Picture this – a customer is at your studio, and you aren’t even 50% confident about how they’d behave with your artist while getting inked. Happens to the best of us, just like getting a haircut, right? – do you think it’s okay for them to chatter the entire time till the tattooing is done?

Anyway, here are a few tattoo shop etiquettes to respect and follow while getting inked that you and your customers should be aware of:

Let begin with the design phase, 

Be as specific as required; no less, no more. 

Here’s a thing, every artist loves their creative freedom, but don’t set the breaks loose unless you really want them to take all the creative decisions. If customers have any specifics set in stone, the tattoo artists have to be intimated beforehand. 

Take a note,

  • Do not tell your artist they have complete creative decisions, only to circle back with a lot of corrections. 
  • Let your tattoo artist be well aware of specific design preferences before they start working on the tattoo. 

tattoo shop etiquette 1


There’s no room for opinionated friends. 

If there’s one thing that makes the design phase absolutely painful, that’s customers getting in their strongly opinionated plus ones to help them choose a design. 

There’s a reason why you hire an artist. Supplementing the process with a third-party can complicate an already-complex relationship of artist-client in the design phase. 

Hence, there’s no room for friends dictating designs, simply ask them to simmer down if they jump in your design.

Next up, tattoo shop etiquettes to follow at the day you get inked,


Walk-ins are a myth. 

You want a killer, extravagant design by an equally established, in-demand tattoo artist, right? 

So, let’s respect their time, availability, space (amid this pandemic) and book an appointment. You can make this process easier for your customers and artists by setting up a tattoo studio software that makes bookings an easy task. Also, the best tattoo artist out there caters to ‘appointments only.’ 

BONUS: It’s a smart idea to present a few minutes before your consultation. There are a few pre-procedure tattoo consent forms the artist would like you to go through. Staying well ahead of time will help them get started with the design in time and run their operations smoothly. 

Let the artist concentrate. 

Needless to say, tattooing involves crazy hours of intense concentration. While some artists love to gab, others might prefer to limit interaction and prefer to stay quiet. Let them take the lead, and ask them what suits them the best. 

Stay still. Very still. 


Easier said than done. Staying still can be a challenge to many, but ensure your customers understand that it’s ideal not to budge an inch whilst getting a tattoo. If you are having trouble with pain, try asking for numbing cream. Getting all jumpy, you will end up giving up a lot of tattooing time and risking mistakes.

A few pointers to consider,

  • Try not to move unexpectedly
  • Keep talking at a bare minimum if you’re getting your ribs tattooed
  • Let your artist know in advance if you would want to move or stretch

Now, the most crucial one – the tipping etiquette.

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Tip generously!

Simply put, not tipping is a sign of being dissatisfied with your service. If you are satisfied with the design, the process, and the complete experience – let them know!

First, always consider tips when budgeting for your tattoo. Second, tip them in cash directly. Third, tip big, which means, 20%+, if you love your new tattoo.

On the other hand, do talk to your artist if you think something isn’t handled up to your expectations, and a small (or no tip) shouldn’t be the only way to express your dissatisfaction!

Here’s some more information on how much to tip your tattoo artist? – not many customers know the best practices.

Lastly, the etiquettes to stay well-aligned with during aftercare, 

Stay close to your artist’s post-tattoo instructions!


At the end of the day, it’s you with your tattoo artist, who is entirely responsible for the quality of your tattoo! So, no shortcuts there, always make sure to get a precise list of aftercare instructions.

And remember, it’s absolutely normal to,

  1. Ask questions on the healing process if something seems off.
  2. Ask more questions on what’s normal and what isn’t. Scabbing is normal, getting ink on your bandage is okay, and a little fade in the first few weeks is all right. 

I think these pointers cover it all, don’t you?

We are hopeful these few basic tattoo shop etiquettes will help you feel a tad bit more confident when you walk into a tattoo studio next time!

FAQs: Tattoo Shop Etiquettes

Is it okay to ask for what you want when it comes to your design ank ink preferences?

Yes, when it comes to your design preferences, it’s okay to get the specifics straight. However, be careful about asking for a different design or more ink, once the procedure has already started. Tattoos are generally priced on the basis of the hourly rates and materials they need to use, adding more can take more time and materials.

Would you consider copying a custom tattoo as ‘good’ tattoo shop etiquette?

A big no-no!

Every tattoo artist owns a portfolio full of designs they have designed for previous clients, but it’s tagged as ‘bad’ etiquette to ask for those designs. Instead, you can mention that you like a particular design, why you like it, and then, your artist can design something unique to you using a similar concept.

What is the list of good etiquettes when it comes to tattoo pricing?

It’s absolutely okay to speak about the cost of your tattoo. However, tattoo artists can get bothered when their customers try to haggle for a lower price, or even worse, when they plan to go somewhere else cheaper.

If you want your design to be accurate, it’s definitely more likely to ghost a little more expensive. But don’t let those extra bucks scare you. When we speak about tattoos, you really want to pay for in terms of design and ink quality.

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