A wise person once said, “Good tattoos aren’t cheap, and cheap tattoos aren’t good”.
There is a time and place for bargain hunting, but making a permanent modification to your body is not one of those times. A low price can often be an indication of poor quality and/or less than desirable health and safety precautions. You don’t want to spend all that money you saved getting tattooed on medical bills and/or laser removal. It helps to get over the sticker shock if you consider your tattoo as a lifelong investment –costing mere pennies a day.
If you’re looking to get a small piece, most shops have a shop minimum ranging from about $40-100. (Our minimum is $70.) For a large and/or custom original piece you will likely be charged an hourly rate. (Our hourly rates range from $100-150/hr.) Hourly rates vary based on the experience level and talent of the artist and local standards. The price of a tattoo is a combined reflection of the value of the artist’s time, the cost of supplies, and equipment and the investment in both time and money on sterilization practices. (Tattooists see only a percentage of this fee, making anywhere from 30-70% after cost of supplies and shop fees.)
New artists and apprentices may charge less. This can either be a reflection of their skill and/or simply an enticement to gain experience and build up a portfolio. It is very important to look at portfolios before choosing any artist, but scrutinize portfolios especially closely when the deal seems to good to be true.
The price of your tattoo is sure to be forgotten in time, but you have to look at the resulting artwork on your body for the rest of your life.
Any decent artist will want you to have an amazing tattoo that will look great both now and in the future. If they have suggestions on size, placement or composition it makes sense for you to consider their thoughts and expertise. They are not simply trying to bump up your cost or take over your image. If you are concerned with the price or are on a budget simply say something and your artist may be able to redesign or simplify the tattoo design to cut down on the overall cost. Or you can wait an extra month or more to save up and get something that will be a pleasure to behold many years later.
Considering that most tattooists only receive a fraction of the cost of the tattoo, tipping is greatly appreciated. Tips typically range from 10-30%. They should be based on how happy you are with the overall tattoo and the experience. A large and/or difficult piece that was done with a smile and charm while you squirmed and twitched through it would be a good example of a time to tip generously. If you changed your mind/design a dozen times and had your artist redraw for you then homemade cookies in addition to a fat cash tip is the way to go!
If you have any questions on the tattoo process, ASK. It is our pleasure to help make this as physically and emotionally comfortable as possible.