I grew up in the siding business and the best advice I can give you is this;
Hire a contractor that has been around for a long time, and is fully insured, and warrantees the the labor.
Ask your local supply houses who they would reccomend, (they will probably be hesitant over the phone,go see them. They know who has had problems and who has not, ask for more than one name).
The right vinyl siding for your home will depend on your area of the country. I live in New England and I have "Wolverine Benchmark" on my home that was installed about a year and a half ago.
This product has a fiberglass rod that interlocks one panel to the next so it can't blow off.
You don't have to buy the thickest panel but you do not want the thinest, or what we would call a builders panel found at most lumber yards. A product like "Certainteed Mainstreet" when installed properly will do just fine.
Stay with the lighter colors no matter what the guarantee,(you only want to go though this once.)
Finally depending on your area, you should exspect to pay in the area of 3 times the price of all matterial for the job.
1/3 for material 1/3 for the installer and 1/3 for the company.
Before you decide to cut out the company and go direct thought the installer, remember the company should be around to stand behind the job and the installer may not. If a installer falls or gets sick a company can bring in another installer to finish the job.