1. I would say just replace the entire axle. It's sometimes cheaper, and the labor is still the same, but when you take out the axle you still have to remove the clips, disassemble the parts to replace the boot, clean, regrease, reassemble and install. You eliminate the hassle of fixing the boot for a lot less time. Doing an axle job should be about 30-40 minutes tops with airgun tools (you can sometimes borrow from autozone) and it's your basic slide out/pop in the axle and you're done kind of deal.
2. As I stated, doing the job isn't hard. At all. We used general tools with the help of breaker bars (which, ironically broke
) so the air tools did wonders instead. If anything you'll still have to pay for an alignment later on after you're done installing new ones in.
From experience though dude, I had mine's rebuilt off the originals, with labor, and alignment all for $234 ouf the door with a year of warranty. In all honestly, if I knew that it wasn't going to be a hard job I would have opted for autozone's lifetime warranty for the best ones for $$$ less, even if it meant I would have had to get the alignment for about $30-45 everytime I did it. But that's just my .02
Hope this helps!