Tax Season–? You Mean Tattoo Season?
For most people, the early few months of the year brings tax season… a time when you have to file your taxes and cross your fingers that you’re going to get a decent refund. These refunds can make or break some people throughout the year, being the difference between getting bills paid and not making the cut. For others, tax refunds are strictly additional cash which can be used to fulfill their whims and purchase items they would not have normally gotten with their regular paycheck.
And a lot of this additional cash seems to find its way into the tattoo shops.
For tattoo lovers, additional cash translates into a tattoo fund. Tattoos, especially large, custom pieces, can be expensive—if you want the work done right, that is. For those seeking full-color sleeves or entire back pieces, tax season is tattoo season.
When it comes to tattoo shops, tax season takes on a completely different meaning. Think Back to School season for shoe stores or the Christmas season for toy stores. Tax season brings both new and old clients in and, for some shops, can be the key to a successful year. According to the New York Tattoo Show’s website, shops across the country see approximately a 70% increase in traffic during tax refund season and keep that momentum for approximately six months. This is especially so in smaller shops in more rural areas, where disposable income averages are lower.
While large-scale tattoos are the most frequent requests during tattoo/tax season, smaller tattoos also increase in occurrence. When people have a little extra cash lining their pockets, they tend to make rash, impulsive decisions—such as getting a small tattoo or buying that new iPhone. A quick look at the IRS website will tell you that the current average refund (as of October 2016) is approximately $3,120. So, naturally, a $100-200 tattoo isn’t really going to put a large dent in their refund. They’ll still be able to pay down the credit card or go on that Spring Break vacation without really noticing too much missing.
If you’re looking to snag a tax refund tattoo, there are a few things you need to consider first. Tattoo shops are crazy busy during this time of year… so make sure you call ahead. If you can manage to grab an appointment (some shops are pre-booked solid during this time), ensure your artist has everything they need before you arrive—if you’re giving them any reference pictures or materials, make sure to send them prior to your appointment. For many shops, business hours are reserved strictly for tattooing during this time of year, so all sketches and drawings are done while the shop is closed and in some cases, they become homework. To ensure your artist is able to take his/her time with you, sending materials ahead of time will lessen the amount of time they spend prepping for your piece while you’re in the shop.
If you opt to walk-in during tattoo/tax refund season, expect a hefty wait time, if they’re able to fit you in at all. Remember, you expect long lines in the mall during the holiday season—it’s the same idea in tattoo shops during tax refund season. Be patient.
Most importantly, make sure you’re really in love with the idea of the tattoo. As many people find extra cash leads them to impulsive decisions, a lot of tattoo/tax refund season designs tend to be regretted later on down the line. If you’ve been waiting all year for your tax refund check to get that full sleeve you’ve been pining after for months, it’s pretty safe to say that you’ll be okay. But, if having that extra three grand in your checking account leads you and your friends into a tattoo shop during Spring Break, take a pause for a second. Make sure you’re headed to a reputable artist. Call ahead and make sure they can fit you in during this busy season, so you’re not wasting both your time and theirs by showing up without an appointment. And, of course, make sure this is a design that you’re going to love for years to come… not just some random excuse to spend money that you’ll find yourself feeling remorseful about later.