty on your property that will cause extra work (rocky soil or bedrock close to surface, loose soil requiring longer posts, etc), or just considers your neighbor to be a PITA relative and doesn't really want the work.
Either way, getting multiple bids and then asking the contractors some questions about what considerations went into the number is a prudent way to choose a contractor, and often a professional service provider for that matter.
As long as you've vetted a contractor or other service provider well, I don't see a problem with an arrangement wherein one neighbor enters into the contract with the provider and the neighbors agree between themselves as to the division of costs. As a professional service provider (land surveyor), I would prefer such an arrangement. If I have trouble getting paid, I don't want to be the collateral victim of a squabble between neighbors about who is responsible for paying what amount, I want, actually require that one party be responsible for my fee and that any divisions of financial responsibility for paying my fee be handled by a separate agreement between those parties.
If your neighbor wants to do that, then do it in writing and make sure you do it for an amount that will actually cover the costs. Perhaps a "1/2 the costs, not to exceed $_______". A clause like that covers you up to some reasonable amount while giving some assurance to your neighbor that any contractor you might choose will have been chosen carefully.
I'm a surveyor, not your surveyor & not an attorney.
Advice is general survey, not legal. Hire a local professional for specific advice.