8 Tattoo Tipping Etiquette and Considerations

Tattoo Tipping Etiquette
Tipping in the tattoo industry is no different than in any other service industry. Tip tattoo artists in cash, and remember to express your gratitude with a thank you note or positive review online. The golden rule is to tip at least 20% of the tattoo cost.

1. Cash Tips And In Person

Tipping tattoo artist in cash
Tipping tattoo artist in cash

Cash tips are the most common, although you can ask your tattoo artist if they prefer something else. Some artists will accept gift cards or other payment forms but prefer cash, so check with them first. Most tattoo shops don’t accept tips via credit cards.

When giving your tattoo artist a tip, hand it to them and express gratitude for their work. This personal touch can go a long way in building a positive relationship with your artist and ensuring that you receive excellent service in the future.

2. No Bartering

Bartering for tips shifts the power balance in your relationship with an artist and can lead to exploitation or coercion. You and your artist should enter into a transaction with a clear understanding of the terms and expectations and for compensation to be agreed upon in advance.

3. No Personal Gifts 

Similar to gifting real estate agents, it is generally not expected to tip your tattoo artist with personal gifts. A monetary tip is the most common way to show appreciation for their work. Tattoo artists need cash for rent, supplies, and other necessities so the extra money will go a long way.

Avoid personal gifts because they might push the artist to feel a social obligation to do something for you. If you still have to give one, it would be great to give something related to work, like a book on tattooing.

4. Complicated Designs Deserve More Tip 

You should give a higher tip for a complex custom design because drawing, inking, and coloring require more time and expertise. If you feel your tattoo artist has exceeded your expectations, you can leave a larger tip to express gratitude.

5. Tip Based On Actual Price 

You should tip your tattoo artist anywhere from 15% to 20% of the total cost of the tattoo. The tip amount can vary depending on several factors, such as the size, tattoo design, the quality of work, and the overall customer experience. With a 20% rate, here are the amounts to tip.

  • $100 is the common minimum charge for a tattoo, where you can tip $15-$25.
  • $50 for a $200 tattoo.
  • $60 for a $300 tattoo.
  • $100 for a $500 tattoo.
  • $200-300 for a $1000 tattoo.

6. Keep Your Overall Experience In Consideration

Your overall experience with your artist can determine how high or low you can tip them. From the moment you started the conversation about your new tattoo to the moment you left their tattoo studio, how was the overall experience?

Did your artist take their time to listen to what you wanted and make sure that they understood it? Did they explain the process of getting a tattoo and the aftercare instructions? Did they go above and beyond to ensure you were happy with your design? These are some of the things that can affect how much you tip them.

7. Based On How Often You Get Inked From An Artist 

If you plan on getting multiple tattoos from the same artist, it is optional to tip based on the number of times you visit them. However, if you are pleased with their work, give them a tip to show appreciation for every session. You can also choose to tip during the last session.

8. Reviews And Referrals

In addition to tipping, you can leave positive reviews on your artist’s social media pages and website. Positive reviews help build a good reputation online which is extremely important in this digital era and can make or break an artist’s business.

If you are satisfied with their hard work, then leave a review. Referring your friends and family to an artist is also a great way to spread the word about their business. Whether online or offline, referrals are a huge help for artists.

Is it Rude To Not Tip A Tattoo Artist?

It is not necessarily rude not to tip your tattoo artist, but it may be a missed opportunity to show your appreciation to build a positive relationship with your artist. Tipping is optional, but it is good etiquette to tip your tattoo artist.

Do You Tip Every Tattoo Session?

If you plan on getting multiple tattoos from them, tipping after each session can help to establish a good rapport and show that you value their work. A good tip at the end of each session is optional, but it’s a nice gesture. You can choose to tip at the end of the entire project.

Ask questions if you still need to figure out any part of tipping your tattoo artist. If you need more clarification about what to tip or expect, speak with the studio management or the artist.

Should You Tip The Tattoo Artist If You Are Getting A Tattoo for Free?

It is always a good idea to tip your tattoo artist, even if you get a tattoo for free. While the tattoo price may be covered, the artist still put their time, effort, and skill into creating your tattoo. As a good customer, you should tip to appreciate their effort and acknowledge their expertise.


Tabitha is a curious and enthusiastic writer who believes in the power of words and the importance of good manners. Etiquette is her passion, and she enjoys sharing her knowledge with others. When she isn’t writing, she enjoys traveling, reading, and spending time with her family.

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