Are you saying they are $150 each for a four frame nuc?
As for the new equipment part, I suggest you stick with registered operations, those that are in the business of selling nucs and those that their business depends that same reputation.
Know who you buy nucs from. Are you getting nucs with frames built for nuc sales, or are they culled from full size hives with 30 year old comb? Does the operation not only use harsh chemicals, but what about off label use? Are these his queens or are they queens bought and added at the last minute to a few frames of bees? I could go on and on.
If he is close by, ask if you can stop by and chat and perhaps take a peek at the operation. Those not willing to do this, or unable or hesitant in answering questions....I'd be looking elsewhere. Take along another beekeeper with some experience.