Geez, we charge for this kind of intellectual property David! LOL. I learned a lot, and I'm with Jennifer, the idea of a handyman moving around buildings scares the heck out of me. Just the preparation work to make plumbing, electrical and HVAC ready for the lift is daunting, let alone preping large foundation pads for the jacks. Your perspective on the insurance aspect was especially valuable. The contractors that perform this kind of work take tremendous risks, and their insurance costs reflect that. Jeremy's bids are beginning to look like a bargain.
I too wish Jeremy luck. Many of us remember all too well our first homes (often referred to as money pits and handyman specials). I feel great empathy for Jeremy's problems. His days are spent stripping wood, fixing floors and walls and scraping by on a small budget. At the same time, while money is short now, I hope he can take the perspective that having the work done professionally is equivalent to a car loan he can pay back over 30 years if he chooses. Its hard to believe that with todays interest rates that wouldn't be affordable, and the better option. Yeah, I'd rather have the car too, but not far into the future, the monthly cost of such a loan will seem smaller, and in the long run he will profit from not only his sweat equity in renovation, but the structural restoration of this property as well.
Best of luck Jeremy, and keep posting back to keep us informed.