chimney lining - what do I need to know?

Upon inspection, before cleaning the chimney, it was determined that there were some serious cracks in the area connecting the stovepipe into the chimney, and two different chimney guys agree on the recommendation to line it, prices given were $1200 and $1500 for approximately 12' (ranch house).
This was in the fall, and I didn't have the cash. I now have some unexpected funds and would like to get it fixed, get some wood, and be able to use the wood burning stove for what remains of the winter. I want to get one more guy out here for a third estimate before I commit.
Is it likely that they can/would be willing to do the work this time of year(Roch, NY)and what do I need to know about the process and materials to be sure things are being done/finished properly? Is it likely this will need to be inspected by someone of an official capacity?
Thanks for any helpful advice and info,
Karen
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I know you wouldn't get me there until April. It's -14F outside !
Bill
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I'll bet your local fire department would love to come out and inspect your chimney.
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