How Much Should I Tip My Tattoo Artist?

Fernando Meyer


Getting a tattoo is more than just a mere transaction; it’s a personalized experience that often leaves a lasting imprint, literally and figuratively. Just as in other service industries, tipping is a way to show appreciation for the artist’s skill, time, and effort. However, the appropriate amount to tip a tattoo artist can be unclear, especially for those new to ink. This post aims to shed light on the standard tipping etiquette in tattoo parlors.

Tipping goes beyond a mere customary practice; it’s a significant gesture of appreciation towards the tattoo artist’s creative prowess and personalized service.

It’s akin to acknowledging the artist’s investment in honing their craft and the costs of running a tattoo business. Your tip can provide some financial relief, especially considering the overheads, taxes, and other expenses tattoo artists contend with.

Moreover, tipping fosters a positive rapport with the artist, which can be beneficial for future engagements should you decide to get more tattoos. Your tip and other forms of appreciation, like online reviews and referrals, contribute to a supportive client-artist relationship.

How Much to Tip Tattoo Artists

A general guideline when tipping your tattoo artist is to offer between 15-25% of the total cost of the tattoo​​. Some sources suggest a range of 15-20% as a good starting point, with the opportunity to tip more if the service exceeds expectations​​.

The amount you decide to tip for a tattoo artist can be influenced by various factors, such as the complexity of the design, whether it’s a custom design, the size and detail of the tattoo, your appreciation for the artist, and the overall experience you had during the session​.

How much do you tip for a $500 tattoo?

The standard tattoo tipping range is 15-25% of the total cost. For a $500 tattoo, a 15% tip would be $75, a 20% tip would be $100, and a 25% tip would be $125.

The exact amount you choose to tip within this range can depend on various factors, such as the complexity of the design, your satisfaction with the service, and your financial situation​​.

How much do you tip for a $1000 tattoo?

For a $1000 tattoo, the tip range, based on the standard 15-25%, would be:

  • At 15%: $150
  • At 20%: $200
  • At 25%: $250

The precise tip amount within this range could be influenced by factors such as the intricacy of the design, the level of service provided by the artist, and your own financial circumstances.

Factors Affecting the Tip Amount

Several factors come into play when contemplating the tip amount for a tattoo artist.

Custom Design

If your artist created a custom design for you, it’s courteous to tip at a higher percentage. Custom designs often require additional time, effort, and creativity from the artist​.

Custom designs tattoo

Appreciation for the Artist

Tattoo artists usually pay for their own supplies and only retain part of the amount charged for the tattoo, as a significant portion goes to the shop. Tipping is a direct way to show appreciation and support for the artist’s craftsmanship​.

Size and Detail of the Tattoo

Larger or more detailed tattoos that require multiple sessions or added color warrant a higher tip due to the additional time and skill required​​.

Overall Experience

If your artist ensured you were comfortable, provided a clean and sterile environment, and delivered a positive tattooing experience, it’s good practice to reflect that in your tip​​.

Do Tattoo Artists Prefer to be Tipped in Cash?

Yes, tattoo artists generally prefer to be tipped in cash. Cash tips go directly to the artist without any deductions, ensuring they receive the full amount you intended to give as a tip. Additionally, cash tips can be accessed immediately, unlike tips made through credit cards or other electronic means that might require processing time.

It’s always a good practice to ask your artist about their preferred method of tipping if you need clarification.

While tipping in cash is the most common method, you could show appreciation to your tattoo artist in other ways. You could inquire directly about their tipping preferences, as some artists might have specific preferences or policies regarding tips​.

It’s also possible to gift items, although it’s less common and might not be as universally accepted as cash tips. Before opting for alternative methods, it’s advisable to understand the etiquette and norms within the specific tattoo studio and ensure that your chosen method of tipping aligns with them.

When to Tip?

It’s customary to tip after the tattoo is completed, either as you’re wrapping up or after you pay at the desk.

If your tattoo requires multiple sessions, it’s polite to tip after each session.

Many tattoo shops may not accept credit card payments for tips, so it’s wise to carry cash or check in advance if the shop has provisions for card tips​​.


Tipping your tattoo artist is a gesture of appreciation and respect for their skill and the personal service provided. While the general guideline suggests a tip of 15-25% of the total cost, individual circumstances and the quality of service received can influence the exact amount. Ensuring you have enough cash and are prepared to tip for each session will contribute to a positive tattooing experience, fostering a good relationship with your artist for future ink endeavors.

Fernando Meyer

Fernando Meyer

Fernando Meyer is a freelance writer and founder of F-Meyer website. His writing strengths include business, financial topics, and lifestyle. He uses his life experiences to inspire his detailed and informative style of writing.

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