The Etiquette of Tipping Tattoo Artists: What You Need to Know

Like everywhere else, tattooing also has some etiquette you should follow, especially when it comes to tipping your tattoo artist. Since it is not as commonplace as going to a restaurant, people are confused about it. And they are right to be so. The rules of tipping depend on the time, tattooed area, design complications, and other situations.

Here’s the general rule about how much to tip tattoo artists – aim for 20-30% of the total tattoo price, with a minimum of 15%. This range takes into account the time and effort involved in the tattooing process.

I am afraid some of you have gasped at the rate, particularly those planning to get a large and expensive tattoo. Before you back out from it, read the full article. I am sure some of you have lots of questions about it. Don’t worry. The discussion will cover everything.

Do You Tip Tattoo Artists

Why Would I Have To Tip My Tattooist In The First Place?

Since tattoos can be as costly as thousands of dollars, you have the right to ask why you would have to pay extra money as tips in the first place. Well, there are good reasons for that. Let’s scroll down to find them out.

  • Making customized tattoos requires an astronomical amount of work, creativity, time, and effort.
  • It takes artists hours to prepare a design, do its drawings, layout its design, and pick its color scheme.
  • Tattooists have to purchase the required supplies for the tattoos.
  • Your tattooist has to carry on the tattooing procedure for several sessions. That depends on the tattoo size and its design complexities.
  • They have to be mentally and physically focused and invested in making everything perfect. That is because they take responsibility for a thing that will stay permanently on your physique.
  • When you tip them, it shows that you value and appreciate their work and expertise.
  • It builds a strong bond between you and your tattooist.

Every service-based industry requires tipping and values it as their customers’ appreciation. Tattooing is no exception in that regard. The service is personalized, and your tips encourage the artists to be more dedicated towards their work and clients.

Of course, they should work properly anyway. But a gesture of appreciation never goes unwelcome. It is no different from tipping a waiter or a taxi driver.

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Your tattooist does not get hourly payments. They earn a fixed percentage of your tattoo price. That means your tips play as an income source for them. It also allows them to purchase essential accessories and support themselves.

So, How Much To Tip Tattoo Artists?

How much to tip tattoo artists depends on the following factors.

  • If the design is original or not
  • If it is small or big
  • The number of sessions to complete the tattoo
  • Whether the design was challenging to pull off or not
  • The area where you have the tattoo – whether it was easy to tattoo there or not
  • Details of the design and its colors

Typically, you should pay 20%-30% of your tattoo price as tips. It is the usual and most common rate presented by the involved community. If you want to go below that, 15% would be the range. However, they are the general numbers.  You should consider the factors above to calculate the tip amount.

Let me explain that. For instance, if your tattoo artist works on making an enormous and detailed tattoo on a complicated area of your body, and that takes several lengthy sessions, you would come off rude if you don’t tip your artist or tip less than 20%. You should adjust the rate to the tattoo design’s complexity and the level of effort your artist has to put in to create it.

It needs no saying that the tip will increase with the price. It may make it very costly, but it is the standard amount. So, it is always wise to prepare the budget, including the tip. That way, you will not become shocked later and need to postpone the plan to get your dream tattoo.

When Do I Give The Tip?

You are to tip your tattoo artist after the completion of your tattoo. After all of it is done and dusted, and you get the final price, decide on the tip amount.

The recommendation here is that you pay for the tattoo in cash. That will make tipping easier for you. Besides, most tattoo salons do not take tips via credit cards. So, either way, you would need to have some cash ready.

What If I Don’t Like The Tattoo?

The suggestions regarding how much to tip tattoo artists stand when everything in the procedure is perfect, and you like the outcome. But when the case is otherwise where you are not satisfied with the result, you can skip the tipping part without any hesitation. Or, you can ask your artist to make corrections without any charge.

But here is another point. Sometimes it is not even your artist’s fault that you do not like the tattoo. So, even if you do not like it, you should give some tips in the following situations.

  • They did a customized design.
  • It took several sessions to complete the tattoo.
  • The tattoo required detailed work with colors and shades.
  • The artist explained the entire procedure to you.
  • They helped you to assuage the pain and cope with it.
  • They answered each of your questions with patience and care.
  • The procedure was safe and hygienic. The artist used sanitized tools and wore gloves all the time.
  • They gave you an effective aftercare routine.
  • They offered to make corrections to fix your tattoo without charging for it.
  • Overall, they provided you with a pleasant tattooing experience.

