How much should you tip a tattoo artist? | Expenses

Looking for a new body art? In addition to the cost of inking your half sleeve, you should also consider giving a little extra money for a tip.

“As with all gratuities, tipping is a gesture of appreciation for good service and a good product,” says Pat Sinatra, president of the Alliance of Professional Tattooists. “We usually tip restaurant servers and salon workers because many of these people often work for minimum wage or commission and percentage and rely on tips for their income. It’s no different for tattoo artists.

Patrick Cornolo, owner of Speakeasy Custom Tattoo in Chicago, agrees: “Tipping is pretty normal in tattooing. If you had a good experience and you like your tattoo, tipping is appreciated but not expected.

Should you tip a tattoo artist?

In short, yes, you should always strive to tip your tattoo artist.

“Often (tattoo artists) will rent a chair or space and donate up to 50% of their earnings to the shop owner,” says Sinatra.

This means that if you get a $200 tattoo, your tattoo artist might only get $100 for that work, time, and effort put into inking your body art.

Sinatra also recommends tipping all tattoo artists, even if you’re getting your ink done by the owner. “Clients often feel like they don’t need to tip the owner, but if the owner works with others in the studio and their work is appreciated, a tip is greatly appreciated,” says Sinatra.

How much to tip a tattoo artist?

When it comes to tipping a tattoo artist, you can check the etiquette for tipping hairstylists, massage therapists, and restaurant servers for tips.

“Honestly, anything affordable to you is welcome,” Sinatra says. “A suggested percentage of 20% to 25% for personal services is an accepted norm, especially in these post-COVID times.”

Cornolo puts the range between 15% and 20%, but says it really varies. “Some tip less, and some are very generous.”

For example, you might be wondering how much to tip for a $500 tattoo. In this case, a tip between $75 and $125 would be appropriate. If you’re doing smaller art or maybe a touch-up for $100, a tip of $15-$25 fits the bill.

Some regular or loyal customers also give gifts to their tattoo artists, such as restaurant gift cards, theater tickets, and donuts for the shop.

“These are nice gestures to show they appreciate your time and work — and are appreciated as well,” Cornolo says.

Do you tip for tattoos that require multiple sessions?

Sometimes a tattoo takes more than one session to complete.

At Speakeasy Custom Tattoo, Cornolo says tattoo artists do a lot of large-scale work that takes multiple sessions.

“Customers at multiple sessions tip per session or some wait and tip when the play is done,” he says. “It’s completely a personal choice on their part.”

Do you tip differently for custom tattoos?

Custom tattoos are custom body art designed by your tattoo artist in collaboration with you, while flash or walk-in tattoos are pre-made designs you find in a book or poster at the tattoo shop. .

“The practice of tipping would be the same whether it was a custom tattoo or a walk-in from a flash sheet on the wall,” Cornolo says.

Typically, walk-in tattoos are smaller designs, which cost less, while custom tattoos can be larger and more expensive due to upfront work, but tip a percentage based on total cost applies to both types of tattoo.

Do tattoo artists prefer to be tipped in cash?

The choice to tip cash or with a card is at a tattoo artist’s discretion, Sinatra says, and she recommends clients ask their tattoo artists which they prefer.

In Cornolo’s experience, however, cash tips are best.

But whether your tattoo artist likes cash or card tips, it might be worth knowing that preference before your appointment, as some ink jobs can be quite expensive, and you’ll want to make sure you have the right amount of tip. tip at hand.

In general, tipping is a nice way to say thank you for a job well done, and it’s also a way to support tattoo artists who rely on tips for part of their income. That said, according to Sinatra, “A tip is never expected. It is always graciously appreciated.”