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How Much Does a Tattoo Cost? – Tattoo Prices Guide

Prices of tattoos would depend foremost on the design and size, but the experience of the artist plays a role as well. Usually, prices go by the hour, and rarely by a design.

Getting a tattoo is a big responsibility, at least for that limited time while you plan the design and choose the salon. These days the artists are all amazing and do a great job with modernized ways of working, like better machines, less pain, and no blowouts. So, with such good quality, it is expected that the costs are higher as well (compared to tattoos in the past).

How Much Does a Tattoo Cost?

The tattoos are a notable investment, and the prices are determined on an hourly basis most of the time. Some artists may decide on the price per design, however, this is less common. An average hourly price is between $100 up to $200 on average, but this can vary between salons and artists. Further, regular medium-size or small tattoos could cost a minimum of $50 up to circa $450. Cover-ups are usually expensive, and touch-ups are free of charge in general.

There is not a big difference between the prices for black and white and color tattoos. In this case, the design and details will determine the hours needed to finish it.

However, the UV tattoos (black light ink) tend to be more expensive than other tattoos, and the final price is almost always higher by at least $50 to $100 compared to regular ink.

And lastly, if you decide on a temporary tattoo, like the henna, the average hourly price is a minimum of $50 and upward.

Is there a thing like coverup costs? Do they differ from the original tattoo cost?

Unfortunately, did the time come to cover up a tattoo you dislike, or simply use up the same body part and skin area that is already tattooed? Or maybe you just need correctional sessions to enrich and improve an outdated tattoo.

By some logic, it would make sense to pay the same for the cover-up as for the tattoo. But, on the other hand, it would also make sense to cash out more because the cover-up does not go on clean skin, but over design, and this sounds tricky.

And, the latter is true. Cover up tattoos cost more than regular ones because there is more work in them, and the artist has to think of creative ways to fit the new designs on your old ones, so the average price for this would be circa $125 as a minimum. Of course, some salons would still charge you the same as the original tattoo, but most of them will increase the sum because the new outlines have to fit, colors have to cover the old colors, etc.

Maybe you need to polish up the lines or faded colors, without a cover-up. Are the costs of this high?

Surprisingly, the cost here does not exist! There are some common policies between tattoo artists and salons that touch-ups for tattoos freshly made, within the first year, will be free of charge.

But, it goes without saying that if another artist did your tattoo, or many years have passed (at least 1-2), you will be charged according to the design and time needed for the cover-up.

cheapest price for a tattoo

What is the cheapest price for a tattoo?

At first thought, designs and pictures with details and whole stories going on should be more expensive than fonts and words. On average, fonts and words tattoos are done quite fast, and there are no long sessions of pain for them due to this. On average, fonts, letters, names, and wording tattoos would be between $75 and $100 per hour. But, portraits or art pieces will start from $200 up to $400 or more.

Are lip and mouth tattoos costly?

The lip tattoos are quite extreme! Well, to get a lip tattoo you have to be courageous enough, or willing enough to go through the pain on the surface of your mouth, the inner layer inside your mouth, just for a small permanent design. It doesn’t sound too bad. We won’t be addressing the permanent lipstick tattoos, but the real deal – the regular ink tattoo inside on your lower lip. The prices here start at $100 on average.

Here you might want to think about getting this. These tattoos are similar to the finger tattoos – they fade fast, and the skin layer there is too gentle and thin to hold the ink for long. It is a cute idea if you just want it to boast a little, but expect it to be faded, or fully gone in a few years.

Are eyeball tattoos expensive?

This is the best question, hands down. Getting an eyeball tattoo is probably the most extreme and extravagant and dangerous thing you could do!

These tattoos are also called sclera tattoos, and they must be expensive because of course, the eyeball and all that! How can they not be pricey, considering the eyes are so fragile in case of injuries, and tattooing them is still a needle poking inside!

On average, the cost of sclera tattoos is a minimum of $500 and up.

Can I put a tattoo over a skin scarring from an injury?

Thank God for tattoos and salons, and tattoo artists, and the era we live in! It is extremely difficult to let go of the notion that your body looks different after some injury. Or maybe it was a defect from birth, not just injury. Whatever the case, most of us tend to nourish complexes, but it shouldn’t be that way – let’s be clear on this!

Still, it is a massive relief to know you can not just cover the scars or scar tissues and defects, but also make them enriched, turn them into a piece of art. Imagine how this would look like in the past? Back then, people had to learn to love their imperfections, right?

The thing with scar tissue tattoos is that they are more painful than normal tattoos. The skin where you had an injury, is thinner or thicker after it heals. The skin layers are changed, and you will need a higher tolerance to pain for these. The most painful sessions are those that cover serious scars or injuries, such as deep cuts (veins, artery lacerations), or amputation scars, and similar. As a rule, the more serious the injury, the more painful the tattoo will be in that area.

Regarding the price, the artist will decide on it once he estimates the needed time to finish this tattoo. Keep in mind that ink over injured and scarred skin may require longer sessions, or it could need touch-ups as well. Why? Because the skin here will hurt more, thus it will bleed more. If this happens, the colors would not be fixed precisely, and you will both decide to continue another time, and let this heal first and dry up nicely.

Is it pricier to get a tattoo or to remove it with a laser?

