It’s not cheap to get amazing artwork transferred onto your bod! See those celebs with huge, gorgeous designs? Those babies are worth many thousands of dollars! When it comes to tattoos, price matters, and you generally get what you pay for. We’ve got a brief guide here to tell you just what you can get for your money.
Do you ever see body art and immediately want some of your own? It’s awesome to view the different images and line work on others and it’s hard to not want it for ourselves. Here’s the good news: You can get as much art done as you want! It just costs money. We’ve put together a little guide on how much tattoos cost and how to know if you’re paying a fair price. It’s good to know ahead of time that they aren’t cheap and if yours is, be sure to double check the artists work to make sure your getting great work done. This is an investment and it’s going on your body forever so you want to make the right, informed decision so that you can fully enjoy your ink. It’s totally acceptable to shop prices and see what’s a fair rate in your area. Each city and town is going to be a little different depending on the supply and demand factor. Tattoos have gained more and more popularity in the past few years. When the demand increases, so do the prices. Really talented artists can command top dollar for their work and people are more than willing to pay it in order to have masterpieces inked on their skin. What’s the most you’ve paid for a piece and how much are you willing to pay for the next one?
Cost Depending on Location- Both geographically and on Your Body
The first thing to consider is what country your in when your getting work done. For example, a tattoo in Los Angeles is going to cost more than in Chiang Mai. You’ve got the currency conversion rate to factor in plus things in LA and NYC and big cities like that just cost a ton more than other places. If you don’t have a location preference, then get your work done when your in a place that charges less. Don’t sacrifice getting a poor piece done for the sake of money. Do your research and find out who comes highly recommended. If they don’t fit your budget then keep shopping until you find someone who is both talented and reasonably priced.
Something else to consider is whether your in a big town or a small town. Typically the big cities draw the more experienced and talented artists and therefore can charge a lot more. Smaller towns don’t have the same draw and artists aren’t able to charge quite as much.That doesn’t necessarily mean that they lack in talent just because they can’t charge more, it’s just where they are positioned geographically. Referrals are huge in the tattoo industry so ask around and find out who the best local artists are.
It’s also noteworthy to mention that there are areas that will be more difficult to ink than others. For example, the ribs are hard to do because its a bumpy surface and pretty painful so it’s hard for the canvas to stay still. The harder the place is, the more the artist can charge you. We’ll go into more of that later, but it’s definitely something to keep in mind when deciding how much you want to spend on your tattoo.
How Much Does it Cost per Hour?
Artists and tattoo shops vary depending on their overhead costs, skill level and overall reputation. It also depends on the colors you choose, the size and the detail. The more colors you have included in your art, the most costly it will be. Obviously something that has just black in it is going to be significantly cheaper than something with multicolors. It take a lot of time and attention to detail to have a variation of colors.
Most artists will set their own rate because they usually just rent the booth from the shop owner. Know ahead of time that you’re essentially paying per hour. The general rate is around $50-$100 per hour although the really good ones can charge upwards of $150 an hour. That’s definitely something to consider if your planning to get extensive work done as it will take a long time and the cash will accumulate quickly. The more intrinsic the work, the harder it will be for the artist and the more they will be able to charge you. As your setting your budget, that’s something to take into consideration.
Potential Additional Costs
Tattoos are known to fade over time so it’s important to set aside some money to get them retouched. In the event that you don’t like the tattoo, it might be a good idea to have an emergency fund if you want to get it removed. Just be advised that this option is extremely painful.
Also keep in mind that you may need some after work ointment. This helps the work heal nicely and prevents infection and unnecessary peeling although peeling is inevitable. It’s part of the process as your skin heals and regrows. Don’t slack off on taking care of your tattoo because it will prevent problems down the road. Being attentive and nurturing to your skin now will save you money later. Remember that when your balking about whether you should buy the ointment. You definitely want it. Your skin will love you and your wallet will thank you!
Most shops have a shop minimum which means that they have a price that is set even if you want a tattoo the size of a pin drop. Tattoo artists have to cover their costs and their time. ink costs money, supplies cost money, and time costs money, so expect a shop minimum fee around $50-$75 if you even want a small tattoo.
