How Much Does a Tattoo Cost?
A tattoo is a type of body art that is permanently injected into the skin via a needle. While cosmetic tattoos are rather common, artists can also apply permanent makeup, add onto tattoos that someone wants changed or remove a tattoo that someone no longer wants. The cost of a tattoo is going to vary depending on the size of the tattoo, the location, the colors and the person applying the tattoo.
How much do tattoos cost?
- On average, most tattoo artists are going to charge anywhere from $65 to as much as $200 per hour, depending on their credibility and demand. A tattoo usually takes 1 to 3 hours depending on the size. Most are going to have a set minimum no matter what is done. Granted, these prices can be a lot higher if the artist is in demand or they are semi-famous.
- Smaller tattoos such as a name are going to cost between $80 and $225, while a tribal symbol that takes up the entire upper back can cost anywhere from $375 to $650.
- A sleeve of tattoos that covers a portion of the arm or even the leg can range from $500 to as much as $3,000. See: “How much does a half sleeve tattoo cost?“
- As you can see, the tattoo cost will widely vary depending on what you want to have done. Check out the factors that influence the price noted below.
Factors that influence the price:
- The size of the tattoo as well as where the tattoo is going to be placed on the body.
- The design of the tattoo – the more complex the design, the more it is going to cost. An original design drawn up by an artist is going to cost more than one chosen out of a book.
- A black and white colored tattoo is going to cost more than one that has a lot of colors. Make sure that you choose your colors wisely.
- Cost of living is a huge factor as well. A shop in New York City is going to cost more than a shop in the middle of Idaho.
- Time – How large is this tattoo going to be? Most artists are going to either charge by the job or by the hour. So obviously, the longer the artist will have to work, the more they will have to charge.
What are the extra costs?
- If the artist has to draw up a design for you, this can be an additional cost depending on how complex the design is. Most shops will have many books with designs from which you can choose. There are also many tattoo guides online that have 1000s of designs.
- For a complex design that is on a part of the body that is difficult to reach, the cost can be anywhere from 10% to 30% more. For example, a tattoo under the arm is going to cost more than getting a tattoo on the upper arm.
- A touch up may be required in the future if the tattoo begins to fade away. Plan on budgeting at least $50. Remember, most shops are going to have a minimum, and this fee is usually around the $50 mark.
- While not necessary, it is nice to tip your artist on top of the overall fee. A tip can range from 5 to 15% of the total bill.
What is going to be included?
- Before the tattoo is applied, the artist will help you pick out designs or even help alter one to your satisfaction. Upon agreement, the artist will be able to work out a stencil or draw it out by hand. Using a needle, the artist will carefully apply all the necessary colors on the body part of your choice. This process can take more than several hours to complete depending on the size.
Tips to know:
- Ask friends and family if you’re looking for a first-time tattoo artist. When you do find one through a referral, be sure to ask that particular artist about their experience.
- Check out recent portfolios to see what kind of work the artist has done in the past. This should give you a rather good idea if you like his/her work or not.
- Try to call up to set an appointment ahead of time. What you may find is that an artist in demand may not have an opening until down the road.
How can I save money?
- Find a design on your own, so that the artist doesn’t have to draw one up. There are many various resources online that lists thousands of designs. There are also books that contain over 1,000 designs.
- Don’t be cheap with your tattoo as you may get what you pay for. Be sure to ask around to see who has a good reputation. It is best to look at previous work done by the artist before having it done.