Tipping Standards for Tattoo Art

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If you are thinking about tipping your tattoo artist it can often be difficult to know what will feel acceptable. Finishing up a session with a tattoo is usually best done by acknowledging the great work that your tattoo artist has done.

Proper etiquette for tattoo artists is generally dictated by a tip in exchange for the work. The art is going to permanently rest on your body. There really is no consensus on what’s an acceptable tip for tattoo artist. The tipping model for a tattoo artist is really just based off of the same model that you would use at your local beauty salon.

If you would typically pay somebody for doing your hair around 15 to 20% extra as a tip, you may want to consider doing the same for your tattoo artist. If you’re being taken care of by the owner of a tattoo shop or someone that is known as a very high profile artist, you may want to consider adjusting your tipping rate to something a bit lower or simply a higher price point for the session. These are often the owners of the store so they will be able to adjust the margins accordingly to compensate for their time.

Most tattoo parlors have their artists rent space in the shop much like a salon would. This means that the owner of the tattoo parlor is getting some type of percentage of each tattoo or a monthly rental fee. Some shop owners charge as much is 60% of the hourly rate just for chair space.

Keep in mind that if you’re getting multiple sessions in a short period of time you could consider tipping your artist every other session throughout a large piece or work out a plan with them after your first session. Tipping is an expected cost of a tattoo and there’s no reason why you shouldn’t compensate an artist for their time and for the beautiful work that they do.

If you just received a tattoo and you’re really proud of the results, you definitely have to  set aside at least 15 to 20% of the total cost to make sure the artist is appreciated too.

This post was written by J Michael Taylor. J Michael Taylor is an artist and owner of Black Amethyst Tattoo Gallery. Black Amethyst is a Clearwater tattoo shop. They provide an art-first approach to custom tattooing in a gallery setting.