So, You're Getting Inked! Here's How Much You Should Tip Your Tattoo Artist.

how much to tip tattoo artist
Here's How Much You Should Tip Your Tattoo ArtistUnsplash

So you've decided to get a tattoo. Congratulations!! You probably already know that tattoos can range a lot in price, depending largely on the size and intricacy of the piece. It can also depend on the tattoo artist — if you're going to someone who's especially in-demand, you might expect to pay more.

But even once you've decided how much you're willing to spend on a tattoo, there's the question of tipping.

How much should you tip your tattoo artist?

"In general, 20 percent is typical, just like other service industry standards," shares tattoo artist Lina Shuliar. "I also want to say, the tip doesn’t necessarily have to be about money. There are many ways to show appreciation – I’ve received so many special and thoughtful gifts from clients after we’ve built a connection in the 3 to 8 hours (on average) we’ve spent together."

So, if you were going to get a $1000 tattoo, you'd probably want to tip at least $200; if you were getting a $500 tattoo, you'd probably tip $100, and so on.

"Tipping is often associated with the time a tattoo takes, the size of the piece, and the relationship clients develop with their artists," explains Treena Orchard, a researcher who explores different aspects of the body as a transformative space, and someone who has a lot of tattoos herself. "For small pieces, you typically tip less. Let's say it's a couple of inches big and took 30 minutes to do, a respectable tip would be $25. If it's a larger, more detailed piece that takes over 90 minutes, a suitable tip would be $40."

Shuliar also notes that, for her, the main factor in tipping is how satisfied the customer is with the finished product.

If your tattoo takes multiple sessions, should you tip at each appointment?

If you're getting a larger piece that requires multiple sessions, you might be wondering when and how many times you should tip your artist.

"Most people tip a little after each session, and then a bigger tip when the project is done," explains Shuliar.

Should you tip in cash?

It's a good idea to head to the ATM before your appointment, even if you're planning to put the tattoo cost on a credit card.

"Cash tips always are better," says Shuliar. "A lot of artists have Venmo, CashApp, or Paypal that can be sent directly to the artist."

If you're still not sure about some aspect of tipping your tattoo artist, just ask. "If you’re in doubt about expectations, ask the artist or the studio manager what the best way to tip is and what they are expecting," suggests Shuliar.

Go forth and get inked!

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