Every industry has its own kind of tipping etiquette, and tattooing is no different. It isn’t an expense that should be overlooked! Tattoo artists provide you with a personalized service that deserves to be shown appreciation.
While it isn’t mandatory to tip your tattoo artist, it is the best way to show your appreciation for the service and love of your new ink. It also helps you build a bond with your artist for future pieces.
There isn’t a specific amount or percentage for how much to tip a tattoo artist. But there are some general rules clients like to follow.
Below we’ll cover everything from how much to tip a tattoo artist to why you should tip and what to do if you don’t like your new ink.
How Much To Tip A Tattoo Artist
When getting a tattoo, one of the main wonders is how much to tip a tattoo artist.
The general consensus for tipping an artist is 20-25%, just as you would at a restaurant or nail salon. This is just a baseline, though, as no one tipping size fits all.
Ideally, the rule of thumb is the more time spent and the bigger the tattoo, the more you should tip. If the artist is creating a piece from scratch, especially one that will take a very long time to apply, leaving a larger tip is greatly appreciated.
Tattooing is a difficult skill that deserves to be tipped well, even if it’s not expected.
Why You Should Tip Your Artist
Tattooing is a business like any other, but its main difference is that it offers a highly personalized service. A lot of time and effort goes into creating and applying a tattoo, not to mention that it’s a permanent piece of art on your body.
Tattoo artists offer consultations to work with you to create a piece you’re happy with. They spend hours drawing, designing, choosing colors, looking up reference photos, laying out the design, and making changes as directed.
As well, applying said art piece to the skin is a difficult task and takes a lot of skill.
They know you’re going to be staring at your tattoo for the rest of your life, so they put in the effort to make sure it’s perfect.
Tipping is a great way to show your gratitude for their hard work.
While it’s not something they expect, it is something they may hope for. It shows that you love your new tattoo and value your artist’s work.
Should You Tip For Flash Piece or Walk-In Appointments?
It would be best to tip your artist whether the piece is custom, flash, or an impromptu walk-in.
While they may not have tailored the art to you, it’s still a piece that they created.
During the appointment, they do their absolute best to draw straight lines, avoid mistakes, and produce a quality tattoo. They then take the time to walk you through post-tattoo care so your new ink will heal properly.
Artists even help keep you calm if you’re nervous and discuss how the tattoo appointment will go.
They’re providing a service for you, and they do what they can to make the experience great, so whether it’s a custom piece or an impulsive choice, your artist will appreciate the tip.
When Should You Tip A Tattoo Artist?
You should tip your tattoo artist after the tattoo is complete. This can happen before you pay or after, whatever you’re most comfortable with.
If you intend to leave a tip, it’s important to know that most tattoo shops won’t accept credit card tips. Be prepared to bring cash.
If you prefer to leave a credit card tip, call in advance and check with them first.
Should You Tip Every Session?
Larger tattoos, such as sleeves, will usually require multiple sessions. Should you tip at the very end or after each session?
Tipping after each session is generally appreciated when it comes to complicated tattoos, as they can take weeks, if not months, to complete.
Most artists won’t expect to be tipped after each session, but they will appreciate the show of gratitude.
If you’d rather wait until the tattoo is complete, you might consider upping the tipping percentage. As mentioned, it’s nice to tip a little higher for larger tattoos.
Giving Gifts/Services As Tips
When it comes to tips, cash will always be the preferred method. But bringing small gifts is a fun way to show appreciation as well.
That being said, your gift should be in addition to your tip. Do not bring a gift instead of a cash tip, especially if you don’t know the artist well.
If you can, avoid asking to tip with gifts instead of cash. If you want to bring a little extra token of appreciation, plants, gift cards, and small tokens are common goodies artists enjoy receiving.
Make sure you know what your artist might like before bringing a gift, no matter how small.
You can also show your appreciation to your artist by leaving good reviews, sharing your new tattoo on social media, and recommending the artist to friends and family.
Getting the word out about their business is a wonderful way to say you’re happy with your piece and feel that the artist did a great job.
What If You Don’t Like The Tattoo?
It’s never fun to get to the end of your tattoo healing time and find that you don’t like your new ink.
Whether it be wonky lines, issues with the design, or improper care on the artist’s part, it is absolutely okay to vocalize your concerns.
Talk to your artist and give them a chance to fix the tattoo. Artists never want you to leave their shop upset. And they will usually do everything they can to fix their mistakes.
If your artist takes the time to fix it on the spot or schedule a make-up appointment, you should tip.
If, for whatever reason, you can’t discuss your concerns with them or they don’t offer to fix it, then in this case it’s reasonable to not tip.
At the end of the day, you’re paying for personalized service. If you aren’t satisfied and nothing is done to rectify the situation, you have every right to withhold your tip.
After all, a tattoo is permanent, and paying another artist to fix it is a hassle.
Please note that tipping practices may be different internationally.