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Tattoo business pricing: Strategies for success in the inked world


The tattoo industry has undergone a remarkable transformation in recent years. What was once considered a symbol of rebellion has evolved into a vibrant and mainstream form of self-expression and artistry. As a result, tattoo businesses are thriving, with an ever-expanding client base seeking unique and meaningful tattoos.

In this dynamic landscape, setting the right pricing strategy for your tattoo business is paramount. It's not just about charging what you think your work is worth; it's about finding the perfect balance between profitability and client satisfaction. In this blog post, we will tackle common strategies that can help you succeed in the tattoo world through effective pricing for tattoo businesses.

What are the common expenses of the tattoo business?

  • Lease or rent: Leasing or renting a studio space is often one of the most significant fixed expenses for tattoo artists. Location, size, and the local real estate market can all influence rental costs.
  • Tattoo supplies: This includes the cost of tattoo machines, needles, inks, disposable gloves, ink cups, paper towels, and other essential equipment. Tattoo supplies should be high quality to ensure client safety and quality work.
  • Furniture and studio equipment: Expenses for furniture and equipment include tattoo chairs or beds, lighting, sterilisation equipment (autoclaves), chairs or waiting area furniture, and mirrors.
  • Utilities: Costs for electricity, water, gas, and internet are recurring expenses necessary to keep your studio operational.
  • Insurance: Tattoo artists typically require liability insurance to insure themselves and their clients in case of accidents or complications. The cost of insurance can differ based on coverage and location.
  • Licenses and permits: Getting the necessary business licenses and permits to operate legally is essential. These may include health department permits, business licenses, and more.
  • Marketing and advertising: Budget for marketing expenses such as website maintenance, social media advertising, business cards, flyers, and other promotional materials or strategies you employ to attract and retain clients.
  • Tattoo aftercare products: Purchase aftercare products like ointments, antibacterial soap, and bandages you provide to clients to aid healing.
  • Cleaning and sterilisation supplies: Regularly restock cleaning supplies, disinfectants, and pouches to maintain a clean and safe working environment.
  • Legal and accounting services: You probably need to hire an accountant or attorney for tax preparation, business legalities, and financial management.
  • Tattoo artist licensing and certification: Fees associated with obtaining and renewing your tattoo artist license or certification may be required in some areas.
  • Office supplies: Expenses include paper, ink cartridges, pens, and administrative tools.
  • Miscellaneous expenses: Miscellaneous costs include unforeseen expenses, such as emergency repairs or unexpected bills.


tattoo shop signage


Factors contributing to the tattoo studio's profitability

  • Tattoo artists' skills and experience: Highly skilled and experienced tattoo artists can attract more clients willing to pay for quality work. Their ability to create intricate and unique designs can command premium prices.
  • Reputation and branding: Building a strong reputation for the studio and its artists can lead to a loyal customer base, repeat business, and positive word-of-mouth referrals, contributing to profitability.
  • Pricing strategy: Implementing a competitive but profitable pricing strategy is essential. Consider factors such as the complexity of the tattoo, size, artist's experience, and local market rates.
  • Location: The studio's location plays a significant role. A central, easily accessible, and visible location can attract more walk-in clients and contribute to profitability.
  • Tattoo portfolio: A diverse and impressive portfolio showcasing the artists' previous work can attract potential clients and justify higher service pricing.
  • Marketing and promotion: Effective marketing through online platforms, social media, and local advertising can expand the studio's reach, attracting new clients and increasing bookings.
  • Customer service: Providing excellent customer service, maintaining a welcoming and comfortable environment, and addressing client needs and concerns can encourage repeat business and referrals.
  • Cleanliness and hygiene: Maintaining a clean and sterile environment is crucial for client safety, trust in repeat customers, and positive reviews.
  • Equipment and supplies: Investing in high-quality tattoo equipment and supplies can improve the quality of the tattoos and enhance customer satisfaction.
  • Inventory management: Efficiently managing inventory, including tattoo inks, needles, and other supplies, can help control costs and reduce wastage.

Tips to craft the best tattoo pricing strategy

Understand your costs

One of the steps in creating an effective pricing strategy is understanding your costs thoroughly. This includes everything from rent and utilities to tattoo supplies and insurance. By listing your fixed and variable costs, you can calculate a baseline price to cover your expenses while generating a profit.

Research the market

Analysing your local market is essential to determine your competitors' charges for similar services. Investigate other tattoo studios in your area and take note of their pricing structure. This research will help you position your business competitively within the market.

Differentiate your services

Every tattoo artist has a unique tattoo style and skill set. You can show what sets you apart from the competition, whether it's your artistic flair, extensive experience, or specialisation in certain tattoo styles. By emphasising your strengths, you can justify premium pricing and attract clients who appreciate your expertise.

Consider your target audience

Understand your ideal customer demographics and their preferences. Consider factors like age, income level, and tattoo style preferences. You can tailor your pricing strategy to align with your target audience's willingness to pay. For instance, younger clients might have different budget constraints than older, more affluent customers.

Implement tiered pricing

Offering tiered pricing based on the complexity, size, and detail of tattoos allows you to cater to a broad range of customers and budgets. Create different pricing levels to accommodate simple and intricate designs, ensuring your services remain accessible to a broader clientele.