How Do I Tip When I Am Running On A Budget?

You should postpone getting a tattoo in that case. Yes, I am serious. As I said, the tips make an income source for the artists. If you are indifferent about it and go to a salon to get tattooed and don’t tip afterward, you will look rude and insensitive. If you have already done it once, I suggest you go to a different parlor if you plan to get a new tattoo.

Note that some tattooists let their clients tip seasonally. It means that if you get several tattoos from an artist, you can add the tips for all of them together. It is useful when you do not have the money for tips right away, but you decide to get another two or three tattoos soon. However, make sure you discuss it with your tattooist and check if they allow seasonal tips.

Do I Have To Give Only Monetary Tips?

Well, most tattoo artists accept only monetary tips. But if you are not in a position to afford the tip amount, talk to your tattooist and tell them about your situation. If you think you cannot do that, just ask them if they take gifts as tips.

But remember not to do this to escape from tipping. If you can afford the tips, tip them. Otherwise, try to save some money or get the tattoo when you have sufficient money.

Are There Other Ways To Show My Appreciation To My Tattoo Artist?

Yes, there are. For example, if your tattooist has done a great job, and you like your tattoo, take a photo of it (maybe one of the artists or the salon), post it on social media with a positive review.

 Promote their work on Social Media

That way, you can help your artist promote their work and grab the attention of potential clients. The exposure will matter a lot to your artist. It will also help you create a bond with them.

Nevertheless, do not make the mistake of thinking that it will spare you from tipping. That is a given. And giving a review is a secondary way to show your appreciation.

Is There Anything More To The Tattoo Etiquette?

Actually, yes. Tipping is a part of tattoo etiquette, but there is more to it. If you are curious to learn them, be my guest!

  • First, gather all the things you have planned for your tattoo. Jot them down if necessary. Then go and get an appointment.
  • Get references and photos of how you want your tattoo to be.
  • Do not try to bargain the price of your tattoo.
  • Do not be upset or argue if your tattooist does not accept your idea or makes an honest comment on something that disagrees with yours.
  • Skip the session if you do not feel well. Do not bring relatives or friends to accompany you for the same reason. Do not bring children as well.
  • Do not come drunk to the salon. Have yourself properly washed and cleaned.
  • If you are pregnant or have some medical condition, let the tattooist know beforehand.
  • Do not talk about your old tattoo prices to argue that your tattooist is asking for a high price.
  • Lastly, decide how much to tip your tattoo artist and keep it in your mind.

Read Next: How to become a tattoo artist

How Tipping Works in Different Countries and Cultures

It is important to note that tipping customs can vary widely depending on the location and culture. While the general rule of tipping 20-30% of the total tattoo price with a minimum of 15% is a common practice in the United States, it may not be the case in other countries.

How Tipping Works in Different Countries and Cultures

For example, in some Asian countries such as Japan and South Korea, tipping is not a common practice and may even be considered rude or insulting. Instead, providing excellent service is seen as a professional obligation, and tips are not expected or necessary.

In some countries in Europe and Latin America, tipping is more common and expected, with a general guideline of 10-15% of the total cost. However, even within these regions, there may be differences in the amount and frequency of tipping, depending on the country and culture.

Therefore, if you plan to get a tattoo in a different country or culture, it is important to research the tipping customs beforehand to avoid any misunderstandings or cultural faux pas. Some online resources can provide a general guideline on the expected tipping amount for various services and countries.

Final Words

You might be wondering if it is a strict rule that you must comply with to get a tattoo. Well, it is not always mandatory. But it is the greatest way to appreciate a great job, no matter what the industry is. And when it is about tattooing, it is more encouraged since it is a significant part of tattoo etiquette as tips are a chief income source for tattoo artists.

But if you do not want to tip or cannot tip 20%, you should let your tattooist know that before the tattooing procedure starts. I recommend you keep some cash ready before going to get tattooed instead of avoiding tipping. If you can afford it, start the range at 20% and then raise it from there. Professional artists who do their job right are deserving of that.

In some cases, it is alright to start tipping 15% of the price. Nonetheless, I encourage you to do it properly by sticking with 20%. It would be courteous of you to do so. Plus, it will make the client-artist bond stronger for you and your artist. So, next time you go to them for another tattoo, you will be sure to get extra love and care.

Hopefully, now you will not be confused about how much to tip tattoo artists. Thank you for reading, and good luck!

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