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How Much to Tip a Tattoo Artist?

It is preferred if you decide to tip the tattoo artist for the session you had, even if you planned on paying only for the tattoo. It is a decent courtesy and good manners to give extra for such a personalized service.

To get a tattoo is not just choosing a cute design of something you love. There is also something called ‘tattoo culture’ or ‘tattoo etiquette’, and you must know about it. Besides the well-known respect and manners (that apply to everything in life), we want to cover leaving tips.

How Much to Tip Tattoo Artists

In general, you can tip the tattoo artist with circa 15 or 20% of the original cost of the tattoo. To compare this better in general, overall tipping etiquette for other services is in the same range, between 15 and 20%. In this case, if you have a tattoo that costs $200, the final payment should be $230 to $250.

Does the artist share the tip with someone in the tattoo salon?

You might think the tips tattoo artists get is a nice addition to their wallets, but that is not the case. The artist will not get most of the tip, and maybe just keep a maximum of 70% for himself. The rest of the tip sum is used for practical use of the premises – the maintenance of the salon, equipment, and other similar costs that arise in this place.

Read also: How Much Does a Tattoo Cost?

Do you tip a newly discovered tattoo artist?

Of course. Why wouldn’t you? It doesn’t matter whether you met the artist for the first time, or you knew him for a long time. A good job is a good job, and there is no denying this. If your design turned out the best way possible and you love it – it is quite clear that you tip the artist.

There are always many reasons you can find to justify a tip. For example, if you felt he had a pleasant touch that did not cause you too much pain, and he handled your skin the gentlest way possible. Or, he was very talkative and nice, and made the whole experience fun and memorable for you.

tip the tattoo artist

If you see the artist for the first time, and he did a great job – leave a good impression and leave a tip! But also, if you know the artist for a long time, this is another major reason to tip – because you respect his business and commitment you both have to each other throughout time.

When is it ok to not tip the tattoo artist?

On rare occasions, people do not want to leave a tip.

One of the reasons is a job badly done. Maybe you think the artist did not give his best, and you left the salon frowning. And I understand, you have every right to be mad if your tattoo did not turn out well! It is something you will have on your skin permanently, so it has to be good no matter what.

This type of ‘bad tattooing’ would be similar to let’s say the bad behavior of the tattoo artist. If he is not talkative, quite moody, not cooperative to ideas about your tattoo and last-minute questions even – this is another bummer for you as the customer.

It would be alright if you still left a tip just out of courtesy, but if the service was not extremely terrible. I am aware that with terrible service you want to rush out running. But, another possible justification to not leave a tip is simply the precise math you had when you planned the tattoo session.

Maybe you were on a budget and wanted to rush and get a tattoo as soon as possible, so you did not remember to include extra cash to the sum for the tattoo. It happens, but it would be better to always plan extra money for the original price of anything.

In this context, how to tip if you are on a budget? Any alternatives?

Well, there are no alternatives to leaving tips. For other things, and in other cultures, people sometimes tend to bring gifts, but this is not the place or time for it (in my opinion).

What you want to avoid is explaining why you lack money for tips or saying that you would tip another time, and so on. Instead of all these things, try to ask for a small favor, without saying it; for instance, ask and/or offer the tip right after the session (if you are supposed to have the tattoo in a few different sessions). This means if the tattoo is large, your tip will get ‘divided’ if you leave a small fraction of it on several occasions.

And please, never tip with just a few dollars or something so insignificant. This rule applies to almost everything and every service. A small amount of tip-money is maybe even worse than not leaving a tip at all!

What about the way to offer the tip? Proper timing?

You don’t want to tip in advance. It makes no sense to pay for something that has not even started yet. Paying and tipping midway is also illogical, definitely no. Those who would think of rushing with the tip simply have weird or bad manners – it comes off as pushy.

Just pay and tip when the session is over, or the final session is completed.

Best way to tip a tattoo artist

How would you normally tip in a restaurant or for any other service for that matter?

It is always nicer to tip in cash, it is better etiquette and leaves off a better impression. Can you imagine leaving a tip with your card? Not very tasteful, so better avoid this if possible.

Remember to be polite foremost, and always leave a tip – even if the service or time spent was not as perfect as you imagined it, but you still got a great tattoo. Avoid electronic payments, and gifts or substitutes for cash are not ok. Be prepared with a bit of extra money, and you’re good to go.