For years, customers have been inundated with the commercials on cable TV for Sunsetter Retractable Awnings. “Tell ‘em about the discount Harry!” Sunsetter is the best marketing company in the Retractable Awning Industry. By throwing out a price point of $600 and offering a $200 coupon on retractable awnings, they capture the attention of their prospects, but more importantly, their information. They do an excellent job following up with their prospects by sending mailings and mass email. Kudos to them for spreading the good word about retractable awnings for decks and patios!

Sunsetter Awnings and other imitators have put together a simple proposition: we will make you a retractable awning and ship it directly to your home. For certain homeowners, this is the level of product and service they are looking for. We call this “A Retractable Awning in a Box.”

Not only does the product actually come in a box off a 52’ semi truck (UPS does not deliver products over 10’), the options for the product and services are somewhat limited.


(1) Sizes: Many companies that specialize in this approach only offer widths of one-foot increments and limited projections from the home. Some companies do not offer large projections, such as 13’4″ or 16’ from the home. If you want an awning over 20’ wide, good luck. Shipping companies charge outrageous rates for freight over 20’ long.

(2) Colors: Some consumers are not aware that retractable awning frames are available in different colors or can even be powder coated. Additionally, I bet most consumers do not know that high quality, 100% solution dyed acrylic fabrics are available in over 600 colors and patterns. Why limit yourself to a few stock patterns and a white frame if that doesn’t work on your house?

(3) Options: By its very nature, an in-the-box product is standard. Options are often limited and not well explained.


(1) Measuring and ordering is a critical factor in whether you will truly enjoy your awning experience. Having a local expert that has surveyed thousands of homes throughout Chicago, Naperville, Arlington Heights, Huntley, Elgin, Shorewood, Crest Hill, and all of the other towns in our area is huge!

Local installation and local service are necessary elements of this kind of purchase for most customers. A professional crew that has installed thousands of awnings will make purchasing this product a pleasant experience instead of a nightmare. Then, what if something goes wrong? Does the warranty state that you need to remove the part and ship it back to its point of origin at your cost to get the product warranted? Do you have the awning expertise to do that? Will local companies work on your Internet brand after you did not purchase the product from them?

Adding up the costs and comparing apples to apples….

After reading this you may ask, “Okay, but how much am I going to have to pay for this custom awning?” Great question. The answer is: “Often less.” A local company like Thatcher Retractables can afford to manufacture a better quality product that is more customized for your application and install it for what most consumers will pay for an in-the-box product over the Internet.

Here is what the consumer does not have to pay for when they buy local:

(1) Individual Shipping Costs: Check the fine print. The shipping cost is added in at the end. Even individual options have their own shipping costs for most companies.

(2) Separate Installation Cost: When you contract a separate installer (assuming that this is a reputable business with a warranty like Thatcher Retractables Three Year Installation Guarantee), you have to pay for their overhead, labor and profit. Typically, we see companies charging from $500-$750 for a standard installation to a wall.

(3)Unknown Costs: In most cases, consumers have not even seen the actual product before they purchase it. What fasteners, tools or other items will you need to purchase to install or service the product?

Before buying an “in-the-box product,” think out of the box and check out Thatcher Retractables in Burr Ridge. You won’t be surprised by the quality and local service, and you might find yourself surprised about the price!