Jump to content
Micky Vansittart

Money is a vulgar topic, but...

Recommended Posts

I've been in a situation where I was told beforehand that a shop takes debit cards, and then after the guest artist finished that day's session, he asked if I could pay in cash for xyz reason.

I had to run across the street to the atm, which only allowed me to withdraw a fraction of the total. He graciously accepted what I had with the rest debited.

Although I usually just carry cash for the tip, this is certainly something to keep in mind.

When traveling abroad it is also nice when the shop accepts debit/credit, as you don't have to mess with exchanging for the local currency. Not to mention crossing borders covered in tattoos carrying a fat wad of cash.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Always pay in cash and never had any qualms carrying cash with me. I agree something symbolic about paying cash for tattoos, it feels right. Personally, wouldn't feel right paying with a card. My tattooist only mentioned price once and that was with the Giger portrait, he asked if had a budget, told him tattoo fund was at max and he laughed and said no budget then. He knows how much I have in my max tattoo fund that have with me (subject came up when first started seeing him regularly last year). Though never have reached anywhere near that. I have a plastic envelope which I decorated that I put money in for tattoos and, top it up when get paid. It is just for tattoos, that way I know what I have. The remainder from each session stays in it, so just need to top up. Yes am that fucking organised. I find it makes things easier when getting regularly tattooed.

I decorated another plastic envelope (differently of course), to keep money for hotel stays in. Because I travel to see mine, 50 miles and public transport is shite after a certain hour, I stay first night in a hotel. So the money for the hotel stay goes into my hotel envelope. Even if not getting tattooed hotel money, goes into hotel envelope. My OCD likes to be organised.

We don't tip over here, but I am a crafter and have plans on making him something, just to say thank you. Even though I gush that I fucking love him after every tattoo, but you know what I mean (I hope!)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Most shops will tell you their hour hourly rate up front, so much the 1st hour and a bit less after is the norm by me. I always have a general idea of what it will cost me, but I end up bringing a cushion in case we run an extra hour or so.

I've been with the same shop for a long time, I've been using a new artist this year who did some nice work on my son. I find it best to get in with an artist that is easy to work with and you wind up with a good deal in the end.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Never been an issue. Typically asked for a ballpark amount just so I can make sure I bring enough cash being that most places don't like credit cards. Both of my big pieces came in under budget. Personally I avoid walk in shops due to fact I think they are less personally and in my opinion cater to exactly that the spontaneous crowd vs the collector crowd. I have found that getting appointments is the way to go and allows a relationship to be built. I think it's actually cheaper in the long run going by the hour.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I would say it depends on the tattooist and the tattooed.

We never had an issue. I've always felt I was treated more than fair.

Doing our first wedding tattoos with Dan, I think we asked just to get a clue.

There was nothing weird asking. It is a matter of comfort.

If you don't feel comfortable asking, you should probably leave.

Getting the 25th anniversary tattoos, I didn't ask at all. I assumed it was going to be pricey.

It was less than I thought, and it was less than the time spent by the hour.

We were there 7 to 8 hours total and got charged for 4.

Though as Freddy said "he had fun". I want to go back to just hang out.

We were honored he took the job and I think he was honored to keep the continuity.

Back to this: It depends on the tattooist and the tattooed.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

With my first tattoo it was with an artist that wasnt in my area, so everything was done through emails. He was very straight forward, said he charged $150 per hour, expected it would take about 4 hours for the initial sitting. He warned me though that if I was the sort who needed a lot of breaks or anything, then that would obviously take longer and cost more. It ended up being the exact time that he quoted, so it was the exact price he quoted.

With my second/third tattoos, the artist was in my town and wasnt as precise, and she basically said "it wont be more than 5 hours" and said she charged $150 for the first hour and $100 for the subsequent hours. So I brought enough for 5 hours and ended up paying less.

I wouldnt go to an artist who didnt at least give me a maximum. And if they tried to go above that on the day I just wouldnt go through with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Fifth tattoo, fifth variation of this conversation.

This time, we sorted out all of the sketch details, then the front guy told me how much it was going to be and asked if I was paying cash or card.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

For me, different experiences at each shop, and also this has been spread out over about 15 years. The older ones were pretty straightforward and I wasn't particularly worried about the cost, and I honestly can't remember if I tipped or not! I didn't know any better back then, that's for sure. I didn't even know that I ought to research artists before scheduling.

More recently my artist liked to handle everything by email initially, with a plan about what I wanted, size, etc., with me sending him pics of the body part I wanted tattooed, and a lot of back and forth in an email consultation. I scheduled an appointment in person, and he had the sketch ready, and I went for it. We had already worked out the cost by email ahead of time - he seemed very interested in settling that ahead of time. He's been at it about 20 years.

