Yes, please tip your artist! It’s always a weird area to navigate when entering a new situation. Are you supposed to tip or not? How much do you tip?
You’re at the end of your appointment, frantically googling or testing your tattooed friend. Read on for proper tattoo tipping etiquette and what factors you should consider when deciding how much to tip.
Long story short, you should be tipping 18 to 25 percent of the total price. Where you land within that range depends on a few things.
Where Are You Getting Tattooed?
Location matters! Geographical location and what kind of tattoo shop you’re in.
Tipping customs may vary by city. When the cost of living is higher, tips are usually higher. The tipping percentage is usually lower when the cost of living is lower. This isn’t the best indicator of how much you should tip, but it’s something to consider.
You should consider more heavily what kind of place you’re getting tattooed in. Some tattoo artists pay rent or a percentage of their earnings to the shop owner if they tattoo in a shared shop.
Other tattoo artists own their space, so none of their hard-earned money goes to anyone but themselves. If you’re getting tattooed in a space where your artist pays a percentage to the shop owner, you should be tipping on the higher end of the scale.
How Long Did Your Tattoo Take?
How many sessions are we talking about? If your tattoo isn’t just a quickie and it’s running your artist a few sessions, you can thank them for their time in a little extra green.
Also, if it’s a complex tattoo done super quickly, tip up! Thank your artist for being so good at their job that you don’t have to sit for hours.
Less experienced artists cost less because they don’t have the skill set of more experienced artists, and they usually take longer to get the job done. More experienced artists are wielding that needle with years of experience behind them.
They are taking the thousands of tattoos they have done and putting all of that experience into making an awesome design on your body and still not charging anywhere near you would pay for a painting hanging in a gallery.
If you think you should pay less because of how quickly something is done or because it will take longer, consider that you aren’t paying for time but for expertise.
How Many Different Colors and Styles Were Used?
Is your tattoo a black ink line drawing or a watercolor design with traditional elements using six different colors?
Depending on the complexity of your tattoo, you should consider tipping more. You can tip lower on the scale if it’s a quick and easy design from a flash sheet. If it’s a complex, original design that took time to create and even more time to tattoo, consider tipping for that extra effort.
Yes, it’s probably something that your artist worked into the price, but careful execution is also appreciated. Designs don’t just jump off the paper and onto the skin!
How Many Times Did You Change Your Design?
Rate yourself as a customer. It’s a tattoo; it’s going to be on your body forever, so getting the design and placement right is important, but how long did that take?
Yes, customers can definitely be annoying with their asks, but you know what usually makes up for that? A bit of the green stuff.
If you have a lot of extra requests or last-minute asks, consider tipping your artist extra for being so diplomatic with you.
How Was the Experience?
How was your total experience? From the moment you first wrote your tattoo artist, choosing a design, sitting for the session, then bandaging you up and sending you on your way?
Did you have a great conversation while you got inked? Was the process as quick and painless as it could be? Was your artist generally kind, receptive to your needs, and hygienic?
Think about your entire experience and consider if your artist went beyond the bare minimum needed to do the job. If you felt that extra level of care and consideration, fill up that tip jar!
The price of your tattoo is for a piece of art on your body, not excellent customer service. Make sure they feel the love too.
Tattoo Prep and Aftercare
Your artist might offer you a numbing gel before your session to make the process much less painful. Numbing gels can also reduce redness and irritation during the process, so you can have an easier session.
Using HUSH Numbing Gel can also support the healing process while keeping you from feeling so much pain. How’s that for customer service?
If your artist hooked you up with some numbing cream and numbing sprays during the session, you should tip them well. Nothing’s worse than not being able to sit through a session.
Did your tattoo artist clean you up nicely and ask if anything needed touching up? Did they apply a nice healing balm and give you good aftercare instructions? Maybe they even offered some solid products to make your healing journey easier.
Tattoo artists are amazing; they make amazing art that you can have on your body forever. Anything beyond that is amazing customer service that goes above and beyond the job of a body art designer.
Yeah, you’re probably already shelling out a wad of cash for this tattoo, but if the artist makes the experience last in your memories as long as the tattoo lasts on your body, shell out a little extra and make their day.
Tips | U.S. Department of Labor
Aftercare Instructions in the Tattoo Community: An Opportunity to Educate on Sun Protection and Increase Skin Cancer Awareness | PMC