Brackets where bought, not built. The owner had around $700+- in the 8.8 swap. I didnt know the guy, so he didnt get a good buddy discount.
Even after paying someone to weld on brackets, you can still have an 8.8 for less than other options.
Don't throw the gears up like it's an added expience that only applies to the 8.8. The gears are an expience across the board regardless if you go with an 8.8/44/ or S35(gear setup is a must regardless if you regear). UNLESS you are content with 4.10 gears and find a Rubi 44 or an 8.8 or do not need a gear change and can just match your 3.55, 3.73, 4.10. Since budget is allways such a factor, the 8.8 will allow you to match your gears your currently running so you can put off the cost of a complete regear untill the buget can increase and to avoid a wasted setup fee (Installing S35 without regearing) If a S35 is an option, the plans must be to stay in the 33"-35" tire range. In that case 4.10s will work(unless your packin a 4 banger). They wouldnt be ideal for 35's, but when you want to upgrade on a budget, it's not that big of a sacrifice. In that case, going with the 8.8 will save you setup costs. Disc brakes are a no cost gain for it. How much will it cost to swap the 35 to disc?
Consider all aspects of all the options. there isn't 1 option that is right or better for everyone. Look at what your getting without a biased eye and get some actuall prices of labor and parts that YOU can get.