How Much Should You Tip Your Tattoo Artist?

Tipping is one of the greatest etiquettes in any and every industry, especially the tattoo industry. Many tattoo artists and tattoo wearers are unaware of tipping etiquettes and how important tipping is in some situations. Tattoo artists are one of the most talented people who carry out a pretty exhausting job that involves drawing on your skin. However, this profession has a major taboo attached to it in many parts of the world and even considered a ‘druggies’ or ‘unprofessional’ job.

If you plan on getting a new tattoo, you’ve come to the right place because it’s important to know how to make your tattoo artist feel appreciated. There is no hard and fast rule of tipping, but it falls under the category of having basic etiquettes. Plus, it’s about supporting professionals such as tattoo artists who don’t earn the respect they deserve. In this article, you will get to know how much you should tip your tattoo artists and a few things that impact whether you should tip or not.

Tipping your Tattoo Artist: How much?

As mentioned earlier, there is no certain amount of tip you have to give your tattoo artist. Also, there is no such rule that makes tipping mandatory. Tipping is more of an appreciative means that customers like showing to the tattoo artist; hence they tip them.

Not to mention, it doesn’t cost you that much. If you plan to tip your tattoo artist, you should tip them at least 15-20 percent of your tattoo cost. However, you don’t have to follow this standard percentage. You can also tip more or less than this specific percentage.

Factors that Determine how much you should Tip

The attitude of the Tattoo Artist

If the tattoo artist has tried their best to make you feel comfortable, especially if it’s your first time getting a tattoo, and help you throughout the tattoo process, you must tip them. If you sense any rudeness or feel a bit uncomfortable with the way your tattoo artist talks to you, then there’s a big no for the tip. However, that depends on you.

Tattoo Artists Skills

If you’re happy with your tattoo and feel like the tattoo artist has done more than a great job in helping you achieve the same tattoo design you wanted with the right details, you owe to tip them. Some tattoo artists tend to mess up your tattoo, and you obviously won’t feel like tipping them, and you shouldn’t honestly, as tattoos are expensive. It is best to let your tattoo artist know how unsatisfied you are even though not tipping them may be a big hint to them.

Why Should You Consider Tipping Your Tattoo Artist?

One of the main reasons you should consider tipping your tattoo artists is your kindness and appreciation towards the hard work put in by tattoo artists. Tattooing is a skill not everyone has, and a lot of hard work goes into it. You would obviously want to feel appreciated when you’ve worked hard to achieve something or get somewhere. It’s good to appreciate someone’s time and skills, and the best form is tipping. Mentioned below are a few factors that you should consider and might encourage you to tip your tattoo artists at the next tattoo appointment:


Tattoo artists carry out a lot of pre-planning, especially if you want an original design. For this, your tattoo artist will spend hours framing design or altering one you’ve come forward with. There’s a lot of time that goes into all of this; hence a tip is the best way to show that you value the extra hard work and efforts of the tattoo artist.

The Tattoo Parlor

It takes a lot of time and money to run a tattoo parlor, and there are additional costs that go into electricity, water, and other things. It is good to keep these things in mind when planning to tip your tattoo artists. Some tattoo parlors are now taking only one customer at a time due to COVID19. Hence, the whole parlor runs just for you, which is a big indicator that you should tip before leaving.


The equipment used for the tattooing process requires a lot of maintenance and aftercare, especially when it comes to getting rid of the waste. If you’re happy with the quality of the appliances used during the tattooing process, you must tip your tattoo artist. This shows your appreciation for good quality and cleanliness.

You don’t have any reason to care about these additional tipping requirements, as at the end of the day, it’s the responsibility of your tattoo artists to handle all the extra costs. But, if you’re all about supporting budding youngsters trying to make a living and reach a high point in their career, the least you could do is support them with an extra addition to their paycheck.

Tipping When on a Budget

Everyone got to admit that spending on a tattoo sometimes does require a lot of savings. Tattoos aren’t that cheap, especially when you’re going for a big tattoo with a complicated design. Many people feel under-pressure about tipping when they are on a budget, and that’s quite common. You’re not obligated to tip, but you can still tip when you’re on a budget.

You only have to pay 20% of your tattoo. This becomes a bit more confusing when your tattoo consists of multiple sessions. This is the case when you have a big tattoo that takes up a bigger space of your skin. You don’t necessarily have to tip during all your sessions, but tipping on the first session is a good idea. This assures the tattoo artists that you’re pleased with their work, and they may try to be more efficient and put in more quality in your next session.

