So, you want to get a tattoo. You’ve done tons of research and homework, following the fantastic advice from articles found on a certain blog, perhaps. You’ve investigated word of mouth reputations and personally viewed examples of the tattoos you like…you’ve got this all under control. All your bases are covered, and every detail is attended to. Now you have to figure out the cost of the work.
Welcome to the turbulent waters of uncertainty, swimmers! The 5 here, bringing you a sort of emergency blog, as it seems a topic has sprung from the daily goings-on, and it sure could use some airing out. Today, we discuss the subject of a tattoo price quote. This is a really tricky topic. It could easily seem, to the outsider, that it would be as simple as telling the customer their tattoo will cost “X” amount…well, not so fast, Roger Ramjet. Think about those big elaborate pieces everyone seems to want to invest in these days.
We’ve done the thing about paying for the quality you receive, and even the thing about larger tattoos being primarily rated by the hour. It’s definitely not anathema to ask an artist what their hourly rate is…in fact, we’d like you to know that so you can help us decide how much to do for you at every session.
The rub, folks, is this new sort of personality quirk that seems to be bubbling to the surface of our beautiful tattoo scene, lately. Many times, recently, we have been confronted with the impossible. The client that vehemently insists on an exact dollar figure quote for their enormous, involved, multi-session, high-hour tattoo. To say that there are too many variables for an artist to be able to exactly estimate the total cost involved, or number of sessions for that matter, is an understatement. Which, in itself, is an understatement.
Hopefully, this will help those who read this, or those who know folks who have it in their heads to demand exact quotes on large tattoos. One reason we avoid flat-rate quotes on multi-session tattoos is so you, the client, do not pay above and beyond the cost of the time involved…not counting tip, naturally. If we quoted you a 12 hour tattoo at $150 per hour, that’d be $1800 flat. Now let’s say that tattoo only took 10 of those 12 hours. You demanded a quote, and a quote was given. $1800, please. Had you relaxed and listened to your artist about only paying for the time you use, you might not have locked yourself out of saving $300 on it. A quote is our word, and your agreement is yours. See how that can backfire?
Now reverse it…Let’s say that12 hour tattoo takes us 14 hours. Should you, as a client be expected to pay above and beyond the 12 hours quoted for the work? Absolutely not. The quote can just as easily shoot your artist in the foot as it can you…just throwing it out there. That’s saying nothing about the impracticality of attempting to guess at the nature and outcome of every variable in your tattoo, your skin, your general health, etcetera…
I suppose the thrust of this article would be a simple one. Unless your tattoo is small and can be completed in a few hours or less, try something for us. Do yourself, your artists and everyone’s stress levels a HUGE favor and plan your work by the hour. You can easily budget your sessions by your comfort level in spending per session, which (if you have asked a simple question) will tell you, in hours, how long your session(s) will be. If you are really so desperate to know exactly how many dollars, or hours, or sessions your tattoo is going to take to complete, do everyone involved a big solid and do the math when it’s all done.
And now, back to your regularly scheduled heat-wave.