How Much Do You Tip A Tattoo Artist? -Introduction

How Much Do You Tip A Tattoo Artist?

So you’ve decided to get some new ink and have an appointment with your tattoo artist. You’ve thought long and hard about the design and are excited to have a piece of art permanently etched into your skin. But amid all the planning, there’s one important detail you may have overlooked – how much do you tip a tattoo artist? Getting a tattoo is a big deal, and your artist spends hours hunched over you, needle buzzing away to create a custom work of art.

Tipping is expected for good service, but how much is appropriate in this situation? This guide will cover standard tattoo tipping etiquette so you go into your appointment fully prepared to show your appreciation to the person responsible for your sweet new tat.


How Much Do You Tip a Tattoo Artist: The Standard Percentage

Tattoo artists provide skilled service, so tipping appropriately is important. The standard tip for a tattoo artist is 15-20% of the total cost of your tattoo.

For a smaller, simpler tattoo like a letter or symbol, the tip is on the higher end of that range, around 18-20%. The artist still invested their time, and the tip amount should reflect that. For a large, complex piece that requires multiple sessions, you can tip 15-17% for each session. Some people tip a larger amount for the initial outline session, around 20%, then slightly less, around 15-17%, for subsequent coloring and shading sessions.

While not expected, some people provide an additional cash tip, especially for a large tattoo. Cash tips are always appreciated since the shop typically takes a percentage of the total cost of the tattoo, including your tip paid by card. If you received an especially meaningful experience or are extremely happy with the result, an additional $20-$100 cash tip is a thoughtful way to show gratitude.

Other ways to tip your tattoo artist include:

•Providing coffee, snacks, or a small gift during your session

•Writing a positive review for their shop

•Recommending the artist to your friends and following them on social media

•Returning for future tattoos and continued patronage of their business

Your tip amount depends on your finances and satisfaction with the experience. But in general, aim for at least 15% of the total cost of your new ink. Your tip is a way to show appreciation for your artist’s skill, time, and the permanent art they’ve created for you.

Factors That Influence Your Tattoo Tip Amount

The amount you tip your tattoo artist depends on a few factors.

First, consider the time and skill required for your tattoo. A small, simple tattoo will typically take less time than an intricate sleeve, so tip the higher end of the range for complex, multi-session pieces. Consider tipping 15-20% of the total cost for a sleeve.

The location and detail also matter. Tattoos on sensitive areas like the ribs, feet, or hands are more difficult and time-consuming, as are photorealistic styles. Bump up your tip for these.

Your artist’s experience and skill level play a role too. An accomplished artist, especially with a long waiting list, deserves a tip on the higher end of the range. Newer artists still merit a good tip, around 15%, as they gain experience.

The shop’s policies influence how much your payment goes directly to the artist. Some shops charge high commission fees, so tip generously. Private studios typically have lower overhead, so slightly less, around 15%, is customary.

Your satisfaction and the likelihood of returning are also factors. If you’re thrilled with your ink and plan to become a repeat client, tip very well to show appreciation and ensure the same quality work for your next piece.

The bottom line: tip what you can afford based on the time, skill, experience, and policies involved, but aim for at least 15-20% for good service. Your artist will greatly appreciate your generous tip and ensure you become a preferred client. Leaving little or no tip is considered extremely rude in the tattoo world, so do right by the person who is marking your body permanently.

Should You Tip in Cash, or Can You Include a Tip on Your Credit Card?

When tipping your tattoo artist, there are a couple of options to consider. Many people prefer to tip in cash since the tip amount is a gift. However, if you paid for your tattoo appointment with a credit or debit card, you can add a tip when signing the receipt.


Leaving a cash tip is a popular way to show appreciation for your tattoo artist’s work and customer service. Since tips are considered a gift, paying in cash allows the tattoo artist to receive the full amount rather than having the credit card processing company deduct a percentage. It’s always a good idea to bring extra cash to your appointment if you want to leave an additional tip for your artist.


If you prefer the convenience of paying for your entire tattoo appointment using a credit or debit card, you can still leave a tip by adding an amount when you sign the receipt. However, the credit card processor will deduct a small percentage of the total bill, including the tip, as a processing fee. For example, if you leave a 20% tip on a $200 tattoo, the $40 tip would be subject to the same processing fee percentage as the rest of the total. The artist’s take-home tip amount would be slightly less.

