Is It Rude To Ask A Tattoo Artist Their Rate?

Is It Rude To Ask A Tattoo Artist Their Rate?

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Is It Rude To Ask A Tattoo Artist Their Rate?

Tattoo rates vary depending on the artist and their level of experience. For example, a tattoo by an experienced artist will cost more than one by a beginner.

With this in mind, it’s important to make sure you are clear with your expectations before committing to any service provider for your next tattoo.

No! Asking the tattoo artist their rate is not rude.There are so many things that go into pricing a tattoo that may include the type of tattoo you need, the type of shop they work in, experience of the tattooist and any additional overheads.

Some of these other factors include:

  • What type of shop do they work in (parlor, booth rental, etc.)?
  • Where they work (big city vs. small town)
  • Years of experience
  • Anatomy of the piece (complexity, size, colors used)
  • Amount of color vs. black and gray (color tattoos cost more)
  • Additional costs like blood-work and health tests if required for legal purposes (in some states)
  • The markup for profit (most artists work on some markup)
  • The markup for supplies (tattoo machines, inks, needles, etc.)
  • Amount of work required on your end (keeping appointments and respecting time frames)
  • Any additional costs like attending a consultation or shopping around before committing to them (which you should do anyway)

If the tattoo artist is willing to give an estimate that doesn’t account for these factors, go ahead. If it’s unaffordable, that doesn’t mean the artist isn’t good.

Maybe they’re young and can only charge so much because they don’t have years of experience. Just be respectful, tell them your idea, and see what they say.

If anything, make sure to get more than one quote; not all tattoos are equally made.

Is It Rude To Ask What A Tattoo Means?

No. It’s not rude to ask.However, always be respectful and polite during a conversation.

That means asking questions without demanding people to provide you with the information you seek.

If someone has decided to take the time out of their day to share something private with you by wearing visible or exposed ink.

It’s only right that you reciprocate the kindness and respect given to you in kind. The question would be better if worded like this: “I love your tattoo.

What does it mean?” Or even “Your tattoo is so cool. What does it do?” Just remember that whether or not someone chooses to answer your question is completely up to them.

Don’t push them into telling you. They don’t want to talk about it, then the best thing to do is not to ask.

Consider these scenarios

Scenario 1: You are talking to someone you are meeting for the first time, whether at work or something more casual.

They have tattoos on their forearms that are visible while they’re wearing short sleeves.

You point out said tattoos and ask them what they mean without further inquiry about why this person has chosen to share with you something so personal.

This could come off as rude instead of just being curious. If the person doesn’t feel comfortable answering your question, then let it go and move on.

Too bad if you had an interest in knowing what they meant.

Scenario 2: Your coworker asks you if the new ink across your chest is a tattoo.

You reply yes, and he immediately launches into a story about how his cousin got a terrible tattoo when she was drunk at a friend party that ended up misspelled.

Your coworker then follows this with, “So you definitely shouldn’t get drunk, or it’ll come out looking like junk too.”

How Much Should A Tattoo Artist Charge Per Hour?

Tattoo artists charge a range of $80-$300 per hour. The majority of artists charge anywhere from $100-$150 per hour.

The amount payable depends on the following criteria: the length of the session, your pain tolerance, and how large/complex your design is.

It can take between three to eight hours for a tattoo artist to complete a full-body bird tattoo.

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A master artist may charge in the upper end ($200-300), whereas an apprentice artist will charge at the bottom ($80).

You should also factor in-state sales tax, which will vary depending on where you live. Also, keep in mind how much time it takes to travel before settling on a price range.

Some artists travel long distances, so make sure that the distance traveled doesn’t “cost” more than your tip.

Can You Negotiate With Tattoo Artists?

No. Sorry. But you can’t. They make it sound like it’s a possibility, but the reality is that they want to sell you their tattooing services, and you want them to tattoo your skin.

It would help if you were willing to spend thousands of dollars on multiple sessions to get the tattoos you want.

Sure, you can attempt to use other tactics like just walking away or bargaining down the price of other goods and services.

Maybe if no client is waiting in line, they’ll agree to your deal. But this won’t work on tattoo artists because it takes them a long time to make each tattoo.

It could be an hour or two before they finish one tattoo session. The best way to try to convince them is by using their product as leverage.

Just tell them that you already have tattoos elsewhere that are much older than theirs and that your skin may not take well with another new one that isn’t done very well.

This tactic usually helps people looking for cheap tattoos, but sometimes even the enticement of higher prices will fail.

The best option is to go somewhere else and pay more money for someone who will do a good job.

You should also consider what type of tattoo you want and if it’s worth the price they’re asking for.

Can Tattoo Artists Tattoo Over Sharpie?

Yes.Tattoo artists can tattoo over Sharpie tattoos with permanent ink.

I recommend putting a piece of cloth over the sharpie and using a paper towel to blot it before putting it on the skin for safety purposes.

This will make the entire color stronger and last longer, in most cases – use less pigment and be easier to work within general.

It’s important to remember that if you are getting yourself tattooed by someone else, they need to follow the sterilization guidelines necessary for professional tattooing.

