Tattoo prices vary from city to city and artist to artist. The level of detail and time involved is a major factor in how an artist prices a piece of work, but it is important to also note that equipment, ink, and other materials may also be considered. Many shops might price tattoos by the amount of time it takes to do a tattoo. For example, a shop may have a rate of fifty dollars per hour, but they may require a minimum price of $50 total to cover setup time. Below are a few different types of tattoos and common pricing associated:
Flash tattoos are what you would pick straight from a book or off the wall. They are often smaller and cost less due to the stock quality of the image. These are popular tattoos for special promotions such as Friday the 13th. They typically have a cost of roughly $50 depending on the level of color and detail involved.
Custom tattoos are commonly priced by the hour as it can be hard for an artist to determine the level of detail that may be included in the final result. With custom work, it is often the case that there is some improvisation and freehand work. Custom tattoos also typically require consultations and appointments and will require a deposit prior to the actual tattooing. Rate commonly range from $50-150 per hour, depending on the reputation and location of the shop or artist.
Credit: Carlos Ransom of Abraxas Tattoo (Lawrence, KS)
Some custom work, including cover-ups, are sometimes estimated up front, especially if done in sessions. It is very common for independent artists to give a price for a larger project right off the bat, which will give the client and artist some security. Some may be estimated between $250-500, depending on the time and detail required for the tattoo.
Credit: Lacie Greer of Fountain City Tattoo (Kansas City, MO)
It is important to remember that good work doesn’t come cheap and won’t always be quick. If you are looking for quality tattoos from passionate and competent artists, then be prepared to spend a little bit of money. And don’t forget to tip your artist! Restaurant rules of 10-20% are proper etiquette for rewarding hard work.