TATTOOS: Why price isn't everything

June 12, 2015

It can be a bit of a touchy subject in  almost any situation… the question of cost.

And it is especially true when discussing tattoos.

No one wants to be ripped off, especially for something that you are going to have to live with for the rest of your life. And it is so easy to get bogged down by the price of everything in today’s society.
But with tattoos, price should not be the determiner.

The saying goes

“Good tattoos aren’t cheap and cheap tattoos aren’t good”

And to a certain extent this is very true.

Many badly designed or created tattoos are from people or ‘scratchers’ who have had no training, and bought a tattoo machine from the internet and are ‘working’ from their kitchen. In this instance, you really are paying for what you get. It will be cheap because the ‘work’ is likely to be substandard and potentially risky.

However this is not the case 100% of the time. Some ‘cheap’ tattoos are done by apprentices, usually working at a reduced rate under the supervision of a trained tattooist. The lines may not be perfect and it will take longer than a general tattooist, hence the reduced price. Some of the best work I’ve seen is from apprentices. I myself have an ‘apprentice’ tattoo which is a great piece of work. The tattooist is now a full tattooist and has done more work on me.

That being said, you should never argue over price. If a tattooist (and I mean a proper one, in a studio) gives you a price for a piece of work, accept it. They know what they are talking about. Tattooists work from return custom and word of mouth generally speaking, with some customers from Instagram and Facebook followings – so they aren’t about to screw you over on price because their reputation matters a lot to them.

If they quote £200, then that is very likely to be a fair price.
Generally speaking, the majority of studios work on between £50 – £80 per hour, with most at about £70 per hour. Many studios will offer special rates for half day and whole day sessions usually around £200 for a half day and £350-400 for a whole day.

Don’t get me wrong, I know that price is important, because tattoos aren’t supposed to be cheap – they should be an investment. If they were cheap, everyone would have them and there would be more regrets from the permanent markings left.

But price shouldn’t be the main reason you go to a specific tattooist for work. You should love their designs, their style, and their ideas. Price should be at the most secondary to that.

I have fallen in love (metaphorically speaking) with a number of tattooists and not even considered the price. I get an idea of the cost so I can budget, but I never question that price. At the end of the day, it is at the very least just plain rude! I’ve heard of people bartering for a price – especially at tattoo conventions – and to be honest, it is just plain wrong.

*image from Pinterest

3 responses to “TATTOOS: Why price isn't everything”

  1. B says:

    I'd never imagine trying to barter for a cheaper tattoo! That takes some nerve!

  2. Kourtney Bruce says:

    I would feel so awkward if I heard people trying to lower the prices. This is someone's hard work, and a one of a kind piece, you would pay anything for it. Half the time when I get tattooed, the price goes down because it hasn't taken as long as they though, my thigh was meant to be £250 but, at the end it was only £180. My tattoos have ranged from £20 – £400. It's about the artist and the studio with how much they charge I have found too. Great post! It's a topic I think is kind of a no-brainer, but you still get people wanting the tattoo for as cheap as they can!Kourtney x

  3. Anonymous says:

    Hey very interesting blog!

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