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Why Are Tattoos so Expensive?


Why Are Tattoos So Expensive?

“Why are tattoos so expensive?” is a commonly asked question within the tattoo industry, and here at Magnum Tattoo Supplies, we are going to break down 5 reasons why your tattoo is worth big bucks and answers to your top tattoo cost questions.

Top 5 Reasons Tattoos Are Expensive

Reason #1: Cost of equipment, supplies, rent, and employee costs

It costs a lot of money to run a tattoo shop. Tattoo studios, unlike large enterprises, are rarely part of a chain; instead, they are owned and run by the artists themselves. A portion of your tattoo price is used to cover rental costs. Another reason your tattoo could be costly is that: A good studio in a desirable neighbourhood will set you back significantly more than a location in the middle of nowhere.

A tattoo studio's upkeep also includes significant expenses such as equipment, furnishings, materials, and personnel salary for a shop manager or administrative assistant. Almost all of an artist's supplies are one-time use, which means that paper towels, plastic wrap rolls, needles, machines, ink cups, and other items are reordered in huge quantities and frequently.

Reason #2: Hidden costs such as tattoo license, insurance, and waste removal

Many countries have enacted plenty of rules and regulations that tattoo studios must follow. Some communities require tattoo artists to have tattoo licences since they undertake such sensitive work. A test for hygiene and cleanliness, as well as a fee, are frequently required. In order to function, studios may be required to register and have a particular level of health insurance. These expenses could be one-time or recurring.

Tattoo shops must also dispose of their waste. Used tattoo needles are a health hazard, so specialised services provide medical waste removal, which is essential for shop clean-up. 

Reason #3: You’re also paying for design time, not just sitting time

A large part of the reason for the high cost of your tattoo is that the artist will spend a significant amount of time not only tattooing but also designing your artwork. This is especially true if the tattoo is one-of-a-kind. This is one of the reasons why custom work is usually more expensive than flash work. Even if your artist creates your skin freehand, the details they'll use, the themes you'd like, and even location are likely to have been carefully considered.

You’re not getting charged just for the time it takes you to be tattooed, you’re also paying for all the behind the scenes work that goes into creating your perfect piece!


Reason #4: Size, placement, and details

The greater the size of the object, the higher the price. But there's also the issue of positioning. Consider this: a nice flat spot, such as the front of your thigh or your sternum, is much easier to tattoo than your ribs or neck. Areas that are more difficult to tattoo cost more, partly because they take longer to complete than a simple spot. If you want multiple colours of ink instead of just black, the pricing may change. More inks implies more supply expenses and more time the artist needs to commit in producing your tattoo!

There are also price variances depending on the amount of detailed work in a tattoo, which is why, for example, a Hyperrealism artist will charge more than a Minimalism artist. Realism tattoos take a long time to complete and are usually incredibly detailed and precise. When it comes to pricing your tattoo, the amount of time, detail, and technical difficulties all play a role.

Reason #5: Years of dedication and expertise

Before becoming a full-fledged tattoo artist, many tattoo artists work as apprentices for a long time. This could last a year, but it could also last up to five years, depending on the person and their mentor. Often, the apprentice is not paid during their training; most of the time, they are actually working for the shop in exchange for being taught to tattoo.

Until they're ready, skill-wise, to charge clients in full, apprentices will frequently give out free tattoos or merely charge a supply fee. As a tattoo artist advances, they may raise their prices for a variety of reasons, but a high price usually equates to a high level of ability and technique.

Most artists will have been tattooing for years, even a decade, before they charge a very high price. But if you're in awe of their artwork, they're definitely worth the price.

Building a solid reputation and high-quality talents to support a high price tag takes time for an artist, but it's something worth investing in as a client. If you're questioning, "Is it worth it?" it's likely that you don't respect or comprehend the skill required to be a great tattoo artist. All the time that artists invested in their education is being paid back to you through incredible art that wouldn’t exist if it wasn’t for their years of dedication to the craft.

So, why is your tattoo so expensive? Hopefully, our top five points clarified a few things. Clients are rarely given access to the inner workings of an artist, but this has a lot to do with price. Perhaps you've gained a new understanding for the skill required to be a tattoo artist.

Top Tattoo Cost Questions

How much should tattoos cost?

The cost of a tattoo is determined by the artist and studio, as well as the tattoo you choose. The more complex or large a design is, the more money it will cost. The length of time it takes, the difficulty of the design and talent required, and even the shop's location will all influence the price of your tattoo.

Are tattoos worth the money?

Yes, tattoos are a great investment. Getting amazing tattoos from highly trained tattoo artists isn't only like being a walking art gallery; it also boosts self-esteem and confidence, connects you to a global community, and is one of the most effective methods to express yourself! It also lasts indefinitely. What else can you buy with your money that can do all of those things?

Is it rude to ask tattoo price?

It is not rude to ask for a tattoo’s price. It's natural to inquire about tattoo prices and discuss your budget during a session with a tattoo artist about a new tattoo. Before getting a tattoo, most tattoo artists will give you an estimate and then a final pricing once the tattoo is completed. This is because they never know exactly what it will be like working with your skin or the amount of time it will take.


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  • Caitlin Moore