Skin Design Tattoo


To Tip or Not To Tip: That is the question

To Tip Not To Tip Question

Ever sat in the chair of a tattoo parlor, thrilled about the ink masterpiece you’re about to receive, and then found yourself stumped about how to show your appreciation post-session?

Tipping can be tricky, especially when it’s for a service as intimate and artistic as tattooing. After all, it isn’t just about percentages; it’s a reflection of your appreciation for an art form that becomes a permanent part of you.

Continue reading to unveil the mystery of tipping tattoo artists, the scenarios where it’s crucial, and the occasions where you might reconsider.

How much to tip a Tattoo


After combing through countless tattoo artists near you— you’ve finally found the right tattoo shop. But there’s one question itching under your skin: How much do you tip a tattoo artist?

The sentiment of inking your skin is no small gesture. It’s like capturing lightning in a bottle, an art form inked into your very flesh. Like any other service industry, tipping your tattoo artist shows appreciation for their dedication and craftsmanship. But the question remains, how much to tip a tattoo artist?

Tattoo tipping rates 

When diving into the ocean of tattoo consultation, you’ll often find that there’s no hard-set rule for tattoo tipping etiquette.

But as a rule of thumb, a 15-20% tip is usually a good place to start. So, if you spent a total of $200 on a tattoo, tipping anywhere from $30 to $40 shows your artist that you appreciate their handiwork. While this might seem a bit on the higher end, remember that your tattoo will be a permanent mark. It’s not just a mere coffee that you grab from your local barista.

However, if you dive deep into the heart of any tattoo community, you’ll find that tipping etiquette can vary based on location, the complexity of design, and even the rapport you share with your artist.

For instance, consider the bustling tattoo scene in New York City.

Given the high cost of living and the competitive nature of the industry, it’s not uncommon for clients to tip their tattoo artists 20-25%. So if your mesmerizing sleeve costs you $500 at a premier Manhattan parlor, you might find yourself tipping in the ballpark of $100 to $125. It’s a nod to the exceptional skill in a city where the best tattoo shop ply their trade.

But then you fly over to a state like Iowa. Here, the pace of life is slightly more relaxed, and the cost of living is not as exorbitant as NYC. Here, you might find that while the quality of work is top-notch, the tipping rates hover around the 15-20% range. A tattoo costing $300 might get a tip of around $45 to $60.

When Should You Tip a Tattoo Artist

Now that we’ve answered the question of how much you tip a tattoo artist, it’s crucial to understand when you should tip.

Usually, if you’re satisfied with the service, the design, the cleanliness, and the overall tattoo consulting process, then a tip is warranted. If the artist went above and beyond, maybe adding extra detail or ensuring you were comfortable throughout the session, that’s your cue. It’s like getting a masterpiece when you only asked for a doodle.

When not to tip

However, like not all roses have their petals, there might be instances where tipping might not feel appropriate.

Maybe the tattoo financing wasn’t up to par, or perhaps the artist didn’t exactly capture what you had envisioned, despite clear instructions. If you feel that the service was subpar, or if the environment wasn’t clean and safe, these can be reasons for holding back on the tip. Remember, while it’s great to be generous, it’s also crucial that the service you received was worth the price you paid.

How can I show appreciation for a tattoo artist?

So, what if your pockets feel a little light, but you still want to show appreciation? Do you tip the tattoo artist only with cash? Not necessarily. While money is always a clear and welcome gesture, there are other ways to show gratitude. Referring friends, leaving glowing reviews, or even a simple shout-out on social media can be invaluable. In the world of tattooing, word of mouth is more potent than any ink.

Additionally, if you’ve developed a rapport with your artist, perhaps consider gifting them something unique. An art book, a sketchbook, or even art supplies can be heartwarming tokens of gratitude. These gestures show that not only do you appreciate their work on your body but also their artistry as a whole.

Gift Etiquette

If you’re leaning towards the idea of gifts as opposed to answering the question of how much should you tip a tattoo artist with cold hard cash, be mindful. Just as with any other gift, ensure it’s personal but not too personal. Don’t forget, the gesture is to show appreciation, so anything that feels thoughtful and considerate is a win. Whether it’s something related to their interests or simply a nod to their dedication to the world of tattoos, the sentiment is what truly counts.

Showing Gratitude

Tipping your tattoo artist goes beyond mere protocol; it’s a heartfelt gesture of appreciation. Whether you opt for monetary tips or unique gifts, ensure they resonate with the artist’s effort and skill. Your tattoo is a lifelong mark; recognizing its creator strengthens the bond between art and admirer. Remember, true appreciation always leaves an indelible mark, just like a great tattoo.

About the Author

Jacob Pullman

Jacob Pullman

Jacob Pullman is a former tattoo artist turned into a consultant-enthusiast-writer-educator. A change of career, before he started writing, he got a degree in PR and communications. He is passionate about traveling and exploring the world and cultures visiting all those funky museums as a modern art lover. His ultimate goal is to spread knowledge about relationships (but only theoretically, as he is still single), a healthy lifestyle, body art, and of course, everything related to tattoo art. That's how he went deep into digital marketing, working with Skin Design Tattoo to educate and share his knowledge and experience.