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Shannon Shirley

haggling 101A

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I just don't get it.Is it because of TV or Magazines? What happened? By no means Am I a great Tattooer ,Maybe they smell self loathing? But, Often ,when I give a good price, they start haggling, and then I become ''that guy''.I go ahead and do it too.what a f#ckin idiot, I must be.I do it knowing they will go up the street and get it somewhere else anyways. I feel like, because Im told that the other tattooers in this little place,respect me, that I'm OK.But damn, Why do alot of these nasty people act like we're supposed to give it away?

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If I had to point a finger, I'd blame over saturation of the market. People see a shop on every corner (like gas stations or drugstores), they expect "competitive pricing"

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i feel ya. we have 8 other shops (!?!) within about a 5 block radius, so we deal with a ridiculous amount of "price shopping." it used to be hard for me to turn that work away, but over time it has become apparent that some people simply do not give a fuck about the quality of the tattoo and just want a bargain. a few learn the lesson, but many never do.

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I blame the availability of poor equipment.Anyone who has ever been told they drew a good picture picking up machines and setting up shop in their homes.

The shop I work at is in the ghetto and there's a lot of "my dude do it for fifty'' Most of the time we tell them to beat it, except around the holidays when its dead. Ha.

No we tell them to beat then too.

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What I have done in some instance is explain that the shop take this much we take what is left, we pay for such and such. So we end up making a little more then your friend in the house but offer a better quality tattoo and piece of mind through sterility. Believe it or not sometimes it works.

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Like it or not, most people want to be 'vended' to. You know, like buying nabs out of a machine? To them there is no difference in the Snickers bar comingout of machine A and the one coming out of machine B. (To them) the only differentiator IS the price!

As businesspeople and 'salesmen' it is a tattoists responsibilty to offer differentiation in ART! Only then will price NOT be the focus.

I know lots of guys that get vended tattoos on price and their work looks like shit. However, as the thought leaders (i.e. the ones that know better) the artists should shoulder some of the responsibility in helping these types of clients 'see the difference' in something other than the price.

Work up some case studies, put them in your book, and I guarantee people will do a lot less haggling.

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There is no fresh I advice because it's not a fresh problem. Any time in story that two people have been offering the same service in the same area, this has come up. I'm not a tattooer but I've had the same problems being a visual artist. Other people (and it's always people who claim to respect you love your work) copy your style or technique and do it poorly, then sell it for a quarter of the price. In the end the idiots who buy the poor quality work, if it's a tattoo or a carpet, will regret it. There is always a reason why one thing is more expensive then the other, often this reflects the quality or authenticity of the item. Not always, but often.

I find it to be a little funny that you, Shannon, would post this though. I'm saying this because I recall you sending me an unsolicited private message one day with hints on how I could sell more artwork. Your idea was to sell my artwork for $25. Sorry dude but this sounds exactly like the person who wants a sleeve for $50.

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Im sorry, confused about what you meant?

What I have done in some instance is explain that the shop take this much we take what is left, we pay for such and such. So we end up making a little more then your friend in the house but offer a better quality tattoo and piece of mind through sterility. Believe it or not sometimes it works.

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I apologize if you felt I had sold you short Ursula....I thought your craft was very nice and was trying to be incouraging.My sister makes her living selling her handmade clothing,very nice stuff, she never charges enough.

There is no fresh I advice because it's not a fresh problem. Any time in story that two people have been offering the same service in the same area, this has come up. I'm not a tattooer but I've had the same problems being a visual artist. Other people (and it's always people who claim to respect you love your work) copy your style or technique and do it poorly, then sell it for a quarter of the price. In the end the idiots who buy the poor quality work, if it's a tattoo or a carpet, will regret it. There is always a reason why one thing is more expensive then the other, often this reflects the quality or authenticity of the item. Not always, but often.

I find it to be a little funny that you, Shannon, would post this though. I'm saying this because I recall you sending me an unsolicited private message one day with hints on how I could sell more artwork. Your idea was to sell my artwork for $25. Sorry dude but this sounds exactly like the person who wants a sleeve for $50.