Bundle services

Create package deals that bundle various services together. For example, you can offer consultations, aftercare products, and touch-up sessions as part of the initial tattoo package. This encourages clients to spend more and provides added value, making your studio more attractive.

Time-based pricing

Decide whether you charge hourly or use a flat rate for specific designs. Hourly rates can be advantageous if you're an experienced artist who works quickly. On the other hand, flat rates simplify the tattoo pricing process and make it easier for clients to understand.

Seasonal promotions

Consider offering discounts or promotions during holiday seasons or other low-traffic times to combat slower periods. This can help attract more customers and fill your schedule during off-peak periods.

Loyalty programs

Implement a loyalty program to give repeat clients discounts or exclusive perks. This fosters client loyalty and encourages them to return for additional tattoos and refer others to your studio.

Value-added services

Offer value-added services like free consultations, personalised design customisation, or aftercare advice. These extras can set your studio apart and create a positive customer experience.

Pricing transparency

Be transparent about your pricing. Provide clear and concise pricing information on your website and during consultations. Avoid hidden fees or surprises, as transparency builds trust and enhances the overall customer experience.

Monitor and adjust

Regularly review your pricing strategy and financial performance. Be open to making adjustments based on market changes and customer feedback. Adaptability and flexibility are crucial to staying competitive.

Test and Iterate

Don't hesitate to experiment with different pricing strategies to find the most effective approach for your tattoo business. Consider A/B testing or trying out new pricing models to refine your strategy over time.


tattoo artist taking notes


Strategies to maximise the profitability of your tattoo business

Pricing strategy

Proper pricing is crucial to profitability. Research your local market and competitor pricing to ensure you're competitive while also considering your skills and experience. Charge rates that cover your overhead expenses and leave room for profit. Consider tiered pricing based on tattoo size and complexity to cater to various client needs.

Efficient scheduling

Optimise your appointment scheduling to maximise your working hours. Minimise downtime between clients and ensure a steady flow of appointments throughout the day. Utilise an online booking system to make scheduling convenient for clients while helping you manage your time effectively.

Upselling and add-ons

Increase your revenue by offering additional services or add-ons. Suggest aftercare products, touch-up sessions, or customised design alterations for an extra fee. Educate clients about these options during consultations, highlighting the value they add to their tattoo experience.

Retail sales

Expand your income by selling related products in your shop, such as tattoo aftercare items, branded merchandise, or artwork. Ensure your retail offerings are attractively displayed and promoted to clients as they visit your shop.

Effective marketing

Invest in marketing strategies that provide a solid return on investment (ROI). Targeted online advertising, local promotions, and social media engagement can help attract new clients and keep existing ones engaged. Showcase your tattoo work and build your brand on social media platforms.

Customer loyalty programs

You can implement a loyalty program to reward repeat clients. Offer discounts, exclusive offers, or incentives to clients who return for more tattoos. Encourage satisfied clients to refer family and friends to your shop, expanding your client base.

Cost control

Keep a close eye on your expenses and find ways to reduce overhead costs without compromising quality. Negotiate favourable terms with tattoo equipment and materials suppliers to maximise your profit margins.

Skill enhancement and continuous learning

Stay updated with the latest tattooing techniques and trends by attending workshops, seminars, or industry events. Enhancing your skills can attract clients looking for unique and specialised tattoo styles, potentially commanding higher rates for your work.

Effective time management

Optimise your work process to increase the number of tattoos you can complete daily without sacrificing quality. Minimise time spent on administrative tasks by automating appointment bookings, record-keeping, and other routine tasks.

Streamlined operations

Evaluate your shop's operations to eliminate inefficiencies. Consider investing in technology or software to assist with appointment management, inventory control, and customer relationship management, making your shop run more smoothly.

Diversification of income streams

Explore additional sources of revenue, such as teaching tattoo classes, selling your artwork, or collaborating with other artists and businesses. Diversifying your income streams can provide stability and increase overall profitability.

Financial planning and budgeting

Develop a comprehensive financial plan and budget to monitor your income and expenses closely. Setting aside funds for taxes and unexpected expenses helps prevent financial strain and ensures profitability in the long run.

Regularly assess and adjust

Continuously evaluate the performance of your strategies and make adjustments as needed. Stay adaptable and open to new approaches to improve profitability while maintaining a positive reputation within the tattoo industry.


tattoo inks


So, how do you set tattoo prices now?

These tattoo business pricing strategies are tools to help strike that delicate balance between profitability and client satisfaction. Yet, at its core, the art of tattoo business pricing reflects your dedication to quality, a commitment to your clients, and an unwavering passion for the craft. It's not just about numbers; it's about creating art that tells a story and fosters trust. Embrace these strategies and infuse them with authenticity. You can chart a course for success in the inked world, where creativity and business savvy unite to paint a vibrant canvas of achievement.

For a more in-depth guide on setting fair prices for your tattoo studio, we invite you to explore our article "How to set fair and profitable prices for your tattoo studio". Delve deeper into the pricing strategies that can help you strike the best balance between profitability and client satisfaction. Your journey to mastering the art of pricing in the tattoo business starts here!


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  • Mark Joshua Luz