I agree $1k is a lot to pay for polishing, but it is a lot of tedious time consuming work. There is 4 sanding steps, and 3 polishing steps in order to get the level of polish I was looking for. I just found a local place last week that is willing to do it for much less, so if that works out, I anticipate the polishing price will come down considerably.
Most places I have found that advertise polishing are either in California, or only do small pieces that can be run in a tumbler, or only do very large stuff like Semi truck fuel tanks and trailers.
Keep an eye out for reduced polishing prices soon. As soon as the next batch is ready I will be trying them out to see how they look.