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He means telling customers how getting paid as a tattooer normally works. That you don't get all the money, the shop and buying your supplies takes most of it.

In reply to post #10

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Work up some case studies, put them in your book, and I guarantee people will do a lot less haggling.

I'm not a tattoo artist, but I do have a strong marketing background and you have to not only know who your market is, but who your market isn't. It is people who want a quality tattoo and it's not people who only care about price. You'll never really get that market because there is always someone who will do it cheaper. I think hgiles has a great idea. Why not put together a portfolio of really bad tattoo and mediocre tattoos and then when people try to haggle show them the portfolio and say something like, "This is what you can get for the price you are trying to pay. If you want quality work, this is what I charge." You'll lose some, but you'll keep others. I would also talk about the time, pain and expense of cover-ups.

Good luck. It's too bad people don't appreciate art. I looked for over a year for my artist when I finally decided to get a tattoo and I never asked about price.

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I was hoping for fresh advice,,....honestly. I would rather this didn't turn to a bitchfest.......no offense. I wish ''that other guy'' knew he was only screwing him/herself.

Shannon I would hold firm if you give a good quote stick with it and let the customer know that like in life cheaper isnt always better

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I mean just break down why we charge what we charge. It ends up being more then what they say their friend in the house can do it for but for good reason. I was jreffering to what I mentioned earlier about people saying their dude tattoos in his house and will do it for this much.

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10-4

I mean just break down why we charge what we charge. It ends up being more then what they say their friend in the house can do it for but for good reason. I was jreffering to what I mentioned earlier about people saying their dude tattoos in his house and will do it for this much.

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I feel like it worse than ever,that's all. I think I'll approach WalMart, maybe they'll let me set up next to the hair salon.

Reminds me of Costco in the movie, Idiocracy... which reminds me of this scene...

As for the prices, my boss always tells price shoppers to come back and show him the tattoo they get for the cheaper price elsewhere. They never come back.

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I just read all this. It's a wind up, isn't it? How to price a tattoo and deal with customers is stuff you learn before you even learn how to make a stencil.

However if this is serious, decide what the work is worth to you and if the other person doesn't think it's worth the same, that's ok, don't take it personal, maybe they're naive, maybe they're ignorant, or maybe they just can't afford it. If thgere is a sign on the door saying open for business, people are entitled to come in and try to do business.

Having a sign prominentley displayed stating the shop minimum and some examples of what you can expect for that minimum is a big help, for the customer and for the person who is selling the tattoos.

I don't want to insult ya by going any farther on this because I know you have been around a while.

Also, I'm not on here to tell anyone how to run a tattoo shop so they can open one up.

Most of the talk on here is art criticism, or how to heal up tattoos, what's in, what's out, who's cool, etc...and some of it is very interesting stuff, seriously.

I will say that a lot of the more artistic people are in the ha'penny place compared to the scratchers when it comes to hustle and street smarts.

If one man's niche is doin $20 tattoos ina basement and anothers is doing $200 an hour bodysuits, thats fine by me. It means there's a tattoo out there for everybody, and everyone can have a tattoo if they want one.

And before anyone forgets........Mike Roper tattooed in his bedroom for years, Filip Leu tattooed on the beach, Paulo Sulu'ape tattooed in a hut, Freddie Corbin tattooed in his apartment. And many of the tattooers the people on here look up to started out in their kitchens. And many of them tattooed cheap, or for free. Yea, freee, swallow that one whole.

For many of them, their first introduction to tattooing was getting tattooed by friends in their basements.

So, before we go demonising the "scratchers", getting tattooed on the cheap in a basement, kitchen or garage is just as valid as getting tattooed in a longhouse in Borneo. It probably costs about the same, has similar sterilisation, and the lines are probably equally shakey. Not to mention the spiritual/cultural/rite of passage significance of a ghetto kid getting a ghetto tattoo in a ghetto tattoo shop. At a ghetto price.

