How Much To Tip Tattoo Artists: A Helpful Guide

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Tattooing is a recognized and developing art form. While a tiny number of tattoo artists have achieved a certain level of popularity, the majority run their modest businesses or work as independent contractors to support their families. Like chefs, authors, and graphic designers, they are creative professionals. In light of this, how important is it to tip tattoo artists?

No set amount of tip is required to give to tattoo artists. For tipping service-based industry workers, a decent guideline is 15–25%. Nevertheless, you may tip more or less based on various factors, such as the quality of work and your tattoo’s complexity. Tipping as little as 10% is also acceptable if your tattoo is large and expensive. 

Although leaving a gratuity for your artist is not mandatory, most tattoo artists appreciate and anticipate it. But what percentage should you leave your tattoo artist? Read on to learn more. 

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Is Tipping Expected Or Optional?

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Most of the time, tipping is undoubtedly optional but customary, so many people still choose to do it. 

Why do people do it if it’s optional? After obtaining personalized treatment, a client may tip for various reasons. It might vary from feeling like they have to do it to just wanting to express gratitude to their artists for providing them with fantastic service.

Leaving a tip after getting personalized treatment is always a good idea, mainly because many servers depend on gratuities from clients to supplement their meager wages. Therefore, tip your tattoo artist, mainly if you had a great experience.

However, there are certain situations when leaving a tip is inappropriate, such as in Japan, where doing so might sometimes be slightly against a server’s work ethic. Though many people are aware of cultural differences, this is only sometimes the case.  

Why Should You Tip

It is crucial to recognize tattooing for what it is: a highly individualized service. When you hire a tattoo artist, you request that they permanently inscribe their artistic vision on your body. Because of this, you should tip them and pay them for their services. 

You may better comprehend the financial challenges your tattoo artist deals with daily by seeing them as solo artists or small company owners.

A tattoo parlor is costly to operate. Your tattoo must, in some manner, cover the costs of materials, services, supplies, scheduling software, rent, utilities, and promotion. 

It is also important to consider taxes. If your tattoo artist is an independent artist, this also implies that taxes are not deducted automatically from their paychecks, but must be paid directly to the IRS. 

Giving your artist a tip is a practical way to express your gratitude for their originality, artistry, and individualized service.

Additionally, since tattooing is often only considered freelance employment, tattoo artists, like other artists, depend primarily on commissions. They may find this challenging since they must spend money on their own supplies like inks and needles.

They must refrain from cutting corners on this since doing so would harm their tattoo shop’s reputation. 

Even yet, the decision to tip tattoo artists is entirely yours. Tipping your artist will go a long way, particularly if you like their work.

When Should You Tip

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Like with a hair or nail appointment, provide a tip after the service, or make a payment at the counter or right after. 

Some tattoo shop that does not accept credit card tips, so be ready for your appointment and bring cash. Contact the studio before your appointment to find out whether it is permissible to leave a tip on a credit card.  

On the other hand, you could be debating whether to tip a tattoo artist after each session if it takes multiple sessions to create a giant tattoo, like a backpiece or sleeve. Tipping is generally accepted after each tattoo session, since extensive tattoos may take months or even years to finish.

Although other artists say they are a little more tolerant of big projects and don’t anticipate tips at the end of every session. It depends, but if you wait until the very end, you may be able to donate significantly.

By dispersing the tip over time, you may express gratitude for the tattoo artist’s work while making it easier on your budget.  

When Should You Not Tip?

If you have a negative encounter, you may have the right to skip tipping. Tipping is a statement of thanks and appreciation, so do not feel obligated to do so if you don’t feel that way throughout your session. A tattoo session may be challenging if the tattoo artist is unkind or has a bad attitude.

Understanding that having a horrible session differs from disliking your tattoo. If you tell your tattoo artist immediately that you don’t like it, they could offer to repair the tattoo free of charge.

Even if you don’t like the outcome, think about tipping if they made you comfortable, guided you through the aftercare process, used a clean setting, or made a custom design. 

Only tip if your tattoo artist accepts gratuities. There is a tattoo community that has different views and will not accept tips. They could reject your gratuity outright or give you back half of it. 

How Much Should You Tip

In reality, there is no hard and fast rule for tipping tattoo artists.

For tipping service workers, a decent guideline is 15–25%. For example, with a 20% tip, your final tattoo price would cost $240 if the original tattoo price is $200. 

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Nevertheless, you may tip more or less based on various variables. Your inclination to tip will, among other things, depend on your level of satisfaction with their performance. It seems reasonable that you would want to leave a smaller tip if you did not like the job. You have the choice. 

Also, if you operate your own company and can provide your artist a nice gift in place of payment, inquire whether they would be interested in getting tipped for products or services.

However, cash tips are always ideal. In this manner, your tattoo artist receives the total gratuity and is exempt from paying any taxes or service charges. Add a little more to offset the costs if you add your tip to a credit or debit transaction.

Additionally, most credit card interfaces include prompts for adding tips throughout the checkout process to make things even simpler.

Don’t be shy or embarrassed about tipping; tipping etiquette is just a part of getting a tattoo. Just spend some money to celebrate your new tattoo! 

How To Tip on A Budget

You can still have that one tattoo if your budget is tight, and you can still tip the artist well.

Ask your artist whether they are okay with you tipping them on a session-by-session basis. By doing this, you may pay the tips you intended to give them at the end of each session, adding up to the whole amount. This way may save you if getting a tattoo takes longer than expected. 

Or you may consider giving your artist a present. Since this is unusual, check with your artist before the appointment to determine whether a gift is a good tip. However, it is advisable to contemplate not getting a tattoo if you cannot afford the tip since many artists only take cash tips. 

What If You’re Not Happy With Your Tattoo?

It is never enjoyable to have a horrible tattoo experience, but we recommend talking to your artist about it so they can try to make it better; nobody wants to leave the studio feeling unhappy. 

However, your tattoo artist deserves a tip if they take the time to design a unique tattoo just for you and work diligently over several sessions to execute the design successfully. 

Tattoo Tipping Overseas

If you reside in a nation where tipping is frowned upon, refrain from leaving tips.

Although the U.S. has a strong tipping culture, it may be considered rude or unnecessary in some other countries. If you are getting a tattoo outside of the United States, be careful to research the custom of tipping and abide by it.

Tipping is an insult in some countries in Asia, like Japan. Some company owners will presume that you believe they underpay their staff. 

While it differs among European nations, gratuities are nevertheless commonly accepted.  

Tipping Pointers to Remember

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Here are some tattoo etiquette and additional pointers to remember when tipping your tattoo artist.

  • Credit card tipping entails card fees in addition to taxes that your tattoo artist must pay. Therefore, cash payments guarantee they get the entire tip.
  • In addition to a tip, you may also provide a social media shoutout and a five-star review. 
  • Research the tattoo artist’s social media before seeing them for the first time. 
  • A present from your own business is a fantastic complement to a monetary tip. 
  • It is best to put off getting that tattoo if you don’t have enough money to give them monetary tips. 

Conclusion

Nowadays, most people see tattoos as a form of self-expression. Tattoo artists produce everlasting body art while putting a lot of effort into realizing your vision. Since there is no golden rule for tipping, the answer to the question is totally up to you.

Even while you are not required to tip, doing so will make your tattoo artist feel appreciated. It will also guarantee that you will get even more excellent care on your future projects. 

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