If your price-point is not even in the same zip code, maybe it is in a different state, start shopping other options. For example if you are in the $1-2/sf range look at the deep discounters or laminate options. The FSC certified 12mm exterior birch plywood that we use to manufacturer the engineered flooring costs us that much alone, not counting all the other labor and materials.
Raw sheathing comes in 4`x8` sheets, most often installed as 3/4" thick plywood panels. This type of sheathing is adequate for spanning joist work spaced up to 24" apart. The sheathing is lain with the joints staggered in such a matter, that no two edge joints line up with adjoining sheets. It is very easy to install, requiring the least amount of labour. The sheets are fastened with either 1-1/2" flooring screws, or 2-1/2" nails, spaced about 8" apart. Although not required, it is a good idea to provide backers or supports under the joints, between sheets which run perpendicular to the framed floor assembly.
Seventh, are you a do-it-yourselfer? Think through every step of the process to be sure that you can do it yourself. Usually the install can be done with relatively moderate skills and simple tools like a chop saw and rented flooring nailer. The finishing process is a whole different matter. The sanders and buffers take some special skills to operate. A normal price range for labor and materials to install a wood floor is $4-5 per square foot. It is possible to build your own sweat equity into a floor install. Maybe this is where you choose to use our engineered product for example because it is presanded to more accurate tolerances than a solid wood product. It can be touched up with a hand held orbital sander rather than industrial floor sanders. Then if you are doing the finish yourself, you will want to consider using a finish that may not require as much buffing between coats.
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