How Much to Tip a Tattoo Artist?

How Much to Tip a Tattoo Artist?

Maybe you are getting your first tattoo, maybe it’s your sixth?

Either way, you may still feel uncertain as to how much you should tip the person who is providing you with your treasured ink.

Is there a way to calculate it, or is it based more on how you feel about the service you received?

We are told that tipping a waiter or waitress 15% is customary for receiving adequate service, 20% if you are exceptionally pleased with your overall experience. It is also customary to tip taxi drivers, hairdressers, delivery people, and others within the customer service industry.

Tip a Tattoo Artist for a Job Well Done

As tattoo artists are part of that industry, it is only to be observed that they too should receive a tip for a job well done. Particularly, when you consider the time and effort an artist puts into his or her work, and the time he or she devotes to you to ensure that you are happy with your tattoo.

Keep in mind that often a tattoo isn’t as simple as walking in off the street and asking for it to be done on the spot. Often, when you enter a tattoo parlor you have the desire to receive a tattoo but may or may not have a plan as to how you want it to look exactly. An idea can quickly change and morph into a more detailed concept once it gets the attention of the tattoo artist.

The artist will take the time to sketch out what you want in detail, talk to you about the color, or lack of, discuss with you the cost, and finally, schedule a time to complete the work. Now, some may suggest that a tattoo costs a lot of money on its own and therefore is it really necessary to tip an artist?

You’re Paying for More Than Just the Tattoo

But it should be acknowledged that when you are paying for your tattoo you are also paying for the supplies used, overhead costs, whether the artist rents a spot or is the owner and is paying for the shop, and even the time spent for your personalised service.

Tattoo Artist

It is also important to be aware of the fact that many tattoo artists have received a secondary education; whether through an art degree or at the very least took some post-secondary classes in the field of art. They are an expert in their field and are offering you a form of their artwork, and if offered in another form, such as a painting or a sculpture, it would be an expensive purchase.

The only difference is, when they provide you with a piece of their art, their instrument is a needle and your skin is their canvas. Before you agree to their purchase, they will likely show you examples of their skill whether in picture form or through their sketches; you can often validate their talent beforehand so there shouldn’t be any unexpected disappointments.

What Do Tattoo Artists Earn?

Considering that earnings of tattoo artists are not in the six-figure realm, tips are actually a large part of their annual income. At the bare minimum, 10 % calculated from the total cost should be given. So, for example, if the tattoo costs £100, the total amount paid would be £110.

That said if you are extremely pleased with the result of your ink then feel free to use your own judgment and give the artist a higher tip percentage. Staying within your means is always important, however, especially if you anticipate that you will want more tattoos.

So Should I Tip My Tattoo Artist?

So, if you plan to use the same artist repeatedly then tipping above 20% isn’t really necessary as you will be tipping that individual every time he or she inks your skin. Which brings us to another quandary; if your planned tattoo will take multiple applications and appointments, does that mean you need to tip each time?

Use this rule of thumb, when they ask you to pay for their completed art, or section of a tattoo, that is the same time that you should include a tip in the amount. Also, keep in mind that gift cards or other gift ideas that show your appreciation, while thoughtful, are not the same as an actual tip.

If all else fails, and you still are unsure what is the right amount to tip a tattoo artist, speak up amongst friends and ask them for the amount they chose to give. And if you aren’t entirely happy with the service, tip the 10% and seek another artist for your next appointment.

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