My upcoming work will be done by an artist that does not want to do anything over email but wants to meet you and have a consult in person to discuss what you want, and she gave me a rough idea of how long it will take, plus how much per hour she charges, so I can have a rough idea. We then went to her calendar and I couldn't get on the schedule for 3 months. I was a little surprised at that kind of delay but I don't know what is going on in her life, since she travels and she may be away for the summer. I don't mind - I really want HER to do this tattoo, and compared to having this on my skin the rest of my life, 3 months is nothing.

I also tried to get some work done by another artist I admire but she won't do any work that she herself doesn't like and wouldn't enjoy seeing in her personal portfolio, so she refused to tattoo me. She considers her clients to be her own canvas, like if she went down to the craft store and purchased it, and hung it on her own wall, so she has to like the tattoo she's doing.

I find it interesting how different artists have wildly different approaches to how they deal with their clients. Artists are entitled to this, and it is the nature of the gift!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

New tattoo, new experience. Six for six, everybody has had his own approach to the money issue.

I included a ballpark budget in my initial contact, and sure enough, that's about how much it is going to be. I think I'm just getting to be a more experienced client. I do not think the artist took my number and ran with it.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am in the middle of doing research on my first tattoo, and the lack of cost information was maddening. An artist could have quoted me anything from $20/hour to $1000/hour and it would have sounded completely reasonable because I had no frame of reference.

While I understand the many many reasons for not discussing the cost of tattoos, the lack of transparency is very frustrating from a customer standpoint.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^ It's hard to give anyone a ballpark estimate because it all depends on your artist's level of experience, location, how you sit, if they've done work on you before, etc. Generally, anything above $100/hr is probably to be expected for a decent artist. Again, depending on where you're looking and what your definition of "decent" is. And generally anything less than $50/hr means walk out of that shop as fast as you can. There's some artists in NYC that charge $500/hr, it's impossible to tell anyone what the "normal" amount is. But a lot of artists also charge more by the piece (how well it suits their style, how excited they are to do it, etc) so that makes it even more difficult to give someone an estimate. I just recently got tattooed by Chad Koeplinger and we settled the pricing by him asking what I'd be willing to spend, and my answer was what he charged me since we both agreed that was reasonable. There's so many different methods of pricing tattoos it's really impossible to say to anyone "A tattoo should cost between this much and that much" which is probably why it's frowned upon to give out numbers. I just always brace myself for the worst when it's time to pay. :) But I've never felt taken advantage of when it comes to what I paid, and I actually think most of the time I was undercharged, so I compensate by tipping well.

In short, they ain't cheap.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I always ask for a ball park figure and then take the maximum amount mentioned (plus a little more just in case). I have usually ended up paying the top end however I've been pleasantly surprised more. When I price my own tattoos I do it by size. Pricing art is really very hard but at the stage in at I find it evens out. I usually end up doing my own designs a bit cheaper as I'm happy to do them and I can put them in my portfolio. I will however change the price if a client moves the goalposts, as I think this is only fair. (ie.I'll drop the price if the design is simplified)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have all but booked 2 tattoos in Melbourne next January (maddeningly excited, screw Christmas, I have two 'tattoosdays' to look forward to)

I am from England so had no idea about Aus rates, much less the specific artists I hope to book with. As it happens, one of them sent me their pricing structure when my 'application' was potentially accepted and the other was fine with telling me when I asked... I needed to know as spending two days being poked is always an expensive prospect and that is after spending thousands getting there.

Incidentally, the artists I have spoken with in Melbourne and Sydney all seem to have the same rates. Perhaps this is a guild thing?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My artist hasn't charged me an hourly rate, just a flat rate for each tattoo, and that's what he's doing for my third as well. I asked how much he thought it might run because I need to save up the money and how could I do that without an estimate of price? But if I look at each tattoo and what I paid (I have 2 tattoos), it comes out to about $100/hr which isn't bad at all! I've tipped him nicely both times (I'm in NY), and this time around I might bring him a little gift just because I really like him and his work. He did give me a ballpark number for the tattoo -- he said $200 to $300 at the most, and I trust that will be right.

Edited by lildropofsunshine

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Funny rereading this thread. I figure there are alot of artist asking each other the same question. 'how much should i charge?'. 

One of the best feelings is when a artist is very enthustiastic about your idea. You can feel the magic. And it seems they charge you less 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.





×
×
  • Create New...