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To Tip or Not to Tip: Tattoo Artist Gratuity Etiquette


Getting a tattoo is an exciting and often meaningful experience, and it’s essential to consider all aspects of the process, including the question of whether to tip your tattoo artist. Tattoo etiquette varies from person to person and culture to culture, but tipping is generally considered a customary practice in the tattoo industry. In this article, we’ll explore the reasons for tipping your tattoo artist, how much to tip, and when it’s appropriate to show your appreciation.

The Importance of Tipping Your Tattoo Artist

  1. Acknowledgment of Skill and Artistry: Tattoo artists are skilled professionals who have honed their craft over years of training and practice. Tipping is a way to show your appreciation for their talent and the effort they put into creating your tattoo.
  2. Compensation for Additional Services: Tipping can also cover any additional services or accommodations provided by the artist or studio. This might include design consultations, adjustments to the tattoo design, or extra time spent perfecting the tattoo during the session.
  3. Building Positive Relationships: Tipping fosters positive relationships between clients and tattoo artists. It demonstrates respect and gratitude, which can lead to a more pleasant and successful tattooing experience.

How Much Should You Tip?

The standard tip for a tattoo artist is typically 15% to 20% of the total cost of the tattoo. However, the specific amount can vary based on several factors:

  1. Complexity and Duration: If your tattoo is exceptionally intricate or requires multiple sessions, you may consider tipping at the higher end of the range.
  2. Quality of Service: Exceptional service, such as great communication, patience, and attentiveness to your needs, may warrant a more generous tip.
  3. Budget Considerations: While the standard tip range is a helpful guideline, it’s important to consider your own budget when determining the final tip amount. Tipping should be a reflection of your appreciation rather than a financial burden.

When and How to Tip Your Tattoo Artist

Tattoo tipping is typically done at the end of the tattoo session. Here’s a simple guide on how to handle the process:

  1. Cash is King: Tattoo artists often prefer cash tips because they receive them immediately and in full. If you’re unsure whether the studio accepts credit card tips, it’s best to have cash on hand.
  2. Discuss Your Intentions: Before your tattoo session, you can inquire about the preferred method of tipping with your artist. This shows that you respect their preferences.
  3. Be Discreet and Respectful: When handing over your tip, be discreet and respectful. You can say something like, “Thank you for your work; this is for you,” and hand over the cash or include it in the payment envelope.


Tipping your tattoo artist is a common practice in the tattoo industry, and it serves as a token of your appreciation for their skill and service. While there are general guidelines for how much to tip, the decision ultimately depends on your budget and the quality of service you receive. Tipping fosters positive relationships between clients and artists and ensures a gratifying tattoo experience for all parties involved. By showing your appreciation in this way, you can contribute to a positive and respectful atmosphere within the tattoo community.

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