Tattoo pricing

This topic comes up often for us as tattoo artists and it is a difficult question
to answer. Here in this article, I hope to shed some light on the factors involved in what
formulates tattoo pricing.

There are 3 different ways that tattoos are priced in professional studios:

1. Minimum tattoo pricing
2. By the piece
3. Hourly rate

Minimum tattoo pricing are small simple designs that are charged a minimum price.
($100 is the shop minimum at Soular Tattoo.) In order to take the time to set up a tattoo station
with the supplies needed to do a tattoo there is a minimum charge. It’s up to each artist if they
feel the work involved to tattoo the design is at the minimum price. Most small, simple designs
that are on less difficult placements of the body are considered minimum price tattoos.

Tattoos pricing by the piece are usually small to medium sized tattoos which are more than
the minimum ($100+) and are given a set price. Artists quote these tattoos based on size,
placement, level of detail, and the amount of work involved in creating any art for the tattoo. As
a general rule for myself, I only price by the piece if I know the design can be finished within 3
hours or less. Too many variables that are out of the artist’s control can greatly affect the time
needed to finish tattoos that take more than 3 hours. Therefore, large tattoos (pieces taking
more than 3 hours) are charged an hourly rate.

Hourly rates are assigned to larger or multiple session tattoos. Some artists charge for the
time used for stenciling and drawing on designs before the actual tattooing begins. Some
charge at a discounted rate for this time while others do not charge for this part of the process.
All artists charge for the time spent tattooing. Time taken for reasonable breaks is not charged
for but if a client’s requests for additional breaks become excessive then we will begin to
charge for this time as well. Each artist sets his or her own hourly rate. Rates are a reflection of
the artist’s speed, experience, portfolio, skill level, popularity, and location.

red and green tattoo ink mixed in water

What to consider when getting your next tattoo and choosing the artist.

It’s important to understand that most artists are subcontractors and so tattoo pricing may vary from
one to another.

– The style and quality of the work you’re wanting. (ALWAYS look at the artists portfolio.
Whether a physical tangible book or a social media platform, you want to make sure you like
their overall style of work and can trust them as your artist)

– Speed in which the artist works. (ultimately effects the final price of hourly rate tattoos. An
experienced professional artist should be able to give you a rough estimate on the amount of
time your tattoo will take) This will be a good estimate for you to know what to expect. It’s
important to understand with so many variables involved it’s possible the time needed to
complete your tattoo may differ somewhat from the estimated quote. This is okay because
even the best artists cannot predict how well people will sit, their skin type, and how well the
tattoo will heal after each session.

Demand. How popular the artist may be? How booked out are they?

Location. Where is the artist/shop located? The cost of living effects prices of everything
including tattoos.

The professionalism of the individual you’re seeking work from. What’s the initial vibe
you get when meeting the artist? Do they seem interested in working with you? Do they give
you eye contact? Do you feel they are truly “hearing” you and your idea? If you are open to
suggestions and the artist is aware of this, are they willing to present ideas that could
improve your overall tattoo design?

The cleanliness of the studio. (If you’re not able to see the studio in person when
scheduling your appointment you can always read online reviews.) Professional tattoo artists
who take great pride in their work will also take great pride in the cleanliness of the space
they work in.

Reputation of the shop. Word of mouth is and always will be the most trusted form of

Tattoos are on us for our entire life time folks! Do not take this lightly. You have been given one
body, one piece of canvas to decorate. Let this thought be at the forefront of your mind when
deciding on a tattoo. If your quoted a price thats more than you were expecting, it may be in
your best interest to save up a bit more to get the tattoo you’re proud to wear.

It’s true to say that good tattoos aren’t cheap, and cheap tattoos aren’t good.
A good artist is confident in charging what they’re worth.

If you need more information feel free to give us a call!


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