- Famous Tattooed People
- What is a GOOD tattoo?
- Deciding on a design
- My kid wants a tattoo
- Finding an artist
- Finding a shop
- In Preparation
- Surrender to the moment
- The process of tattooing
- Permanent Cosmetics
- The school of tattoo
- Glossary of terms
You will buy nothing in your life, other than a tattoo, that will last as long. If you were to figure out the cost per year of a tattoo it would be inconsequential. How much do tattoos cost? This is a good time to let your feet do the walking and not your fingers.
First have a reasonably good idea of what you want and where you want it. If you have any reference material, books, pictures, greeting cards, jewelry, downloaded images, or drawings, bring them along to better give your artist an idea of what you want. It is important to go in person because unless you are both looking at the same thing the artist won’t know how much to charge or estimate.
Think about it, if l describe a tattoo to five different people, and ask them to draw it based on a verbal description, l would get five different drawings. l would also get five different prices. Which artist would be the closest to what l had in mind? How would l know? Would it be the cheapest? Who knows? l am not psychic and I’ll place a bet that your prospective artist is not psychic either.
If you must call, you can ask about shop minimums and what they charge per hour for custom work or large pieces.
Local shops in my area charge about a $50. minimum. That’s right, if you get a tattoo that takes 2 seconds, you’ll pay $50. The minimum charge covers a lot of stuff. All of the medical supplies that will be used for your tattoo, all of the paper supplies, ink, new needles, and tubes, autoclaving of the reusable equipment, all of the paperwork that needs to be done, shop overhead, cleaning. It doesn’t pay for itself and it doesn’t get done by itself. For every tattoo done there are minimum costs involved and the shop minimum reflects this.
Most shops have a price per hour. Local shops in my area charge at least $120. Per hour. Don’t get too excited yet. Every tattoo done in a shop is not timed and charged for accordingly. The people who get the per hour rate are getting the big tattoos. Repeat customers who, because of the sheer size of their tattoos, need to come in multiple times to complete the work. They get a deal because of the amount of work being done.
You may go into a shop and get a tattoo that was quoted at $200. but only took 1 hour 5 minutes to do. I guess that the easiest way to explain this is like when you get your car serviced. Let’s say you need a new muffler. The auto repair shop has a table of how many hours of labor are involved in putting on a muffler. Let’s say it’s 2 hours, but they get it done in one. They will charge you the 2 hours of labor. It is just the way it is. Listen, as far as I’m concerned, I’d rather get out of that chair, as quickly as l can, and just because the artist is fast. They shouldn’t be penalized for it. I think they should get a medal!
Sometimes a sizable complex tattoo can go pretty fast. So you luck out and don’t have to sit and suffer for as long.
I have been tattooing for many years. Over that time I have developed a certain efficiency and speediness that doesn’t compromise the integrity of the tattoo. Some of the people that I have worked with are a little slower at it than l am. Not much and the tattoos are of the same quality. Should a person pay less for the same tattoo if I do it, than they would if another slightly slower artist does it? Certainly not!
I was taught that pricing depended on 4 things; size, complexity, placement, and the attitude of the customer. Let’s talk about the attitude of the customer. Do you work with the general public? If so, who do you love to help? The friendly smiling customer, or the bitch with the chip on her shoulder? I can tell you who would pay more for their tattoo.
Tattooing is a stressful job. You are doing art, which is restricted by what your patron wants. You are applying this art by the means of a tool that has minimal room for mistakes, and your canvas has a mind of its own. The worst possible customer is one who brings his or her own crappy baggage into your shop and disrupts the atmosphere. The person that thinks that they are superior to you and that you are here to serve them. I’d just as soon let them take a walk down the street and lord their magnificence over someone else.
Repeat customers get and deserve the loyalty discount at my shop.