Tattoo Pricing: How Much Should My Tattoo Cost?
The primary factor in the price of a tattoo is the time it takes the tattooist to get the final product on your skin. Asking what a tattooist charges by the hour isn’t particularly useful to the consumer since each tattooist works at a different speed. This is why most tattooists are happy to give you a price range quote for the completed work. A tattooist will estimate the time it will take to actually get you inked, but also include any consultation, drafting and re-drafting required in coming up with your final design. Just because a tattoo is big doesn’t mean it will be more expensive than a smaller tattoo, especially if that smaller tattoo has considerably more detail requiring more time to complete.
Where on the body a tattoo will go can potentially play a role in the cost. Some body parts are easier to ink and take less time to tattoo than other parts. Tattoos on more “sensitive” areas of the body oftentimes cause people to need more breaks, thus taking longer to apply. Tattoos being applied to more “squishy” areas of the skin require more stretching of the skin which can also add to the time it takes. Tattooists may consider body placement when they calculate the price range they quote you.
Getting a tattoo is an investment. And more than just cost, investments are about value. One hundred or two hundred dollars for a well-made tattoo may not seem expensive at all if you consider the years of enjoyment it will provide you. Conversely, if you pay the cheapest price possible your tattoo may be poorly done, and you’ll be stuck looking at it for the next thirty, fifty, or seventy years (and maybe even end up paying more to “fix” later). In this case, it doesn’t really matter how good of a “deal” you got.
Finally, it is customary to tip your tattooist if you are satisfied with his or her work, so you should include this expense in your tattoo budget. Estimate between 15 and 25 percent, depending on the quality of the service and your happiness with the end product. Let’s face it, if you’re willing to tip your waiter or waitress twenty percent to bring your afternoon lunch to the table, don’t you think it’s worth giving a little extra to someone who has given you something that you will have for the rest of your life?
If you’re concerned about spending too much money, we suggest you follow these tips to keep your tattoo costs down:
- If you are going with a larger and/or more complex tattoo, many tattooists will allow you to break up the work into several sessions (and payments). Consider starting with just the line work being tattooed, and come back on a later date to get (and pay for) the rest of the tattoo.
- If you come to your tattooist prepared with a Tattoo-Friendly®, stencil-ready art reference from TattooFinder.com, that’s time (and money) saved. You may still spend some time discussing how the final product will look with your tattoo artist, but you’ll have already set the groundwork for that discussion by having examples of what you want at the ready.
- Ask around. Some tattooists may be as good as others, even if they are not evenly priced. Just as you would shop around to find the best deal on any big-ticket item, you can shop around for the best value in getting your tattoo.