None of this is intended as a defence for idiots doing shit tattoos cheap or for arteests doing average tattoos at extortionate prices. It's just me saying that much as I can hustle, tattooing isn't a business for me, it's a practice and if I can pay my bills living this way, then that's a privilege and an honour. And a blessing. I'm grateful that I have a bit of talent and a bit of hustle. I take pride in my profession and I don't sell it short, especially not for money. I hate to not tattoo someone, but sometimes the tattoo they want isn't the tattoo they can afford, and I don't mean only in monetary terms, sometimes the persons ego is a bit big and they think they deserve more than the are entitled to. The same goes for the tattooers.

Anyway, I'm sick of typing, it's not my thing.

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I work in a small community that is kept fed by a huge military base. Including the shop I work at there are 10 tattoo shops to service the area, 3 of which are reputable shops. The other seven have crappy artists and cheap prices. I'm sorry but I am not going to drop my prices to compete with licensed scratchers, the guys at the other reputable shops all agreed as well. So what happens is we try to send each other business whenever we are overflowing and they do the same. We all focus on doing every tattoo to the best of our ability so that the quality of our work on our worst days still kills the other shops. Whenever we do have someone saying that Joe Blow down the road will do it for cheaper, we refer them to our local wall of shame, it is a cork board that shows pics of tattoos that we have either had to cover or rework, a before and after. It helps to educate the public on what their "good deal" might look like.

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I just read all this. It's a wind up, isn't it? How to price a tattoo and deal with customers is stuff you learn before you even learn how to make a stencil.

However if this is serious, decide what the work is worth to you and if the other person doesn't think it's worth the same, that's ok, don't take it personal, maybe they're naive, maybe they're ignorant, or maybe they just can't afford it. If thgere is a sign on the door saying open for business, people are entitled to come in and try to do business.

Having a sign prominentley displayed stating the shop minimum and some examples of what you can expect for that minimum is a big help, for the customer and for the person who is selling the tattoos.

I don't want to insult ya by going any farther on this because I know you have been around a while.

Also, I'm not on here to tell anyone how to run a tattoo shop so they can open one up.

Most of the talk on here is art criticism, or how to heal up tattoos, what's in, what's out, who's cool, etc...and some of it is very interesting stuff, seriously.

I will say that a lot of the more artistic people are in the ha'penny place compared to the scratchers when it comes to hustle and street smarts.

If one man's niche is doin $20 tattoos ina basement and anothers is doing $200 an hour bodysuits, thats fine by me. It means there's a tattoo out there for everybody, and everyone can have a tattoo if they want one.

And before anyone forgets........Mike Roper tattooed in his bedroom for years, Filip Leu tattooed on the beach, Paulo Sulu'ape tattooed in a hut, Freddie Corbin tattooed in his apartment. And many of the tattooers the people on here look up to started out in their kitchens. And many of them tattooed cheap, or for free. Yea, freee, swallow that one whole.

For many of them, their first introduction to tattooing was getting tattooed by friends in their basements.

So, before we go demonising the "scratchers", getting tattooed on the cheap in a basement, kitchen or garage is just as valid as getting tattooed in a longhouse in Borneo. It probably costs about the same, has similar sterilisation, and the lines are probably equally shakey. Not to mention the spiritual/cultural/rite of passage significance of a ghetto kid getting a ghetto tattoo in a ghetto tattoo shop. At a ghetto price.

None of this is intended as a defence for idiots doing shit tattoos cheap or for arteests doing average tattoos at extortionate prices. It's just me saying that much as I can hustle, tattooing isn't a business for me, it's a practice and if I can pay my bills living this way, then that's a privilege and an honour. And a blessing. I'm grateful that I have a bit of talent and a bit of hustle. I take pride in my profession and I don't sell it short, especially not for money. I hate to not tattoo someone, but sometimes the tattoo they want isn't the tattoo they can afford, and I don't mean only in monetary terms, sometimes the persons ego is a bit big and they think they deserve more than the are entitled to. The same goes for the tattooers.

Anyway, I'm sick of typing, it's not my thing.

