Lawn irrigation valves - cost?

I just received a bid for a landscaping project which includes 840 sq ft of lawn. I was quoted $700 PER VALVE installed. Since he does not itemize PVC and connectors (although they must be very cheap) I assume they are included in this. I have not discussed yet with the bidder. A couple of questions:
Are the valves those units which sit on top of all the vertical pipes and control electronically the release of water, based on signals from the controller (which I was quoted $350 for)?
I've checked prices on the web and they range from $20 to $350.
The $700 strikes me as VERY high. Now, I live in Northern California where a dumpy 40 yr old 3 BR 1 1/2 Bath ranch (1700 sq ft) on 1/4 acre goes for $1MM (no kidding) so I'm (sadly) used to outrageous prices. But this seems beyond the pale.
Am I getting ripped off?
By way of comparison, other items were priced at: $20 per facing feet of dry stacked stone wall or pressure treated wood, sod at $1 per sq ft, French drain installed at $10 per linear feet
Thanks in advance
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It sounds high to me, but I live in Florida, far away from the Left Coast.
By the way, controllers are only $35.
--James--
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In a construction project, you generally will pay far less for materials than for the labor and expertise of installation. How much time will this take? Do you know what the costs are for taxes, insurance, contractors license, vehicles, wages. Not getting an itemized estimate may be for the bidders ease, or to prevent people from using a bid as a free design service so they can then go to Lowes and do it themselves.
Get more bids.

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700.00 a zone sounds right to me. Especially if he is including a controller, the backflow assembly, the rain gauge, and any inspections by your local municipality. In Raleigh, NC, the cost per zone is running around 500.00 a zone. Some municipalities around Raleigh are higher due to inspections and submittals (review of drawings prior to installation). As an installer, I would say that his price is probably justified. Ensure that you are getting a good warranty; find out how long the installer has been in business, and also get a list of customers he has installed for...as well as has done repairs (service) for.
If he is a landscaper...make sure he isn't subcontracting the work to someone else. If so, then you will probably be asking for a headache later, cause once its installed, and the warranty period is over, you will be looking for a new company to repair/maintain it.
Good luck. Email me with questions.
Jason Cary, NC

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