Top Five Tattoo Customer Rants

Published on July 1, 2014 by Jodie Michalak

Top Five Things Your Tattoo Customer Wants to Change About You


Tattoo artists have their share of complaints. Customers who are indecisive, request uninspired after uninspired design, just to name a few. These complaints are generally valid, and you’re right to have them. However, your customers wish they could change just a few things about you. Consider this your “Honey Do” list- and just do it.


Be Creative: She admits her tattoo is from a mass-pinned Pinterest image, and even more, she’s good with it. Why?  Because she has no idea you are creative enough to change it or modify the design to draw a custom tattoo, and she likes what she sees. Should she know better? Sure- but she doesn’t, and she’s still paying. Don’t take advantage of that. Always offer more and help customers obtain interesting and original tattoo designs.


Be Honest: She’s likely hell bent on the placement or style of her tattoo, but so long as you present a valid argument or help her consider other options and why they might be better, she’s certain to make a few adaptions once she understands why. Most clients really crave artistic opinion and feedback. If you can honestly help him make a better decision each and every time he’s in the chair, he’ll be there more frequently, and he’s much more likely to refer some friends as well.


Throw in the Towel: Perhaps it is time to fold? The brain often knows what the heart cannot accept. Maybe you have tried very hard to nurture and improve your artistic inclinations, but things still aren’t coming together?


It’s OK to admit maybe your chosen line of work isn’t the best fit. If you are convinced you want to remain in the tattoo industry, consider other options that may require less artistic hands.


Tattoo supply companies hire representatives. Convention and event promoters hire security and teams who can help set up and break down at venues. There are tattoo writers and editors, makeup artist and hairdressers, and of course photographers, who capture tattoo culture.


You may even try your hand at drawing flash if you struggle with machine to skin techniques. Challenged tattoo artists may also request the assistance of a professional tattoo artist for training in their craft. If you’ve never served a traditional tattoo apprenticeship, go back to square one and learn the basics. There is absolutely no point in continuing inking crappy after crappy tattoo. You don’t need a bad reputation, and the world doesn’t need more bad tattoos. If it’s not working, make a change. You’ll be much more satisfied and proud of yourself in a career you excel at.


Be Clean: Most customers have zero idea what equipment you use and why. They aren’t reading about autoclaves or any state laws; they simply trust you (often a huge risk) to take responsibility for your art and supplies. The worst thing you could ever do is transmit a disease to another human due to your own negligence. Be clean and take pride in your work. Understand the risks of tattooing and take classes to obtain necessary certifications. You are puncturing the skin. Tattooing is  a small surgical procedure and should be treated as such.


Be Nice: Have you ever had a body massage from a therapist who was chock-full of stress? Tattooing passes energy from artist to client. Your client feels the vibe of his artist. You don’t have to offer endless chatter or banter, but you should at least try to have a pleasant disposition.


Smile, do your job thoughtfully and carefully, and put all these other requests to the test. Worst case scenario, you’ll become famous. (Which can’t be all that bad.)


Images courtesy Dauphine Summers and Body Graffiti




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