Your Guide to Proper Tattoo Tipping

While we've previously touched on many other areas of tattoo etiquettes, from finding an artist to client hygiene, a topic that is frequently skipped over is tipping. This is because there is plenty of hot discussion within the tattoo community and the mainstream world at large about tipping a tattooer. However, today we're going through every step and question of the process to ensure that you leave feeling 100% confident about tipping etiquette. Let's get started with discussing why tipping your artist is important in the first place. 

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Why You Tip a Tattooer

Tipping is a huge factor in the tattoo process and there are several critical reasons why you should tip an artist for their services. First and foremost, many service industries, from restaurant to hairstyling to cab driving to bartending, feature tipping as an opportunity to thank the worker for their personalized service. Unlike buying groceries at a store, tattooing is a process that requires the artist to give unique and specialized attention to each one of their clients. An artist deserves to be compensated for going the extra mile with a tattoo that will last forever—much like a waiter or waitress deserves a tip for servicing a table of dinners. You wouldn't skip out on tipping a waiter, therefore, tipping a tattoo artist shouldn't be any different.

When evaluating the tipping process, it is also important to consider that your artist will not receive all of the money that you paid for your tattoo. Tattoo artists typically take away 30 to 70 percent of every tattoo's earnings, with the rest going back to the shop. The percentage taken by the shop helps pay for the shop's rent and utilities, wages for shop managers or assistants and the monthly business taxes. And if that wasn't enough, most artists fund all of their own supplies, from needles to ink, which adds up over time. 

Lastly, if you plan on going to your artist again, it's important to make a good impression on them and show that you value their services. An professional artist won't hold it against you if you don't tip, however, if you make the impression that you're a good client then it will work in your favor as your build a relationship.

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How Much to Tip a Tattooer

Now that you understand why you should tip a tattoo artist, then next question is how much you should tip. There's no right answer for this question, however, most artists would agree that 15% is an appropriate minimum with 20% being the norm. Therefore, if you spent $200 flat on a tattoo, you a should tip between $30 and $50. Some clients will tip more than 20%, but most artists will be grateful with the standard amount. 

Additionally, cash or electronic tips are the way to go. This ensures that the artist receives 100% of their tip and in most shops, they'll have you pay for your appointment in cash anyways.

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When to Tip a Tattooer

You should tip your tattoo artist after the tattoo is complete. You wouldn't tip a waiter before your meal, therefore you should wait after the tattoo is complete. It doesn't matter if you pay for the appointment or tip the tattooer first, there is no right or wrong way to conduct this process.

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Are There Any Exceptions?

While it is expected that you tip your artist, there may be a few special exceptions. For example, many shop owners don't expect tips but this goes from person to person. You shouldn't ask if they take a tip, because most people will say yes. In very rare cases, artists will accept gifts or services for tips, but we don't recommend that anyone approach this option. 

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Share Your Thoughts

What do you think about tipping tattoo artists? Do you think tipping is outdated or a necessary part of the tattoo process? Let us know your thoughts in the comments section on Facebook.