Depending on your artists policy touch ups will be a required down the road. A lot of tattoo artists will include life time touch ups for free but not all do, so be prepared in the years to come to get some color added or some lines touched up from natural human ware and tare. even if the artist does include life time free touch ups, that does not mean you shouldn’t tip. YOU SHOULD ALWAYS TIP!!!
What are Other Good Things to Know
It’s good to know ahead of time that the minimum piece size of a quarter will typically cost you the shop minimum fee. Even though it’s a small tattoo, they still need to be able to pay for needles, paint and the artists time. Find out what the minimum is before you agree to get inked.
If you aren’t sure what you would like to get, you can ask the artist to sketch something for you so you can get an idea. This will sometimes be a $20 fee but it will go towards your tattoo if you decide to get it. Your tattoo might be cheaper if it’s not an original and if it’s a stencil so if you’re working on a budget, this is something to discuss with your tattoo artist.
Take a look at past work that the artist has done. Are you impressed with what you see? A lot of artists depend on referrals so if your friend has work that you like, ask them where they go. If you don’t like what you see then keep shopping around until you find work that you love and want for yourself.
Consistency is key, If you are the new guy in a tattoo shop then they are going to charge you like the new guy. no discounts, deals, or anything like that. but if you keep going to the same artist every time you get a tattoo, especially if you are getting a lot, its likely that your price per tattoo and per hour will go down. As the artist knows you are going to come back to them the price will drop but your tip amount should never decrease.
What about Tip?
Definitely don’t forget to tip. This will vary between artists but the general consensus is usually $25-$50 an hour. That might seem steep, but believe us, it’s worth it to have a happy artist so that they do their best work. What they’re creating is going to be permanent on your body and you want it to look really good.
The better you tip the happier your artist is going to be. The better you tip, the likelihood of your price dropping on future tattoos is going to be. If an artist knows that you are a good tipper, then they aren’t going to try to charge you a higher per hour fee.
Should I Ask for a Quote?
Absolutely ask for a quote! Don’t be shy and make sure you and the artist are both on the same page. It’s worth it to both of you. If your not satisfied by the first quote, shop around, compare and then make a decision. It’ll pay off in the long run to make a well informed decision.
A Few Things to Ask Yourself:
As you’re deciding the tattoo of your dreams there are a few things you should take into consideration that will greatly affect pricing.
-Where do you want the placement of the work and is it in a hard location for an artist to ink?
– What types of colors are you interested in? Do you want just black or a myriad of coloring?
-How big do you want the image? Is it spanning from shoulder to shoulder or is it on a discreet spot on your arm?
-What’s your budget? This may seem like an elementary question, but it’s super important to take into consideration how much you can afford to spend on the art. Sometimes, once you’re in the tattoo parlor, you can get super excited and blow your budget. That’s why it’s important to know ahead of time how much you want to spend and then stick with that number!
-Get to know your artist. You don’t have to be besties by the end of it, but it’s definitely worth getting to know them. And who knows, maybe the next time your in the chair, they’ll give you a friends discount.
What if I Can’t Afford the Prices?
If you’ve read all of this and can’t wait to get in touch with your local artist so they can start on your next piece, but aren’t sure how to pay for it, here are a couple helpful ideas to save cash.
-Find out exactly how much it’s going to cost ahead of time. Talk it over with your artist and factor in all side costs and tips.
-Decide a goal of when you’d like to have your tattoo by. Having a goal to work towards is super helpful because it’ll encourage you to keep saving even when you don’t feel like it. Goal setting can do wonders!
-Work out a fair budget so that you can set aside money each paycheck for your tattoo fund. Take a look at what your spending currently and see if there is any wiggle room to save here and there. Tattoos aren’t necessities so look for parts of your budget where your spending freely and perhaps think about taking that money and putting it towards your tattoo.
-Start making coffee at home and skip the daily run to the coffee shop. It’s amazing how much money you’ll save in doing that.
-Eat in a few nights a week and cook at home. It saves money, is pretty healthy and you can eat the leftovers at work the next day.
-Bike or walk instead of driving and safe some extra cash on gas.
Each person is different so see what works for you. Comment below with other suggestions, we’d love to hear them. Your body is a canvas and the artist will create a beautiful piece of art on it, it’s just going to cost some extra dough. It’ll be worth it in the end so knowing all of this ahead of time can really help you make well informed decisions about who to work with and how much is fair to pay.