Im with this guy. I work in the bronx where there is a 5-1, haggler-serious client ratio. I just dont mind the hagglers. they come in ask "how much for a sleeve?" I tell them my price, and I even tell them that im willing to work with a budget. they just say ok thank and leave. I believe that they are not serious anyways and I focus on those who come in and dont even ask about a price. you will notice there is a major difference in the conversation alone. hagglers just are not ready to get a tattoo. and if they talk you down and you tattoo them chances are you wont be into tattooing them and you will regret it and so will they. I dont ever try and explain my price. thier adults they should know that you get what you pay for. especially when every shop in the nyc area has that stupid "good tattoos aren't cheap, cheap tattoos aren't good" sign... i hate that thing.

edit: i forgot to mention that we are also located across the street from "tuff city" so its easy to be right in between really expensive and really cheap.

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Just yesterday someone came in asking about a cover-up on his neck. I quoted him 200, he stands there for a minute, and says 180, so I told him 250. But wait he says, you just said 200. I did and you said 180, I don't haggle.

While I have no problem working with someone to keep it inside their budget, I refuse to haggle with price shoppers. He did set up an appointment though, for 200.

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The only advice I would have for what it's worth is I price all the hand painted flash on the wall when it goes up so people have an idea of what a tattoo might cost when they look around and update old sheets with prices that fit the costs of today periodically. It certainly hasn't eliminated all the price shoppers, but for the most part the people who are serious about getting a fair tattoo at a fair price have a good idea beforehand what price range they are looking at. It also helps me to price custom tattoos, when a person walks in and wants something drawn for them I can reference similar images on the wall to give them an accurate estimate The people looking to get stuff for free or way below value aren't worth dealing with and the price is what the price is for them.

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I just read all this. It's a wind up, isn't it? How to price a tattoo and deal with customers is stuff you learn before you even learn how to make a stencil.

However if this is serious, decide what the work is worth to you and if the other person doesn't think it's worth the same, that's ok, don't take it personal, maybe they're naive, maybe they're ignorant, or maybe they just can't afford it. If thgere is a sign on the door saying open for business, people are entitled to come in and try to do business.

Having a sign prominentley displayed stating the shop minimum and some examples of what you can expect for that minimum is a big help, for the customer and for the person who is selling the tattoos.

I don't want to insult ya by going any farther on this because I know you have been around a while.

Also, I'm not on here to tell anyone how to run a tattoo shop so they can open one up.

Most of the talk on here is art criticism, or how to heal up tattoos, what's in, what's out, who's cool, etc...and some of it is very interesting stuff, seriously.

I will say that a lot of the more artistic people are in the ha'penny place compared to the scratchers when it comes to hustle and street smarts.

If one man's niche is doin $20 tattoos ina basement and anothers is doing $200 an hour bodysuits, thats fine by me. It means there's a tattoo out there for everybody, and everyone can have a tattoo if they want one.

And before anyone forgets........Mike Roper tattooed in his bedroom for years, Filip Leu tattooed on the beach, Paulo Sulu'ape tattooed in a hut, Freddie Corbin tattooed in his apartment. And many of the tattooers the people on here look up to started out in their kitchens. And many of them tattooed cheap, or for free. Yea, freee, swallow that one whole.

For many of them, their first introduction to tattooing was getting tattooed by friends in their basements.

So, before we go demonising the "scratchers", getting tattooed on the cheap in a basement, kitchen or garage is just as valid as getting tattooed in a longhouse in Borneo. It probably costs about the same, has similar sterilisation, and the lines are probably equally shakey. Not to mention the spiritual/cultural/rite of passage significance of a ghetto kid getting a ghetto tattoo in a ghetto tattoo shop. At a ghetto price.

None of this is intended as a defence for idiots doing shit tattoos cheap or for arteests doing average tattoos at extortionate prices. It's just me saying that much as I can hustle, tattooing isn't a business for me, it's a practice and if I can pay my bills living this way, then that's a privilege and an honour. And a blessing. I'm grateful that I have a bit of talent and a bit of hustle. I take pride in my profession and I don't sell it short, especially not for money. I hate to not tattoo someone, but sometimes the tattoo they want isn't the tattoo they can afford, and I don't mean only in monetary terms, sometimes the persons ego is a bit big and they think they deserve more than the are entitled to. The same goes for the tattooers.

Anyway, I'm sick of typing, it's not my thing.

Well said, I totally agree with the right of passage thing.

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