Does it hurt to remove a tattoo

As we mentioned previously, and so far, the average cost of getting a tattoo of medium size is around $50-$300 per hour. The smaller and simpler designs cost less, like words, fonts, simplistic designs, etc., whereas the larger ones like portraits or complex art are the pricier.

Now let’s remind ourselves of the laser removal costs. These are on average above $400, again, for regular, medium size tattoos. You see, the laser costs are just a bit higher than the actual tattoo. If you dislike the ink you have, think well if you can just do a touch-up, or maybe a full cover up with a new design. But, if you firmly choose the laser, be sure that you want to get rid of the ink on that skin.

It would be quite impractical to remove this tattoo, and do another one on the freshly clean, ‘laser-done’ skin, right?

Are there additional expenses to getting a tattoo?

Yes, there are some additional costs, but they are more personal hygiene products that you normally use, and maybe one or two cheap products for fast skin healing. These costs aren’t even counted as costs, because they are minor and you will not notice them like a hard hit on the wallet. If you already splurged hundreds or more on a tattoo, what are a few dozen dollars more for ointment or lotions?

Usually, after the session, the artist will recommend these products to you; whether it’s an antibiotic ointment, or fish oil cream enriched with skin-healing components, balms, creams – depending on his policy and products he always swears by. These are affordable, not more than $20, or $30 on average everywhere (even though there are some top-notch expensive products as well).

Should you give tips to the tattoo artist?

Short answer: yes. Leaving tips is basic courtesy and basic good manners. Just as you would leave tips in a restaurant for a good meal, or the nail salon for a great manicure, or even the hairdresser’s salon, bars, wherever – why wouldn’t you at the tattoo salon? After all, this is not something you get every month. You get this tattoo, and you ‘wear’ it forever. So, if you like the service, the final result, and you have a good relationship with the artist, leave a tip, please.

But, how much? It is simple math, just try to use the rule of tipping elsewhere too, which is around 15% as a minimum, up to 20% and more if you are very satisfied with the service you got. I would advise you not to give less than the minimum because it looks bad and not polite at all. It shows the artist that you don’t value his work since you tip just for the sake of it.

Are some types of tattoo ink more expensive than others?

Well, yes. Some types of ink, like the blacklight for UV tattoos, is slightly pricier than the regular ink. This blacklight type is more specific in its formula, and of course, the demand for it is not so high as with regular ink. Another reason would be the texture of this ink – it is a bit tricky to insert it properly to stay under the skin, so the artists either repeat over it or do their magic along the way.

Will the cost change or decrease if you are not satisfied or the service was not good?

This is extremely useful to ask and know! Unfortunately, even when many artists know their job and love it, there are those rare few that will mess up a tattoo, and hopefully, that is not you.

Here it is all subjective and it depends. Is the tattoo slightly different than what you imagined or agreed to? If so, compare the picture to what you have on your skin, and try to negotiate with the artist for a partial correction or addition.

But, the bad part is when the tattoo is completely messed up and different from the original picture – we mean different for the worse! Usually, this is most visibly seen with messed up portraits or complex designs. In this case, it is of no use to ask for corrections, the damage is done. Laser removal is not worth it, it will only be more money wasted, plus a lot of pain all over again.

The obvious solution is to discuss with the artist for a refund, as much as possible. No need to say that tip here is out of the question since the initial price is debatable in the first place…

5 Factors that Affect the Price of Your Tattoo

Factors that Affect the Price of a Tattoo

There is no one measure for deciding on the price. Your artist will not simply think of a price off the top of the head. Many things add or reduce to the initial price in mind, such as.

1. The picture you want to get

As we mentioned above, a more complex and rich design will cost way more than a simple design. Let’s take for instance the clear comparison between words and letters, and a realistic portrait. It is obvious that some designs are done in half an hour or so, and some even in more sessions!

2. The size

This one relates to the point above. The longer it takes to finish the tattoo, the higher the price. Even if a tattoo is done in less than an hour, it is a common policy to be charged for the full hour. Just the same with overtime, if you are even half an hour more than expected, most artists would charge it as the full hour (additional). You never know how long it would take precisely; there is a chance of bleeding for example, where you would need to sit out for a while until it stops so that you can both continue again. The tattoo size determines the hours needed, and thus the price.

3. Chosen body part

You might think this is not relevant and you should be able to change your opinion on the spot. To a certain extent, I understand you on this. Let’s say, a symbol would be the same on the arm, as on any other random body part, right? Well, wrong! There is a reason why artists ask for the body part and this relates to the price. If you choose a sensitive area, there is a risk of more bleeding there or extremely careful work due to nerves and similar.

4. Reputation and experience of the artist

You might be lucky enough to find a relatively young artist that rents part of a large salon or still shares a studio with another artist. In this case, you will probably get a good tattoo for a super price (if the artist’s portfolio is nice so far). On the other hand, going to salons that belong to the artist, or he is an expert with many years of work, be ready to spend a nice, big sum for sure.

5. Spot where the salon/artist is located

This will not play a huge role, but still, there could be a minor difference. For example, if the salon is way too far from the city noise and busy streets, and you need more time and resources to get there, prices would not be extremely high. Unlike centers of cities and busy neighborhoods where the artist is more ‘visible’ and popular…


Whatever you choose, keep in mind that more details and bigger size will cost more. Consult more than one tattoo artist to just compare their prices and decide. A word of advice – do not always go for the very cheapest. A tattoo is a permanent thing, so make it good!