It’s best always to keep out a little cash for the tip when finalizing your payment for your tattoo. Pre-planning is the best at times. Plus, knowing that you’ve kept money aside won’t leave you stressing out at the last moment when its time to make your payment, especially if you run out of extra cash.

Tipping Your Tattoo Artist in Foreign Countries

People usually don’t expect to get tips in foreign countries other than the US. However, it’s not wrong to tip tattoo artists in foreign countries as well, as again its etiquette. The tattooing process in different countries varies. In some countries like Thailand, tattooing is quite expensive; you will have to expect to pay a lot more money than you would in the US.

Sometimes these tattoos require more sessions, and not tipping while going through several sessions may leave a not so good impression. It may make the tattoo artist feel that you weren’t satisfied. Being unsatisfied is a good reason you may not want to tip the tattoo artist, which is completely fine.

When you visit a foreign country for the first time, you want to know different people and build a friendship even if it’s for a short time. Being friendly and considerate towards anyone, even if it’s your tattoo artist, leaves a good impression of you and says a lot about the culture you come from. So if you want to show your good etiquettes in a foreign country, you must tip your foreign tattoo artist and let them know that they’re doing an amazing job, especially if you’re more than satisfied with your tattoo.

Tipping Alternatives

As the trend of tipping your tattoo artists has become quite a big deal in today’s time, many people wonder if there are any alternate ways to tip their tattoo artist. If you have a good relationship with the tattoo artist and he/she is a friend, you may find it more comfortable giving them a gift for their hard work other than tipping them. Nowadays, people fall more for tipping alternatives as it is much easier and falls cheaper for many people, especially those on a budget.

Some tattoo artists don’t even care about the tip as long as you help them achieve a good customer base. You can do this by spreading the word to your friends and family and recommend this specific tattoo parlor if they plan to get a tattoo. You can use social media in your best interest and give the tattoo artist a shout out by uploading a picture of your tattoo on Instagram or Snapchat and tag them in it. This is the best way to show appreciation towards tattoo artists and help them reach the client base every tattoo artist works hard to achieve.

When is it the Right Time to Tip Your Tattoo Artist?

The best time to tip the tattoo artists is at the end of the session when you have to make the remaining payment. It would be a bit weird and unnecessary to pay them before or in between the session. Whenever you’re tipping someone from any industry, you feel a sense of satisfaction. Tipping at the end of the session will give the tattoo artist some assurance that you were happy with the services and got what you wanted.

Some tattoo artists are shy out of courtesy, so giving a tip directly to them would make them feel a bit awkward, and they may even give it back to you. You’re tipping them for the hard work they’ve put in and their amazing skills. Hence, whenever you’re tipping, its best to tip at the cashier counter (if there is one) without letting the tattoo artist know that you’re tipping them.

Ever wondered why tattoo shops as for a deposit? If so, you may be interested in this article I wrote.

Will not Tipping Leave a Bad Impression?

If you care about what impression you leave behind after your tattoo process completion, it would be best to tip your artist. Some people are unable to tip because they can’t afford it. Some tattoo artists are empathetic, and if you tell them or apologize for not tipping, they actually seem quite considerate. You don’t have to tell your tattoo artist that you can’t afford to tip them, but if you feel guilty about it, then out of goodness, you can inform them.

Tipping is totally optional, and if you do not care about what impression you leave, you know what to do. It’s not like you’re best friends with that tattoo artist and would have to face them again anytime soon unless you go back to them for another tattoo appointment. It’s not about leaving a bad impression; it’s more about certain etiquettes, and if you can’t afford to tip even 20%, that’s completely fine. You don’t have to feel bad or guilty about it; you’re paying for their services, which is sometimes more than enough.

What is The Biggest Exception for not Tipping?

The biggest exception for not tipping would be the lack of good services and that you’re unhappy with your tattoo. Some tattoo artists tend to fail and make the process a living hell for you by not carrying out the procedure properly. It is best to stay away from such artists, and the only way to do that is by researching different tattoo artists before booking your appointment. Hence, it is the biggest exception of not tipping. The other would be that you’re unable to afford the tip, and tattoo artists understand if that’s the case.

Final Words

After reading this article, it depends on you if you’re willing to tip your tattoo artist or not. Its basic tattoo etiquette to tip your tattoo artist, and we are pretty sure everyone has a bit courtesy. Sometimes it’s pathetic not to feel appreciated for the work you do. And the last thing you would want is to make someone feel that way, especially when you know how hard they have worked.

Tattoo artists help you achieve amazing body imagery; it would be a shame if they didn’t know how appreciative you are of the artistic change they have helped you achieve. So hopefully, the next time you go for a tattoo appointment, you tip your tattoo artist!