First of all, your artist will never expect you to tip, but they appreciate it when you do. This article should make the entire experience a little less painful by simplifying the tipping situation. Many details factor into the cost of your tattoo and the same goes for your tip. A basic rule of thumb to follow is 10%-30% per piece ($10-$30 per hour).
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Your tip should reflect your experience. Was your artist totally awesome, informative and attentive? Did they take your vision and turn it into something magical? Then perhaps you may feel like tipping on the higher end of the scale.
- Was your piece super complicated? Did you really put their skills to work? Did you make a lot of changes to the original design? In the end, did they take the time with you to make sure everything was perfect and gave you that crazy awesome piece you always dreamed about? A nice tip says “Thanks for putting up with me.”
- Getting a tattoo can be a special experience. Your artist can make it even more meaningful. Most tattooists really enjoy learning about your tattoo’s story and it can help them breathe more life into the composition. If your artist went above and beyond the technical and helped to give you a real heartening moment, return the love. It makes them feel awesome.
- Conversely, if your artist did not seem enthusiastic about your ideas, gave you minimal effort or attention and the work turned out mediocre then tip accordingly and find another artist!
Tipping your piercer
Tipping your piercer can be a bit more complicated. You won’t necessarily adhere to a 10%-30% guideline. Piercers do a lot more than just piercing.
Think about this:
- Perhaps they helped you fix some troubled jewelry. They saved you from needing to spend money on a new purchase and helped your piercing stay healthy. $3-10 for their time is a nice way to say “thanks.”
- Maybe they spent a decent amount of time with you, lined up multiple piercings or helping you decide on the exact placement. $5-20 per piercing will show how much you appreciate the skill and effort they put into making everything perfect.
- What if you were an emotional wreck and they alleviated your fears and kept you strong and entertained. Their skills helped get you through a nerve-wracking experience so that you could get the piercing you really wanted. Tip ‘em! They’ll feel as awesome as you do.
- Conversely, if your piercer seemed short-tempered, ill-mannered or just plain snotty then tip accordingly and complain to their boss! A piercer should genuinely care about your experience. Sometimes being a good piercer means wearing the “stern parent” hat, but you should always feel confident that they have your best interests at heart.
You should always feel good about tipping your artist – never obligated.
You don’t always have to just give cash! Homemade gifts and/or a great review on Yelp! go a long way to express appreciation.
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