Tattoo Shop Etiquette
- Don’t come wasted to your session. Making lifelong executive decisions shouldn’t be made while under the influence of anything. I would hate to give someone a tattoo they might regret the morning after. But aside from that, there’s nothing more annoying than tattooing someone who’s completely hammered. When you’re drunk, it’s harder for you to sit still, making my job harder, and adversely affecting the quality of the tattoo. Plus, drunk people are known to get loud and crazy, and just because you want to party doesn’t mean you should do it in our tattoo shop (or anyone else’s).
- Be on time. Most tattooers worth getting work from are going to be booked. With that in mind, if you show up to your appointment late, this affects your artist’s schedule for the rest of the day. I know that s*** happens and that you can’t control the traffic, but punctuality is always appreciated. Worst case scenario, if you are running late, it’s always a good idea to call and let your artist know.
- Don’t bargain. “Good tattoos aren’t cheap, and cheap tattoos aren’t good.” — Sailor Jerry. When it comes to your tattoo, the old saying “You get what you pay for” says it all. Price should not be a deciding factor. Would you bargain with your doctor or your plastic surgeon? Sure, you can go the cheaper route and risk getting a lopsided boob job — but if you ask me, that risk isn't worth the gamble! It’s not like buying a stylish pair of shoes or a leather bag. Tattooing is a permanent body modification, and a tattoo shop is not a swap meet. It is offensive to an artist when people try and bargain the price of a given quote. Trying to talk down the price only translates to, “I don’t think you are good enough to pay that much,” to your artist.
- Don’t bring children with you. Although tattooers are skilled multitaskers, you shouldn’t count on them being able to do your tattoo and babysit your kids at the same time. And you shouldn’t assume that you’ll be able to get a tattoo while you’re keeping a watchful eye on your children. Depending on county regulations, most shops don’t allow minors into a shop, and for good reason. When you think about it, some kids are the same height as our trash cans. And those trash cans are filled with materials considered to be biohazardous. I know that if it were my kids, the last place I’d want them playing hide-and-seek would be an environment with that kind of stuff around. If tattoo shops were rated like the movies, I’d say most would be somewhere between R and NC-17! There is cussing involved, and discussion of adult-oriented subject matter that may not be appropriate for young ones. This is a one-size-fits-all rule and includes babies, toddlers, tweens, and teens. (Yes, even your especially polite and quiet kid.)
- Eat something before your appointment. Before you get tattooed, make sure you’ve had a meal or a snack. Clients who arrive hungry may get dizzy or even faint. It’s more common than you think, so even if it’s a candy bar, eat something.
- Dress the part. Make sure to wear clothing that allows easy access to the area on your body you plan on getting tattooed. Focusing on your tattoo in oder for it to be perfect is hard enough without some strap or some complicated shirt getting in the way. Don't wear your favorite articles of clothing. We are using ink that will not come out of your clothing. And we will not pay for your dry-cleaning or clothes replacement.
- Take a shower. This one is self-explanatory.
- Don’t be a tattoo adviser — and don’t bring one with you, either. We don't like when a client brings along a buddy who is more sure about the tattoo than the guy who is getting it. If you’re not 100 percent sure about what you should get, you should wait until you are. If anybody ever asks you to be their "tattoo adviser", remember this advice. It doesn’t matter if you like the placement or the design. It isn’t your body. Clients, we will happily and patiently work with you to find the perfect fit for your piece.
- Don’t bring an entourage. Bringing one friend for moral support (not to be a tattoo adviser) is totally cool. But I promise you, even though it may sound like a good idea to invite all of your first, second, and third cousins, it isn’t. There may not be enough seating, so some of your homies will be forced to stand for hours and will most likely find themselves getting in the way a lot. Besides, it’s not that fun for them to stare at a wall for the hours the tattoo may take. And it can be distracting for your tattooer. So leave your friends at home and surprise them later with your brand-new piece of portable art.
- Don’t talk on your cell phone. No one wants to hear you tell your mother what you ate today, the fight you’re having with your cheating girlfriend, or the debate between you and your lawyer about whatever business deal you’re trying to close. Don’t be the “inconsiderate cell phone guy.” Please!
- Don’t get a tattoo if you’re pregnant. Being tattooed raises stress levels and affects your immune system. If you’re pregnant, these are two things your doctor will tell you to avoid during those nine months. Any good tattooer will refuse to tattoo a pregnant woman.
The Importance of Quality Body Jewelry
Our Commitment to you, our clients:
- Purchasing all standard body jewelry (rings, barbells etc.) from Americanestablished companies with unprecedented quality guarantees
- Using only reliable and proven Implant-grade metals that are properly designed and finished
We adhere to the highest standards in the industry when it comes to jewelry quality. Buying from established companies will provide unprecedented guarantees of quality and assurance against manufacturers’ defects. It is for similar motivations that we support originators of designs as opposed to using imported knock-offs who often sacrifice not just integrity but quality in an attempt to cut costs. We support artistry and the individuals who put the creativity and effort into building this industry and continue to be part of moving it forward in a positive direction with fair wages and quality control and environmental protections in place.
