Finding the perfect tattoo artist who can make your dream tattoo come true can make you feel ecstatic. Yes, and I am here to shrink your bubble of joy for a bit. While choosing the tattoo artist may seem like you have solved your problem, it is the inception of just another problem.
What if you do not find their payment pattern on their websites? What if the rates are there, but you do not know how long your tattoo will take? The answer to the questions is that you have to ask your tattoo artist for a quote. Now, how to ask a tattoo artist for a quote?
To know the quote of a tattoo artist, you can start asking them politely about their rates during your consultation. Otherwise, you can also email them, make a phone call, or text them directly using social media. But you need to be thoughtful about the approach.
You should understand that although you might hesitate to bring up this topic because of its sensitivity, it is not impolite to do that. If anything, it is important because your tattoo artist should know your budget range for your desired tattoo design.
You do not want to encounter a situation where you discover your tattoo price is $1500 after getting it, but your budget was only $900. That would be embarrassing for you, which you can easily prevent by asking your artist for a quote. There is nothing wrong with that.
But yes. There are ways to present the topic during the consultation or in a text message. You are to be thoughtful about it so that you do not sound disrespectful.
Tattoo artists hate to be treated as some tattoo factory. They realize that you have a budget and cannot spend a fortune on your tattoo. However, there are one or two things about etiquette that you can and cannot do.
Additional Read: Learn about 4 ways to finding the right tattoo artist for you
Is Asking A Tattoo Artist About Their Charging System Alright?
Let me start by telling you how and when it is NOT alright to ask them about their pricing policies. Do not go straight demanding how much they charge. Any tattoo artist will despise that approach. Besides, it will give them a negative impression of you.
They do not want a client with the tendency to bargain everything to get it at the cheapest rate. As a result, they may refuse to do business with you.
The correct approach is to do it tactfully. First, think of your demands and what you expect from the outcome. Only then ask your artist about their rate policies. It is a subtle technique to raise the topic without telling them you are just looking for a great deal.
You want to handle it delicately because tattooists respect their artwork and expect the same from you. You want to have a great tattoo, and they want you to have it just as much. But haggling will discourage them a lot. You can do that anywhere except here.
How To Ask For Tattoo Estimates?
Tattoo shops charge on two bases. They will calculate the price hourly or upon the tattoo’s completion.
According to the first option, the price will depend on the estimated number of hours your tattoo will take, upon which the tattooist will answer your question. As per the latter, they will tell you the total costs of the tattoo and charge you the price after everything is final.
Tattoo pricing usually depends on the tattoo artists and their tattoo shops. There are not any universal standards to follow. Nonetheless, those two are the most common tattoo pricing methods.
Pricing calculation based on the method:
- Hourly = Estimated hours for tattoo completion x Hourly rate
- Flat Rate = Total Costs = costs to make the tattoo as calculated by the tattoo artist
The first approach to asking for estimates is to proceed during your consultation. The other one is to email or call the tattoo artist to schedule an appointment to visit and discuss with them.
You can bring in any materials to describe your demand. Let your tattoo artist know everything about your design – how big you want it to be, which body part, how detailed it will be, etc.
After you walk them through it all, they will envision it by quickly sketching something or will prepare it later and email you for your approval. Before they begin to draw the design in front of you, ask them for a quote for something like your tattoo design.
They will either give you the hourly rates estimating the time to complete the tattoo or provide a flat rate.
How To Text A Tattoo Artist?
The next option to do the asking without consultation is to message the tattoo artist by emailing or using social media. Here, do not send the first text asking for the price. Start with introducing yourself, then tell them how you have found them.
After that, go in for the actual purpose. Remember to maintain common courtesy at all times.
Here is a demo for your convenience
“Hello, ____. I am ____ and I live in ____. My occupation is _____.
“I found your page on Facebook/Instagram and saw your artwork. I would highly appreciate it if you could assist me with a tattoo design. I would love to have it as a tattoo. I will be looking forward to your reply. Regards.”
(Write your name.)
A text like this will establish rapport by showing that you have researched them and loved their work. It also demonstrates that you care about it and are not looking for a cheap deal to save some bucks. Do not do that. Quality tattoos are costly for a reason.
Once they see your text and reply, it will be something about confirmation that they can help you out and would like to learn more about the design you mentioned.
Then you can send a reply like the following:
“I would like a _______. (Here, you are to explain your tattoo design, style, size, and area. Also, mention if that body part already has some tattoos.) Is the pricing policy based on hourly rates? According to you, how long may my tattoo design take to complete?”
– (Write your name.)
Then they will send a text describing their hourly rates and an estimated timeline. If they do not follow that pricing method, they will give you a flat rate based on the total cost.
How To Start Negotiating With A Tattooist?
If the reply of the tattooist shows a higher price for your tattoo design than your budget, do not let that crush you. There are ways to reconcile.
You can say that you cannot cover the cost, but you really want to get a tattoo with them. So, text them if they can make a change in the design to decrease the price.
“My budget does not seem to agree with the price range. But I would really love to work with you. So, do you think there may be any changes in the design so that we can reduce the price by a little margin?”
Changing the tattoo color from black to white will lower your tattoo price significantly. Skipping some parts of the design’s background might work too. Ask them to give you the details so that you know all the options and lower the price based on them.
Regardless of anything, do not whine about the tattoo cost. Do not argue by saying how your friend in the downtown tattoo shop will make the same tattoo for a lot less money or how one of your acquaintances got the same tattoo in another tattoo parlor at a cheaper rate.
They are bad cards to play because they will embitter the relationship between you and your tattoo artist in the quickest way possible.
Remember the first text you sent? You told them there that you liked their way of working. If you decide to look for someone else, it will not be a problem for them. But you cannot make them budge by haggling.
Tattooists are artists who have to work nails and teeth to make a career out of their skill and passion. They have a rigorous knowledge of what they do and how much value their work is worth.
You might get discounts if the artist is not professional. Mind you, that outcome will also be likewise. But as for a professional artist, the only option is to negotiate, not bargain.
Now that is how to ask a tattoo artist for a quote. It is not rude to do so, but it will be if you do not abide by a well-meant approach.
I have given you an idea of how you can talk about it during a consultation or an email or text. You do not have to follow it bit by bit. Pay your tattooist the respect they deserve for their work while bringing up the topic, and you are good to go.
Meanwhile, put the local market bargaining aside. Instead, negotiate your way into getting what you want. All the best!