Sharpies are not meant for puncture wounds; therefore, please be careful and take proper precautions if you plan on using them as such.

If you cannot do this, it would be best to tell the tattoo artist exactly what you want.

It’s not very likely that they will do a free tattoo on an existing sharpie, but checking with several shops might lead to someone who can help.

As far as using permanent markers for the practice goes – there are no set rules.

Still, if you plan on getting tattooed by someone or even by yourself, I would recommend switching over to pigments for puncture wounds;

Such as ink pens (even though these can still harm the skin if used improperly.)

Even though one can use sharpies for tattoos, It is not recommended by anyone in any professional industry.

Is It Rude To Ask A Tattoo Artist For A Quote?

Yes. It’s rude to ask a tattoo artist for a quote regarding a tattoo. Ask an artist for a quote to make them think about the illustration.

The size, and all of the details right before they start working on your tattoo. Because of this, asking a tattoo artist for a quote will cause them not to be able to work as well as possible.

The reasons that have been fairly suggested as ‘good reasons’ for asking an artist for a quote include:

– To see what kind of price range you need to set aside to get this particular tattoo.

– To compare one artist’s prices against another so as you can choose who will give you the best deal.

How To Ask A Tattoo Artist For A Quote

It’s wise to ask a tattoo artist for a quote politely. There are several ways to write up a quote request, but the best way is to ask for an email reply.

This will let them consider it in their own time without worrying about getting back to you immediately.

Please allow them at least one week before following up on your initial quotation request if they do not offer this option.

Some tattoo artists may be very busy or have long waiting lists, so they may need more than a week before providing you with an answer, even if they want to do your tattoo.

Other artists might only stick to certain styles of tattoos which could make it difficult for them to give you a price without seeing what you are after the first hand.

Also, some tattoo artists charge per hour, making it difficult to give you a price estimate.

If the artist only quotes per hour prices, it is best to ask if they do any flat rates for smaller tattoos like an inch (2.54 centimeters).

If you cannot meet them in person, then all hope isn’t lost.

You can still quote your tattoo online without ever meeting them, which means that there’s no need to worry about not being able to afford one.

Can You Tip Tattoo Artists?

Yes. Most tattoo artists are happy to accept tips, but sometimes they are uncomfortable about tips. Still, other times, it’s just not expected.

If you want to tip your artist, the best thing to do is ask them upfront how they feel about tipping.

Often, underappreciated professionals in the service industry (such as waiters) love tips;

Because it makes up for their lack or ability to make higher wages like many others in more respected professions (doctors, lawyers, etc.).

Many people who appreciate tattoos and tattoo artists view their work as art that takes talent and time; anything beyond an hourly wage is extra special.

Within the world of people that get tattoos done, there is debate about whether or not one should tip at all when getting a tattoo.

Some people take tipping very seriously and feel that it’s not a tip if your artist doesn’t do something over the top for you.

In contrast, others feel that tipping should be merely reserved for bad service or an experience that is less than optimal. In my case, I never tip when getting a tattoo done].

What Tips Are Appropriate?

The best way to give a tip is in cash upon receiving your services. But, if you don’t have it on hand at the time of your appointment.

There are other options: leave the tip upfront with the receptionist or bring along a card or piece of paper;

So they can enclose it with your final payment after coming back from your tattoo session to get your money’s worth.

You can give a 5-10% tip. This isn’t a must, but it’s a recommendable amount if you want to be safe.

If your tattoo was large or took more than five hours to complete, 10% would be the appropriate amount to tip for that type of experience.

If you’re going to give a tip, remember this: The best way to show appreciation is through cash, cards, and envelopes.

And finally, don’t feel obligated by any means. Not everyone tips their artist or thinks it’s necessary. [In my case] It should have been obvious from the get-go.

I do not believe in tipping when getting a tattoo done. But if you feel compelled to add something extra on top of what you paid;

Or if your artist did something over the top for you, it’s always appreciated, but more so when cash gets involved.

The last thing you want to do is offend your tattoo artist by offering them only $5.00 when they just spent five hours working on you.

Remember that tipping an artist should be more about doing what feels right than worrying about offending anyone.

If anything, bring some extra cash and give your tattooist something extra for their hard work if you feel compelled within in reason but don’t feel obligated because of social norms.


Tattoos have become a ubiquitous part of society, but many people don’t interact with tattoo artists.

It’s important to be polite when interacting with your artist and know what you are asking about and why.

The following article goes over some common questions that may arise while getting inked for the first time or interviewing potential candidates who will permanently ink you on your skin.


I'm Vincent, a registered skincare specialist and an award-winning tattoo artist. I've been in the industry for over 10 years and have worked with some of the best tattoo artists in my field. I've loved everything to do with tattoos and arts in general, as well as exercise and wellness! This site is a place for me to share some of the expertise knowledge I have, as well as keep up-to-date with current research and studies. Tattoos are a huge passion of mine, I faced many questions from customers about different products, and there was hardly any help on the internet. I decided to start a blog and help other people!

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