For the safety and well-being of everyone and everything, we put stringent safety standards in effect when selecting jewelry for our clients.
A wise person once said, “Good tattoos aren’t cheap, and cheap tattoos aren’t good”.
There is a time and place for bargain hunting, but making a permanent modification to your body is not one of those times. A low price can often be an indication of poor quality and/or less than desirable health and safety precautions. You don’t want to spend all that money you saved getting tattooed on medical bills and/or laser removal. It helps to get over the sticker shock if you consider your tattoo as a lifelong investment – costing mere pennies a day.
If you’re looking to get a small piece, most shops have a shop minimum ranging from about $40-100. (Our minimum is $80.)
For a large and/or custom original piece, you will likely be charged an hourly rate. (Our hourly rates range from $100-150/hr.)
Hourly rates vary based on the experience level and talent of the tattoo artist and local standards. The price of a tattoo is a combined reflection of the value of the artist’s time, the cost of supplies, and equipment and the investment in both time and money on sterilization practices. (Remember that tattooists see only a percentage of this fee, making anywhere from 30-70% after the cost of supplies and shop fees.)
New artists and apprentices may charge less. This can either be a reflection of their skill and/or simply an enticement to gain experience and build up a portfolio. It is very important to look at tattoo portfolios before choosing an artist, but scrutinize portfolios especially closely when the deal seems too good to be true.
The price of your tattoo is sure to be forgotten in time, but you have to look at the resulting artwork on your body for the rest of your life.
Any decent artist will want you to have an amazing tattoo that will look great both now and in the future. If they have suggestions on size, placement or composition it makes sense for you to consider their thoughts and expertise. They are not simply trying to bump up your cost or take over your image. If you are concerned with the price or are on a budget simply say something and your artist may be able to redesign or simplify the tattoo design to cut down on the overall cost. Or you can wait an extra month or more to save up and get something that will be a pleasure to behold many years later.
Considering that most tattooists only receive a fraction of the cost of the tattoo, tipping is greatly appreciated. Tips typically range from 10-30%. They should be based on how happy you are with the overall tattoo and the experience. A large and/or difficult piece that was done with a smile and charm while you squirmed and twitched through it would be a good example of a time to tip generously. If you changed your mind/design a dozen times and had your artist redraw for you then homemade cookies in addition to a fat cash tip is the way to go!
If you have any questions on the tattoo process, just ASK. It is our pleasure to help make this as physically and emotionally comfortable as possible.
Tipping Your Tattoo Artist or Piercer
Tip Tor Tat
First of all, your artist will never expect you to tip, but they appreciate it when you do. This article should make the entire experience a little less painful by simplifying the tipping situation. Many details factor into the cost of your tattoo and the same goes for your tip. A basic rule of thumb to follow is 10%-30% per piece ($10-$30 per hour).
Here are some things to keep in mind:
- Your tip should reflect your experience. Was your artist totally awesome, informative and attentive? Did they take your vision and turn it into something magical? Then perhaps you may feel like tipping on the higher end of the scale.
- Was your piece super complicated? Did you really put their skills to work? Did you make a lot of changes to the original design? In the end, did they take the time with you to make sure everything was perfect and gave you that crazy awesome piece you always dreamed about? A nice tip says “Thanks for putting up with me.”
- Getting a tattoo can be a special experience. Your artist can make it even more meaningful. Most tattooists really enjoy learning about your tattoo’s story and it can help them breathe more life into the composition. If your artist went above and beyond the technical and helped to give you a real heartening moment, return the love. It makes them feel awesome.
- Conversely, if your artist did not seem enthusiastic about your ideas, gave you minimal effort or attention and the work turned out mediocre then tip accordingly and find another artist!
Tipping your body piercer
Tipping your piercer can be a bit more complicated. You won’t necessarily adhere to a 10%-30% guideline. Piercers do a lot more than just piercing.
Think about this:
- Perhaps they helped you fix some troubled jewelry. They saved you from needing to spend money on a new purchase and helped your piercing stay healthy. $3-10 for their time is a nice way to say “thanks.”
- Maybe they spent a decent amount of time with you, lined up multiple piercings or helping you decide on the exact placement. $5-20 per piercing will show how much you appreciate the skill and effort they put into making everything perfect.
- What if you were an emotional wreck and they alleviated your fears and kept you strong and entertained. Their skills helped get you through a nerve-wracking experience so that you could get the piercing you really wanted. Tip ‘em! They’ll feel as awesome as you do.
- Conversely, if your piercer seemed short-tempered, ill-mannered or just plain snotty then tip accordingly and complain to their boss! A piercer should genuinely care about your experience. Sometimes being a good piercer means wearing the “stern parent” hat, but you should always feel confident that they have your best interests at heart.
You should always feel good about tipping your artist – never obligated.
You don’t always have to just give cash! Homemade gifts and/or a great review on Yelp go a long way to express appreciation.