You might be a talented artist, and your tattoo designs might be top-notch, but you need a license to convert that artistic flair into a profitable business. 

Tattooing is an intimate process that can pose risks to the artist, the client, and even other customers if not executed correctly. Obtaining a license involves adhering to specific regulations and acquiring the necessary permits. While the exact steps and requirements for the license vary across states, there’s a general process you can follow. 

In this article, we will provide you with a step-by-step guide to help you navigate the process of obtaining a tattoo business license in the USA.


Step 1: Research Local Regulations

To begin, it is essential to familiarize yourself with the local regulations and requirements for tattoo businesses in your area. These regulations vary from state to state, county to county, and city to city. So start by visiting the official website of your local health department or licensing agency to discover the regulations specific to your area. This will help you prepare better for the process. 


Step 2: Meet Health and Safety Standards

Tattooing involves working with needles and materials that can potentially pose health risks. Therefore, adhering to health and safety regulations is of utmost importance. Most jurisdictions have specific standards in place to ensure the well-being of both clients and artists. These standards often include maintaining proper sanitation, sterilizing equipment, and employing disposable needles and gloves. Check out our blog on Tattoo Health Risks That Your Customers Should Know to learn more about these health risks.


Step 3: Complete Bloodborne Pathogens Training

It is generally recommended and considered good practice for tattoo artists to undergo training in bloodborne pathogens and infection control. This training helps ensure the artists and their clients’ safety by minimizing the risk of transmitting diseases during tattooing. Many reputable tattoo schools and training programs include this type of training as part of their curriculum. The training program covers topics such as preventing the transmission of bloodborne diseases, handling biohazardous waste, and maintaining a clean workspace. Upon successfully completing the training, you will receive a certificate, which may be a prerequisite for obtaining your license.


Step 4: Obtain the Tattoo Business License Application

You must contact your local health department or licensing agency to obtain the tattoo business license application. Ensure you complete the application correctly, providing all the necessary details such as your personal information, business name and address, and any relevant certifications or permits. Avoid making any mistakes!


Step 5: Submit Required Documents and Pay Fees

In addition to the completed application form, you will likely need to submit supporting documents as required by your local jurisdiction. These may include proof of identity, residency, proof of completion of Bloodborne Pathogens Training, and any other specified certifications or permits. At this point, you might also encounter a required fee payment, which can vary depending on your jurisdiction. Be prepared to pay it so you can proceed to the next step.


Step 6: Schedule an Inspection

After submitting your application and paying the fees, the next step is to schedule an inspection of your tattoo shop – the space you will be working out of. A health inspector will visit your premises to ensure that you meet all the health and safety standards. During the inspection, they will evaluate factors such as cleanliness, sterilization practices, proper waste disposal, and compliance with local regulations. Ensure that everything meets the required standards. 


Step 7: Obtain Your Tattoo Business License

If your tattoo shop passes the inspection and meets all the requirements, you will be granted your tattoo business license. This license signifies that your tattoo business operates within the legal framework and complies with local regulations, allowing you to conduct your business confidently. To make work easier, check out our Management Software that can help streamline your operations. 

Remember, the exact process and regulations will differ among states. Be sure to conduct appropriate research and find out precisely what your state requires from you before granting your permit. For more information on running your tattoo business, take advantage of our Insurance for Your Tattoo Business guide. When you receive that shiny license, it’s a badge of honor. It means you’ve met all the requirements and can proudly run your tattoo business within the legal framework. So get out there, follow your passion, and create fantastic art for happy customers! Happy tattooing!

If you’re looking for ways to attract more customers, check out our simple guide on Email Marketing for Tattoo Shops

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Frequently Asked Questions:

1. How long does it take to get a tattoo business license?

The time required to obtain a tattoo business license can vary depending on your location and the efficiency of the licensing process. It can take anywhere from a few weeks to a few months. It’s advisable to start the application process well in advance to allow for any potential delays.


2. Can I operate a tattoo business from my home?

Operating a tattoo business from a residential property is only allowed in some jurisdictions. Zoning restrictions and health department regulations often prohibit home-based tattoo studios. It’s essential to check the specific rules in your area before considering a home-based business.

3. Do I need a separate license for each tattoo artist in my shop?

In some areas, each individual tattoo artist working in your shop may need to obtain their own tattoo artist license or certification. This requirement varies by location, so it’s crucial to research the regulations specific to your area.

4. What if I have artists from different states working in my shop?

Each artist must comply with the licensing and health requirements of the state in which her shop is located. For an exhaustive list of tattoo laws that every US business owner should know, refer to our blog on Tattoo Laws in the US.