At Ernest Thompson, everything we sell is handmade to order. Whether you select one of our signature styles or customize a unique creation of your own, every piece of furniture, cabinetry, and Sombraje twig shutter is custom built exclusively for you. Here’s how it works.
The Custom Design Process
Your order begins with you and your vision. When you shop with Ernest Thompson, we’ll provide you with your own design consultant. During the buying process, your consultant is trained to ask all those questions you may not think to ask. While we are in the business to sell furniture and cabinetry, our goal is unique…We are in the business to sell furniture and cabinetry that lasts, and that you love, forever.
So, we may ask some funny questions. For example, how do you like to sit when you read? What are the measurements of your mattress and box spring? We might ask you to sketch your dining room…and don’t worry, we won’t judge your drawing skills! We may ask you to measure walls, window heights, or television, audio, or video game components. Many of our customers email us photos of their living rooms or bring in magazine clippings of their dream kitchens. If it’s made out of wood, we can build it. Together, we’ll discover what inspires you!
When it comes to building custom furniture and cabinets, a picture is worth a thousand words! During the buying process, we frequently provide sketches or ask you to sketch out your idea. Frequently, we’ll ask you to confirm a sketch prior to providing pricing. Since custom means, essentially, that your possibilities are endless, we sometimes use sketching as a means to understand what you’re looking for, to price it right the first time, and to save you time in the long run.
Placing Your Order
Once you are ready to place your order, we will submit an invoice for your signature and will collect your deposit. Your production time frame is the approximate date span wherein we expect to complete your order. Your order enters the production queue on the date that we receive your deposit, and the design process continues! Our custom design process is specifically geared towards doing the majority of the design work once your project is already in the design queue. You will review and approve your technical drawings, select your hardware, and confirm your fabric selections while your order is already moving through the production line.
Once we receive your signed order and deposit, your design consultant will provide a technical drawing for your review and approval. Your technical drawing outlines all of the specifications and virtually every dimension of your piece. It will also note your wood selection, your finish, and any special distressing or preferences that we need to communicate to the workshop. Your technical drawing is the blueprint that your custom builder uses to build your custom piece, so we ask you to review and sign off of technical drawings prior to production.
Installations and Deliveries
When your order nears completion, we will collect your final balance and work with you to schedule an installation or delivery. The final step in the custom design process happens after your Ernest Thompson collectible is delivered and installed. You will always receive a follow up call, a Certificate of Authenticity signed by your custom builder and our company president, and an invitation to call or stop by anytime. Once you’ve worked with us once, you become part of our Ernest Thompson family. Tomorrow, or twenty years from now, we welcome you to call again. We thank you for your business and look forward to helping you expand your ET collection.
Appointments – On-site and Off-site: ET welcomes walk-in consultations. To ensure that a design consultant is on-site and available for a custom design consultation, please call us directly to schedule an appointment. ET design consultants are available Monday – Friday, 8:00am – 5:00pm Mountain Time and Saturday 10:00am-5:00pm Mountain Time. ET also welcomes telephone or email inquiries and custom consultations. For non-local clients, custom designs are generated and shared via fax, email, or standard mail. Ernest Thompson is happy to conduct home or office visits for our local customers to assist in the consultation and buying process. In the event that home visits require extensive labor hours or non-local travel, ET may require a partial deposit or confirmation of the intent to order prior to scheduling off site appointments.
Deposits: ET requires a 50% non-refundable deposit at the time each furniture order is placed. The remaining balance will be collected nearing the completion of your order. Once the order is paid in full, ET will install or release furniture orders from the workshop for delivery. Cabinetry orders require a 25% deposit at order signing, another 25% payment at the time technical drawings are approved, 40% payment at order completion prior to scheduling installation, and the remaining balance at the completion of installation punch list. In addition to personal checks, we are happy to accept Visa, MasterCard, and American Express.
