There’re a lot of things in life you’ll give friendly tips for. The taxi cab driver who takes you and your heavy luggage to the airport. The valet who parks your car in the rain so you don’t have to deal with getting soaking wet. There’s restaurants, bars, and countless other things too.
However, when it comes to tattoos, most aren’t really sure what a fair tip is to begin with. If you’re looking for a fast answer, I’ll tell you: 20-30%.
Which is excellent in terms of tipping your artists, but there’re a few things you should also know.
Tattoo tipping rates:
As mentioned above, an excellent tip is anywhere from 20-30% depending on the end price. Now, if your tattoo artist’s charges $150 hour and you spend five hours in the chair, it puts you at $750. A very generous tip for this piece would be $150 to $225.
Yet, on bigger and more time involved pieces with prices say over $2,000, you could be looking at a $400 to $600 tip all said and done. For some clients that’s a bit too high, and it’s rightfully understandable. Often, with high price tags you can go down to 10-15% with no hard feelings about it. That’s still a hefty $200 tip.
In the opposite regard, let’s say your tattoo is only $200, you might want to consider tipping at least 25%. In this case, it’s a fair $50 tip.
You should also know that some clients and even artists themselves will simply tip $100 every single time; regardless of the size, work involved or complexity. If you don’t like dealing with math or just want to make sure your tip always is fair, it’s hard to go wrong with a flat $100 bill.
Why tip if you don’t have to?
It’s true, tips are not required. You can get a tattoo and walk right out of the shop without leaving a tip behind if you feel inclined to do so. Sure, you’ll get a few bad looks, however, there’s more to consider than just that alone.
In reality, your tattoo artist doesn’t always pocket the full $500 out of your $500 tattoo. The tattoo shop is going to take a cut out of it. All said and done, your tattoo artist might actually end up with a $200 paycheck. Now, when you think about tips, you might realize how large of an impact they have on helping to make your tattoo artists paycheck go further.
How to tip when you’re on a budget
One of the best pieces of advice I can give you is to space out your tipping per each session. Let’s say your new tattoo is $5,000 and your budget is literally maxed out. To conserve your finances just tip 20% (Or however, much you feel is necessary) after every session in the chair.
It’s like making small payments to stretch your money over a longer period of time. In the end, your tip would have been $1,000 at once, but assuming you have 4-5 sessions, that’s only $200 each.
When to tip and not to
Remember, tipping is not mandatory at all, you can decline for any reason. Now, I know a lot of people today talk about it like it’s something you must always do, however, that’s just not the case. If you receive poor service, a lack of kindness and consideration, or really lacking attention to fine detail, you have every right not to tip.
Understand, that a tip is a direct reflection of the service you received! It is a representation of your appreciate for not only your artists time but also their work.
You should only tip when you feel as if your artist has either met all your expectations or gone above and beyond. There are a considerable amount of artists who can be rude or simply do a botch job with your new ink. Never feel bad about not tipping in those types of situations.
Tattoo artists understand
In reality, countless people end up tipping anywhere from $5 to $20; in contrast to 20-30%, it’s not much at all. Yet, many people still do it regardless.
Some even refuse to tip, and I’ll explain that in a second here below. However, you should know that most tattoo artists won’t be expecting a tip each and every time from their clients.
Just remember to tip what you can, when appropriate. There’s nothing to be ashamed of if you are rewarding your tattoo artist rightfully so. Please don’t be cheap though, it’s sort of like saying you don’t appreciate your artists skills or time.
Some may overcharge
It’s not uncommon to hear about someone getting their first tattoo and being considerably overcharged for it. Sometimes it happens, it really just depends on what shop you go to. Remember, though, it’s not always the case!
Here’s what I briefly mentioned about the no tip part above. You walk into the shop and ask the artists how much. You agree and get your work done without leaving a tip. The next time you come in, it’s up to the artist to decide if the price needs to be higher or not.
More than often, as a repeat customer the price lowers along with each new piece too.
I’m not suggesting you do that, however, I’m just showing you all the different routes when it comes to tipping. Some people just don’t like to tip, in other countries people don’t tip at all. Everyone has their own way of thinking.
It’s true cash is king, however in other circumstances you can give gifts instead too. For instance, if your artist has to travel to ink you in person, you could gift them a small bottle of fine scotch. One that fits into their check-in bag of course. It makes for a good flight back home.
Ultimately it is up to you
It is your decision to make. Try to do the right thing.