Are you wondering how much to tip a tattoo artist?
It depends on how happy you are with the work, whether you want to maintain a relationship with the artist, and where you’re located.
Before you start searching for a tattoo tip calculator, we can make it easier for you.
In the USA, plan on tipping the artist 15 to 20% just like you would for good table service at a restaurant. After all, tattooing is not just an art. It’s a service profession, too.
So how much would you tip for a $300 tattoo? Between 45 to 60 bucks.
If it breaks your brain to do the math, try it in blocks of 10%. Ten percent of one hundred is ten dollars. Double that for 20%, and you’ve got twenty. So, for every hundred dollars, you’ll be handing over an extra twenty bucks to say thank you.
Is it bad to not tip a tattoo artist? Not necessarily. But Remember that the artist doesn’t take home all the money you paid for the tattoo. A large portion of it goes toward expenses. The artist may be renting space at the shop, paying for ink and disposable supplies, and so on. Your tip will be a welcome addition to their income.
Let’s talk about tipping tattoo artists in some countries besides the United States.
How much to tip tattoo artists in other countries
Canada operates pretty much like the US with regards to tipping artists. Plan on 15 to 20% (1).
But in the United Kingdom, you can be a little thriftier in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. Artists in the UK don’t expect tips but will usually accept them. That’s because being a tattoo artist pays well there even after the shop takes a percentage.
If you’re in doubt, don’t be shy about asking the artist. If you really love the tattoo, ask if it’s okay to leave extra as a thank you.
In Australia, tipping a tattoo artist is also not required nor expected. Again, ask if you’re not comfortable.
Throughout Western Europe, the price of the tattoo is all that’s expected of you. But if you choose to tip, it’s rare to go over 5%.
In Eastern Europe, where the economy is struggling, artists appreciate tips but don’t expect them.
But it’s in Japan where you have to be careful. You may give offense if you attempt to press extra money into their hands. Always ask before you try to tip an artist there.
In South Korea, tattoo artists must be licensed as medical professionals. Tattooing is not fully socially acceptable there. Many in South Korea and other Asian countries like Vietnam still look down on tattooed people as criminals or deviants.
If you’re in other parts of Asia, ask about tipping, preferably before getting the tattoo.
Dubai’s government requires certain businesses to add a 10% service charge to the bill. Other countries in the Middle East, like Egypt and Jordan, have a similar practice. Yet, it’s not uncommon to tip an extra 5% beyond that.
From what we’ve heard, it’s rare to tip for a tattoo anywhere in Africa.
Is it okay to give a gift instead of a tip to a tattoo artist?
In our experience, most artists prefer cash or electronic tips instead of gifts. But that doesn’t mean you can’t give a little something to an artist you’ve been to before.
Besides a tip, how can you thank a tattoo artist?
If you want to show gratitude to the artist, you have other ways to do it besides giving a gift or tip. (2)
For example, artists appreciate clients who aren’t difficult. Meaning, they don’t haggle over the price, demand total control, or complain a lot.
There’s no problem in discussing the design with the artist or expressing discomfort during the session. No one expects someone to sit still and completely quiet hour after hour. But if you’re patient (and sober), it’s already made the job easier.
We understand that you might be worried about how it will turn out. We get that it hurts to get inked, especially in certain places. But it is possible to stay calm while getting a tattoo.
Try tricks like these to keep from flinching and fidgeting.
Serenilite Hand Therapy Stress Balls
This selection of soft, medium, and hard stress balls gives you something to squeeze when it hurts. It will help alleviate anxiety.
There’s gel inside of each fabric-covered ball. They’re nice to squish.
But that’s not all. The balls are designed to train your hands and forearms. They will improve your grip and may have benefits for carpal tunnel and arthritis.
You Are F*ing Awesome: A Motivating Coloring Book
If you’re getting tattooed on your leg or foot, you can still color. This hilarious coloring book is full of all the swear words you need to bear up under the pain. It will cheer you on with uncensored motivational phrases.
Some of the designs are simple, yet others will absorb your attention for an hour or longer.
The World Atlas of Tattoo
Here’s one of the best tattoo books to distract you while being inked. It also doubles as a nice gift for the artist.
The book explores the history of tattooing around the world. It’s beautifully illustrated with images of the best tattoos from every continent.
Dr. Numb 5% Lidocaine Topical Anesthetic Numbing Cream
Take a pass on the pain. If it doesn’t hurt, it’s easy to sit still and relax.
This numbing cream has the most potent concentration of lidocaine available over-the-counter. It’s recommended by healthcare and tattoo professionals as an effective treatment.
Fifteen minutes after you apply it, it deadens sensation to block pain signals in the skin. Then, the effects last from 2 to 4 hours.
It’s not greasy and shouldn’t affect the tattooing process. (We still recommend that you consult with the artist before using it).
In conclusion, the fact that you checked up on how much to tip a tattoo artist tells us you’re a conscientious collector. We thank you for that.
We hope you enjoy the next tattoo you get, no matter where in the world you may be.
1. https://www.inkedmag.com/profiles-and-features-on-the-best-tattoo-artists-in-the-world/how-much-should-you-tip-your-tattoo-artist by Devon Preston, updated December 19, 2018, accessed January 21, 2021
2. https://www.inkedmag.com/profiles-and-features-on-the-best-tattoo-artists-in-the-world/10-things-clients-do-that-piss-off-tattoo-artists by Devon Preston, published December 19, 2018, accessed January 21, 2021