You finally get in for your tattoo session. The day went well and you’re really happy with the experience overall, but when you go to pay you ask yourself, “Should I tip my tattoo artist?” You’re not alone. Tipping in the tattoo world is complicated and even disputed among artists themselves, so let me try to simplify that for you.
First and foremost, tipping is not required like in other service industries (In the U.S). When tipping your server or barber those workers typically rely on the extra cash, but since tattooers set their own pricing they should be charging properly for their time. Our most common saying about the subject is that “Tipping is never expected, but always appreciated.”
Now, lets assume that you have decided to tip anyway. The tattoo turned out amazing, your artist had good customer service and it was just a great experience from end to end. In this case, how much should you tip your tattoo artist? Here's a quick guide:
- Small tattoos - For anything finished in a few hours or less, a 20% tip is a great way to
show your appreciation.
- Medium tattoos - For something that takes a few hours to a full day of work, tip an extra hour of
tattoo time at your artists rate.
- Large Tattoos - For something that takes multiple days to finish, some people tip a little
every time they come in (20% or an extra hour) and some wait until the last session for a larger
amount all at once (Multiple hours, a gift, or even both). That being said, If you’re working
with an artist for multiple sessions on a sleeve or backpiece, they’re likely very thankful that
you’re working with them consistently regardless.
Again, I want to reiterate that tipping your tattoo artist is not required, and unlike other industries we should never feel upset that someone didn’t pay a little extra. If you feel like your artist is going the extra mile for you though, then it’s a great way to show that you're happy and support their work.
Hopefully that gives you some insight into a piece of the process that can be awkward to discuss in person. If you have more questions or comments on tipping in the tattoo industry, please let me know in the section below. Thanks for stopping by!
Written by: Danny Elliott - Owner of Rebel Muse Tattoo in Denver, Co.