Should You Be Tipping Your Tattoo Artist?

When you go to the salon, and get your hair done, chances are you’ll be tipping your stylist. They spent anywhere from 30 minutes to 3 hours making you look like a rockstar, so of course they deserve a tip! A few weeks later, you stop by a shop and get a new tattoo. Your artist spent at least 2 hours, maybe even 6 or more, working on a piece that will be on your skin for your entire life. Don’t you think they deserve a tip as well? Not everyone thinks so! Some think a simple “wow, this is great! I’m gonna recommend you to all my friends!” is good enough, some think that tattoo artists make too much money to get a tip. That’s not the case! 

Here are some TIPS on tipping your tattoo artist!

Tipping Is An Industry Norm

Elf (Lodi)

Tipping is to be expected in the service industry. You tip your stylist, you tip your waitress, so you tipping your tattoo artist isn’t too farfetched! There can be a few exceptions to the rule, such as if you’re being tattooed by the shop owner. If that’s the case, you can tip a little less, or if you had a really bad experience. Tips range anywhere from 15%-35%. If you had a good session, tip, and if you had an amazing session, tip really well.

Multiple Sessions?

How do you tip if you’re having multiple sessions? That’s totally up to you. Do you tip after each one, or do you save it all up and give a good size tip at the end? There’s no right and wrong in this situation, so use your discretion.

Tattoo by Jesse (Elk Grove)

Money Talks

Richard (Lodi)

While gifts are great, and compliments are lovely, they don’t pay the bills. Verbal tips aren’t payment either. A verbal tip is something like “I absolutely love my tattoo! You did such a great job, I’m gonna name my dog after you!” This a real thing that happens, and it’s not a real tip. Tipping your tattoo artist with money is the best way to go. Although if you want to include a gift like baked goods or something you know your artist would enjoy along with some money, that’s fine too.

Spread The Word!

Pay it forward! After you tip your artist, go tell anyone and everyone who will listen to you who did your tattoo. Write a positive review for them on Yelp, Google, Facebook! People are quick to tell about a bad experience but not a good one. If you spread the word about your tattoo artist, then you’ll help them get future clients.

Emerald Tattoo Lodi Yelp Listing

The Starving Artist

Art by Richard (Lodi)

Tattoo artists don’t make as much as you might think they do. Some have to rent out their space, or “pay by day”. That means they rent their space and even if they have no clients for that day, they still have to pay for occupying that space. Other shops take a percentage of a tattooer’s earnings, anywhere from 40%-60%. They also have to buy their own supplies, such as needles, inks, machines, tubes, and it adds up quickly. Keep that in mind when you’re tipping your tattoo artist!

They Deserve It!

The bottom line is is that they deserve it. Your tattoo artist spends hours looking at references, drawing up a design for you, customizing it, changing it, and then even more time actually tattooing! They’re marking your skin for life, so you probably don’t want to create any bad vibes or feelings by not tipping them.

Aaron (Elk Grove)

Tip your artists, not cows!

Tipping your tattoo artist is 100% optional, and you should tip something that you can comfortably afford. These people put in a lot of themselves into their art and tattooing, and it’s not a skill that just anyone can do. Remember that something given in sincere gratitude is appreciated so much more than nothing at all! And don’t forget to tip your piercer, too!