The cost of tattoos. Tattooing has always been expensive. The tattoo
supply has increased dramatically with a surge in the amount of artists, but the
demand has also increased, with more people getting tattoos, and tattooing
becoming less taboo. So tattooing is still expensive.
In America, you can expect a basic price of
$80 to $100 an hour. Sometimes shops don’t charge by the hour, but instead by
the piece, and that may or may not be to your advantage. There is a minimum at
every shop, and although that often differs, very few shops will ever touch you
for less than $40. This may seem incredibly pricey, especially since you might
only want a star the size of a dime, but there’s a few reasons they won’t charge
Most tattoo artists pay a percentage of what they make to the shop in order to
work there and use certain supplies. Most shops in America pay between 40-60% of
what they make to the shop’s owner, so out of that $40 minimum, the artist may
only be making $20. Also, tattooing equipment is another cost. So in order to
make it worth their time at all, they usually set minimums.
There are a few myths about the cost of tattoos that I’d like to correct. Color tattoos do not cost more than black and grey ones. Color tattoos do tend to take longer if they have large palettes than black and grey tattoos do, so that may be a factor, but color itself is not more expensive. Where it is on the body may differ in price at the discretion of the tattoo artist. Shoulders are easy to tattoo, while the lower back is much more difficult. So the same exact tattoo on your shoulder may cost a good deal less than it placed on your lower back. This shouldn’t factor into your decision when deciding where to place your tattoo that you will have for the rest of your life, but it is something that you might want to be aware of.
Since no tattoo price is set in stone, unless the artist works exactly by the hour only, tattoo artists oftentimes try to see how much money they can get out of the customer without scaring them away. Prices are often made up on the spot depending on many factors, including whether they are excited to do the piece, where it is going to be on your body, and even if they’re broke that week. None of this is fair, especially since tattoo shops rarely ever negotiate prices, so it’s wise to find a fair and talented tattoo artist that you trust, rather than gambling at the shop closest to you.