Are you looking for new body art? You should consider gifting some body art, along with getting your half-sleeve done. extra money for a tip.
“As with all gratuities, tipping is a gesture of appreciation for good service and good product,” says Pat Sinatra, president of the Alliance of Professional Tattooists. “We commonly tip food servers and salon workers, as many of these people often work for minimum wage or commission and percentage cut and rely on tips for their income. This is no different for tattooists.”
Patrick Cornolo, owner of Speakeasy Custom Tattoo in Chicago, agrees: “Tipping is pretty normal in tattooing. If you had a good experience and love your tattoo, tipping is appreciated but not expected.”
Do You Have to Tip Tattoo Artists?
In other words, tipping your tattoo artist is a good idea.
“Often, (tattoo artists) are renting a chair or space and give as much as 50% of their earnings to the shop owner,” Sinatra says.
That means if you’re getting a $200 tattoo, your tattoo artist might only get $100 for that work, time and effort spent inking your body art.
Sinatra also recommends tipping all tattoo artists, even if you’re getting your ink done by the owner. “Clients often feel they don’t need to tip the owner, but if the owner is working alongside others in the studio and their work is valued, a tip is greatly appreciated,” Sinatra says.
Do You Tip Your Tattoo Artist for How Much?
“Frankly, whatever is affordable to you is welcome,” Sinatra says. “A suggested percentage of 20% to 25% for personal services is an accepted standard, especially in these post-COVID times.”
Cornolo estimates that the range is between 15% and 20%. However, it can vary. “Some tip less, and some are very generous.”
You might be wondering how much you should tip a tattoo artist for $500. You could leave a tip of $75 to $125 for a $500 tattoo. If you’re getting smaller art done or maybe a touch-up for $100, tipping anywhere from $15 to $25 fits the bill.
Regular clients and returning customers often give tattoo artists gifts, including restaurant gift cards, tickets to the theater, or doughnuts.
“These are nice gestures to show they appreciate your time and work – and are also appreciated,” Cornolo says.
Are you willing to tip for tattoos that require multiple sessions?
Sometimes, a tattoo can take more than one session.
Cornolo from Speakeasy says tattoo artists often do large-scale work, which takes many sessions.
“Multiple-sitting clients either tip per session or some will wait and tip when the piece is completed,” he says. “This is completely a personal choice on their end.”
Are You able to tip differently for custom tattoos?
Custom tattoos are body art that is custom designed by your tattoo artist in collaboration with you, whereas flash or walk-in tattoos are pre-made designs you’ll find in a book or poster at the tattoo shop.
“The tipping practice would be the same regardless of it being a custom tattoo or a walk-in from a flash sheet on the wall,” Cornolo says.
Walk-in tattoos tend to be smaller and cost less. Custom tattoos can cost more because they require pre-work. However, tipping is applicable for both types of tattoos.
Tattoo Artists prefer to get tipped in cash
Choosing to tip in cash or with a card is up to a tattoo artist’s discretion, says Sinatra, and she recommends that clients ask their tattooists what they prefer.
In Cornolo’s experience, however, cash tips are best.
But whether your tattoo artist likes cash or card tips, it can be helpful to learn about that preference prior to your appointment since some ink work can be pretty costly, and you’ll want to make sure you have the correct tip amount On hand.
Tipping is an excellent way to show appreciation for work done and to give tips to tattoo artists that rely on them for income. Sinatra said that tipping is not expected. They are always appreciated.