Drawings: Upon request, ET will produce a general concept sketch of your custom piece for review prior to receiving a deposit. The concept sketch shows general components, layout, and overall dimensions but does not specify individual measurements or specifications. The purpose of concept sketches is to ensure that we are correctly understanding your needs, and the sketch allows us to price your pieces. ET may provide a concept sketch for your review and initial approval prior to providing a formal quote. Upon receipt of your deposit and a signed order, your design consultant will submit a request for technical drawings, and ET will produce technical drawings outlining all specifications and dimensions. This process typically takes approximately 2-3 weeks. We will submit these technical drawings to you for review, and will collect your signature on all custom technical drawings prior to production. In order to ensure that your custom order retains its place within our production queue, ET requests that all final technical drawings are signed and returned within 10 days of receipt. In the event that final, signed technical drawings are not returned within 10 days, ET will make all efforts, but cannot guarantee, that your order will be completed within the originally specified production time frame. As technical drawings require considerable time, thought, and labor hours, Ernest Thompson generally does not provide technical drawings prior to confirming an order unless a partial deposit and intent to order is confirmed. Please note that, during the process of drafting technical drawings, construction, proportion, or style issues may arise that require that we revise components of your design from its initial concept sketch. In the event that we discover the need to alter initial concepts, we will contact you to discuss your options and will work with you to confirm a final technical drawing that works best for you.
Quotes and Pricing: Unless otherwise specified, all quoted pricing includes ET’s standard knotty alder wood construction, your choice of ET’s standard finishes, your choice of light wood distressing or no distressing, and your choice of ET’s standard decorative hardware selections (knobs and pulls). Additional charges will apply for upgraded finishes, alternate wood selections, upgraded hardware, and heavier distress levels. Prices quoted do not include tax or delivery/install charges unless uniquely specified. As cabinetry and non-standard furnishing designs require considerable time, thought, and labor hours, and since we typically provide custom quotes for a large percentage of our customers, please allow us a few days to formulate your custom proposal. We will stay in constant contact with you throughout the quoting process, and you are welcome to call us anytime.
Guarantee: We want you to be completely satisfied with your purchase of Ernest Thompson Furniture. Our work is fully guaranteed against any defect in materials or workmanship for one year after purchase. If you ever have a problem, please give us a call. Any claims against this guarantee must be authorized by Ernest Thompson Furniture.
Returns and Exchanges: Each ET piece is made to order and constructed per the customer’s approval through signed technical drawings; as such, ET does not accept returns or exchanges of furniture or cabinetry. ET design consultants work closely with each customer throughout the design process to ensure that every order responds to your stated needs and specifications. We request that our customers closely review technical drawings prior to returning a signed copy to ensure that all dimensions, specifications, and style details are accurate.
Taxes: ET charges New Mexico gross receipts tax, and the tax rate is reevaluated and reissued by the NM Taxation and Revenue department biannually. Tax is calculated and collected with your final balance based on the current tax rates on the date of your order’s completion. Orders shipped out of state are exempt from New Mexico gross receipts tax. In the event that you live out of state but opt to pick up your order at ET’s Albuquerque workshop, New Mexico tax law requires that ET collects tax on your order.
Shipping and Receiving
When your furniture order nears completion, we will collect your final balance. When your ET order is paid in full, we will research competitive shipping or delivery rates from multiple high value shipping companies. Once we find the most competitive rate, we will connect you directly with a representative from the shipping company. This allows you to pay the shipping company directly and to coordinate a delivery schedule that works well for you. To keep your costs down, ET does not maintain an in-house delivery fleet. Please note that, while ET can collect delivery shipping quotes prior to completion, final shipping charges cannot be confirmed until your order is complete. High value delivery and shipping charges require final measurements and weight, which cannot be calculated until your order is complete. Sombraje orders must be completed and boxed prior to determining weight and dimensions.
ET provides installation services for most cabinetry and built-in furniture orders. Installation charges, unless unforeseen at the time the order is placed, are generally quoted on your invoice and will be factored into your balance due. Installation services are quoted based on travel and installation time, and unforeseen or non-disclosed on-site factors that result in additional installation services may result in additional costs. Such costs will be factored on a case-by-case basis. Please inform your design consultant if your order requires special consideration regarding access, site security, second floor delivery or installation, access through restrictive doorways, corners, or passageways, as this may affect the construction of your piece and the amount of delivery or installation time required.
In the event that you opt to pick up your order, please ensure that your vehicle can safely accommodate your pieces in transit. To keep your costs down, ET does not stock blankets, bubble wrap, or other protective coverings for completed orders, as these packing materials are generally provided by your high value shipping and delivery vendor. Please bring plenty of padding and protective coverings with you when picking up your pieces. ET will require your signature on the order prior to pickup, to confirm your acceptance of the order as-is when it leaves our workshop, and ET does not assume responsibility for the safekeeping of orders once they leave our workshop. Our workshop is open until 3:30pm Monday – Friday. ET requires, typically, 24 hours notice of order pickup to ensure that the workshop is open and we are prepared to release your order. When the workshop is closed, ET regrettably cannot access your order.