It’s exciting to start a tattoo parlor. There is so much to daydream about; money, fame, and career satisfaction are just but a few. But fantasy aside, do you know anything about tattoo pricing?

Both underpricing and overpricing tattoos have some consequences. If you overcharge, you could lose clients. If you undercharge, you may not get sufficient returns to take your business to another level.

So in this article, we will talk about tattoo costs so you can charge accordingly.

How much do tattoos cost?

On average, tattoo artists will charge between $50 and $300 for a one-hour session. However, a prudent decision would be to walk in several studios within your area to find out what they charge. This way, you even get to see how their shops are set up and run.

Factors that determine tattoo pricing

Generally, tattoo pricing is determined by the following factors:

Ink color and amount

Tattoos with several vibrant colors tend to be expensive because they are detailed. And because of their sophisticated nature, you will need to use more ink to get the gradient and shading right. 

Artist’s experience and popularity

How good are you with the needle? Do your customers leave happy and satisfied? Are some of them returning for another tattoo? If you answered yes to these questions, then you are a skilled tattoo artist, and you should not be afraid to charge more.

Needless to say, the more popular you become, the steeper your rates get. However, if you are an apprentice or beginner without the ability to do complicated designs, consider charging less. You can charge more only when you have gained sufficient experience to carve stunning styles.

Top tattoo tip: Ensure that you always have digital templates of tattoo consent forms and get them signed by your customers.

Tattoo size

A tattoo can be considered small, medium, or large. Small ones can be likened to the size of a finger or a ring and cost somewhere between $50 and $100. Medium tattoos cover part of the thighs, sidearms, or part of the sleeve.

Large tattoos can cover an entire upper torso or start from the shoulders, falling to the lower back. Such tattoos cost upwards of $1000. Basically, the bigger the design is, the costlier it gets. 

Geographical location

Hollywood and other flourishing metropolises are full of celebrities, rich folks, and other outgoing people that love tattoos. They don’t mind splashing hundreds to thousands on the latest designs. Any tattoo artist within such regions can charge a lot, although the rate has to be within what competitors offer.

However, tattoo artists residing in underdeveloped cities will have no choice but to offer low rates to attract customers. If such a situation is not sustainable, you will have to take your business to a busier town where tattoo consumption is reasonably high.

Tattoo design and location

You should definitely charge more for complicated tattoo designs. Not only do they take time, but they might need different inks, some of which are expensive to acquire. 

Some people will require tattoos near sensitive or hard-to-reach areas like the inner lip. Such areas demand a high level of precision and take time as well. Therefore you need to charge more. On average, studio owners charge upwards of $200 for any tattoo that is inked in complicated or hard to get areas.

Wrapping it up

As you have seen, tattoo pricing depends on a lot of things. Amongst them, your experience sits at the top. You may live in a remote area, but if your work charms clients, some of them won’t mind the extra costs that come with getting to you.

In the very beginning, be very clear on what you charge during a consultation. This way, your customer won’t freak out if the rate is way past what they expected. 

All in all, you want to make sure your rates are competitive. Charging way more than your competitors can make clients jump ship. Unless, of course, you know it’s the right move. Otherwise, happy inking sessions!

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FAQs on Tattoo Pricing

How much do tattoos cost by size?

The smallest tattoos under 2 inches cost anywhere between $30 and $100. A medium one, usually 4-6 inches, costs between $150 and $450. The biggest tattoos are over six inches and attract a price of $500 and upwards.

How can you lower a tattoo’s price?

As a studio owner, you can ask your customer to choose a smaller tattoo design or less vibrant colors to cut costs. Additionally, remind them to avoid choosing sensitive areas as they demand a lot of time and patience, resulting in a steeper price.

What can I sell in a tattoo shop?

Besides charging clients for tattoos, artists can supplement their income by selling branded t-shirts, bumper stickers, bobble hats, and anything that clients are likely to show off.