Most people tip their tattoo artists 15 to 20 percent of the total price. You can also decide on the amount to give as tip by considering the total price of the tattoo.
Then you gauge and see how much you could tip in line with this amount. As an example, if you get a 100 dollar tattoo, a 15 dollar tip would be good enough and well-appreciated.
There are no carved-in-stone rules on how much to tip your tattoo artist. Your tipping depends on the prevailing circumstances.
There is no limit to how much you can give as tip. It's your money, and your values matter in you making that decision.
If high standards of hygiene pop out to you, you may decide to tip a tattoo artist that maintains them more.
It's all at your discretion, and different people tip for different reasons and in different ways.
Why Should You Tip Your Tattoo Artist?
Tipping your tattoo artist typically serves to demonstrate your appreciation for the service. Another reason for tipping them is to create and sustain a good working relationship between you and your tattoo artist.
This could be of benefit to you in the future when your tattoo artist informs you about cancelled appointments whose time you could take up so as to have your tattoo done earlier.
If you've been tipping them, your generosity could be rewarded when the tattoo artist reduces on the price of an expensive tattoo.
If you are getting a tattoo that requires multiple sessions, do not wait to tip your tattoo artist at the completion of the tattoo.
You can consider tipping them at the end of every individual session. Thus you should spread the tip over the number of sessions.
The Decision of Whether or Not to tip your tattoo artist depends four factors;
a) The Tipping Culture in the Area You're Residing In.
In the United States, for example, tipping is something customary. For any service received, it is good practice to tip the service provider in the U.S.
In some parts of the world however, tipping is not a custom and could attract negative responses. In countries like Japan, Korea and Australia, tipping is not a custom.
Thus you will need to make prior research into the tipping culture of your area so that you act in line with that.
b) Your Financial Status
A tip is extra money given for a service rendered. You could be working under a tight budget at the time you get your tattoo. In this case, you should leave out tipping altogether.
The more important financial obligation you have with your tattoo artist is you paying him the amount he asked for the tattoo. As long as you've paid this, it's fine.
Express your appreciation to them in another possible way. You could send them a “thank you” note or a gift.
The major reason for tipping is appreciation, which can be expressed in a multitude of ways part from giving extra money.
c) Your Artist.
Tattooing is a service. It has its own technicalities and needs. How far your artist goes to meet standards should be a basis for you to decide whether or not to tip them.
There are standards to be followed which include aseptic techniques and more.
Each artist's service differs from that of another in some way.
Some tattoo artists offer such remarkable service that you can't afford not to tip them. Something outstanding cannot be hidden or overlooked.
According to your own personal experience even with other service providers, you will be able to recognise a tattoo service that is above and beyond.
d) The Final Art—the Tattoo.
If you get a tattoo that blows your mind (in a good way) and you really like it, show this appreciation by tipping the tattoo artist.
As a client you could have been anxious about how you're tattoo is gonna turn out. You can’t miss asking yourself questions like
“What if it turns out horrible? How do I remove it?” And to make matters worse, this particular tattoo could be permanent.
What a relief when it turns out perfect, or better than you expected! Give a tip because you feel happy about the masterpiece you've got.
You should tip your tattoo artist if you feel the tattoo you have received is really nice. If you've liked the art, feel free to show the appreciation by giving a tip.
When the Tattoo Artist Deserves an Exceptional Tip.
I mean the higher end of the exceptional spectrum, not the lower. There's a number of factors you can consider to give your tattoo artist a tip that is more than average.
These are cases when they've done their work thoroughly well and/or gone above and beyond the call of duty in delivering the service.
In most service businesses, there is lack of professionalism. Some people just do the bare minimum.
There is a code of practice for tattooists in every area or city. This contains legal instructions on what must be ensured in the tattooing process.
As a client, it is important that you obtain this and read it to ensure that your tattooist is adhering to the highest standard of practice. A tattooist that makes effort to maintain professional standards deserves a good tip.
b) Hygienic Standards.
Tattooing is a practice that directly involves people's health. There are many avenues where infection could arise or damage be made on the client's or artist's health.
Most tattoo artists put less consideration into the health aspect. Avoidance of infection and damage requires use of certain instruments and substances, frequent disposal of contaminated tools and restraint from re-use of certain tools.
Some tattoo artists would not go the extra mile of ensuring adherence to high health standards. They'd rather re-use instruments or use cheap ineffective sterilisation techniques to save costs. This could put your health at risk.
For example, some tattoo artists only do ultrasonic treatment on reusable needles, leaving out the autoclaving procedure.
If your tattoo artist goes above and beyond to ensure high standards of hygiene in the premises and also high operating standards, give them a generous tip because this requires use of a number of products which have to be bought.
And like I said before, most tattoo artists will buy just the basics or use a product for multiple uses which may not even be its standard uses.
c) Before and After Care.
Most tattoo artists are only interested in tattooing away at your body.
The procedure goes like; enter the premises, put your hand (or whatever) here, tattoo, then go.
A tattooist that has gone the extra mile to make sure your comfortable, educate you in safe tattooing procedures or any other relevant information you need to know and provides support to ensure you're safe and your tattoo comes out perfectly, deserves a tip.
Some tattoo artists are more concerned about rushing through as many tattoos as possible. The bulk of appointments is what they care about. They literally don't have the time to waste on a single client.
d) Time Management
Most tattoos are done on appointment basis. You need to prior schedule with your tattoo artist. As a client, it is incumbent upon you to keep time.
If your tattoo artist does the same and does the tattoo within the agreed time, they deserve a tip. It is not a guarantee that all tattooists will concentrate entirely on your tattoo throughout the whole time.
Some will do unprofessional things like multi-tasking or anything else that you'll notice is not right.
A tattooist who respects the session deserves a generous tip, because chances are high that a respected session yields an awesome tattoo.
Accommodation and Extra Help.
If you have a challenge pop up for example a medical condition during your tattoo session and your tattoo artist offers you support, you need to tip them.
Some tattoo artists are really nice that they will go above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that their client is in a good condition, even if it's something unrelated to the tattooing procedure.
Why a Tattoo Artist Appreciates Your Tip.
The distribution based on number of tattoo appointments made in a day takes on a bell-shaped curve.
Most tattoo artists get only an average number of clients a week, which can be as low as three. Though some tattoo artists work on many clients a week, most tattoo artists work on just a few.
Additionally, some tattooists do not operate in their own tattoo shops.
Thus on every tattoo they make, the shop owner takes a percentage. And other tattoo artists are under a company whereby the earn through small commissions on the money they make.
Considering those aspects, it is good not to withhold a tip whenever a tattoo artists deserves it, and when you tip, do so generously as long as you're capable.