How much do tattoos cost will depend on several factors including the shop, the artist, the state you’re in and the size, placement and design of the tattoo. How much do tattoos cost will also depend on whether the artist charges by the design or by the hour. Most tattoo shops will feature both payment methods and these will vary by artist.
How much do Tattoos Cost: Flat Fees
The flat fee method is generally used for pricing flash or simple designs. The pricing is usually estimated based on how much time it will take for the artist to complete it, the complexity of the design and where on your body the design will be placed. Commonly, a tattoo artist will charge more for such areas as the hands, neck and face. This is because the hands, neck and face feature tougher skin. Because the skin is tougher it can take longer for the tattoo to be completed. It also requires a higher skill level to apply ink to such visible areas and many artists who are inexperienced will not do these tattoos. An artist will also refuse to do a tattoo in these areas if they feel that the design you want is a bad choice.
A benefit of flat fee pricing is that you won’t be caught off guard in terms of price. Often, a tattoo you expect to be completed in an hour can take two or three hours, which means you’ll need to pay more than what you planned on. How much do tattoos cost with a flat fee will also depend on the size of the tattoo. Most shops will have a shop minimum of around $60 to $100.
Custom Tattoos Based on an Hourly Rate
Most tattoo designs that are custom will be charged by the artist’s hourly rate. The hourly rate will depend on the state you’re in, the artist and the shop. On average, a tattoo shop will have an hourly rate that ranges from $125 to $150. High profile tattoo artists can charge an hourly rate of $200 to $250.
States with a higher cost of living can charge a higher rate for tattoos. However, even in these states if there is a lot of competition then the price will typically average out based on local shop prices. Before you get your custom piece most artists will draw up the design while discussing the placement and pricing. It’s recommended that you’re upfront with your artist and let them know the type of budget you’re working with. Because many people are on a budget, most artists will work with you. This means that you can make an appointment for more than one sitting for the same tattoo. Also, if you’re a repeat customer or if the piece is large, the artist might charge you a lower hourly rate. A drawback for paying by the hour is that the artist can take longer to complete the tattoo in order to charge you more.