St Pete Tattoo Tip Jar by J Michael Taylor

Tipping your Tattoo Artist

Here’s a Tip for You

You tip the waiter after good service at a restaurant, or the barber after a haircut you feel good about. Why would you not tip the guy who puts your amazing art on your skin? Let’s say your restaurant tipping starts at about 15%, 20% when you’re feeling at ease in the world, with adjustments up for above-average experiences and down when things go wrong. Sound about right?

So here’s the baseline: at the end of the session are you happy? Excited for more ink? Looking like a boss and feeling 10 feet tall? Since you know the answer to any or all of those questions is not just “yes” but “oh hell yes” with a side of AreYouEffingKiddingOfCourse, here’s the best piece of advice about tipping your tattooer: plan on it. As in, seriously, plan on it and bake it into your planned spend. That way you know when you sit for your appointment that there will be no need to feel weird about not tipping or to stress about making excuses or mumbling “catch you next time.”

How much?

Leaving a gratuity, as tipping is formally known, is by nature subjective: you decide what’s right. Generally, 15-30% is average. When to tip is also on you: You may decide to tip per sitting or after a large piece is finished. Let your artist know however you decide to do it. You’re letting someone permanently beautify you by putting needle to skin, so it’s not a relationship based on subtleties and guesswork. Man up or woman up and bring it up with your artist.

Cash only?

Money talks, but who doesn’t like surprises? So if you feel like augmenting your tip with a gift, go for it. But don’t think a personal present takes the place of a cash thank-you.

There’s a corollary to the clichéd-but-true You get what you pay for. Think about it. Do you even want a tattoo that’s not worth tipping for…?