Some people leave a slightly higher tip percentage when paying by card to help offset the processing fees. For example, leaving a 25% tip on your $200 tattoo instead of 20% would mean an extra $10 to help make up for the fees deducted from the total $50 tip. In the end, though, your hardworking tattoo artist greatly appreciates any tip amount.

Whether you choose to tip in cash or add a tip when paying by card, following proper tipping etiquette is an important way to show your tattoo artist the respect and gratitude they deserve for providing you with a meaningful piece of body art. Leaving a generous tip is customary, as tattooing requires years of training, skill, and talent to master.

When Should You Tip Your Tattoo Artist?

Tipping your artist is standard practice and greatly appreciated when getting a new tattoo. Here are the key times you should provide a tip:

After the Consultation

Once you’ve met with your artist for a consultation and they’ve drawn up your custom design, tip them for their time. For a consultation, tip around $20-$40 in cash. This shows your appreciation for their skill and time with you.

During the Tattooing Process

For a large, complex piece, some clients tip their artists in increments over multiple sessions. For example, if you have three 8-hour sessions scheduled, consider tipping $50-$100 at the end of the first session, $100-$150 at the end of the second session, and $150-$200+ for the final session. This helps ensure your artist will provide the same high-quality work for your entire tattoo.

When the Tattoo is Complete

The standard tip for a completed tattoo is 15-20% of the total cost. So if your tattoo costs $500, tip $75-$100 in cash. For an all-day session or very intricate, custom work, tip on the higher end of the range or slightly more. Your tip should reflect the skill, time, and care your artist put into your new ink.

Let your artist know you appreciate them and the work they did. A good tip, especially for repeat clients, will help ensure you get priority booking for your next appointment and the same high-quality results. You were tipping in cash’s always a good idea to avoid additional credit card processing fees for the shop and artist. And if you had a particularly great experience, don’t hesitate to tip on the generous end of the scale—your artist will surely notice and remember for next time!

How to Politely Discuss Prices and Tipping With Your Tattoo Artist

Discussing prices and tipping etiquette with your tattoo artist in advance will help ensure you both have a positive experience. Be upfront that you want to understand their rates and tipping policy before booking an appointment. Most reputable artists will appreciate your thoughtfulness.

Ask About Rates

Politely say, “I’m interested in getting a tattoo, and I was hoping we could discuss your rates and policies before scheduling.” Expect to pay between $50 to $300 per hour, depending on the artist’s experience and skill level. Larger, more complex pieces will typically cost more. They may charge a non-refundable deposit to book an appointment, often around $50.

Discuss Tipping Expectations

Tipping tattoo artists between 15 to 20 percent is customary for good service. Ask if they have a suggested tip amount or range. Say, “What do you consider an appropriate tip for your work?” Make it clear you value their time and artistry and want to tip accordingly. If cost is a concern, ask if they offer discounted rates for multiple sessions or larger pieces. Some may be open to negotiating, especially if it’s a meaningful or complex design.

Be Flexible and Courteous

Understand that good tattoo artists often have waitlists, so you may need to be patient or flexible with the schedule. Politely ask how far in advance they book appointments and their cancelation policy. Give adequate notice if you must reschedule to avoid forfeiting your deposit. And when your appointment day arrives, don’t be late! Most artists will not start a piece if they’re over 15 minutes behind schedule.

These tips will help you start the process and set the foundation for a good experience. Be open, honest, and willing to listen to your artist’s guidance on creating a meaningful tattoo you’ll enjoy for years.


You got your new tattoo, and it looks amazing. But before you head out the door, remember the tip. Tattooing is not only an art form but also how your artist makes a living. They spent hours working to ink a custom design on your body permanently. 15-20% is standard for good service, but if your artist went above and beyond or did an especially complex piece, feel free to tip on the higher end of that range or even slightly more.

Your tip shows your appreciation for the skill, time, and care they took to create a tattoo you’ll have for life. And remember, the better you tip, the more eager they’ll be to schedule your next appointment when you’re ready for more ink! Treat your tattoo artist well, and they’ll treat you well in return.

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