Jump to content

Overcharged for time - advice


Recommended Posts


I just got a new piece, and I love it. The artist is super talented and went above my expectations for the work.

His shop charges $200/hr which is premium for Toronto, but worth it due to his talent.

The issue I have is that I was in the shop for 3 hours. two of which was in the chair. the other hour was his smoke breaks, he actually did a quick consult with someone else and drawing time to re-work the piece.

He charged me for the full time, the full 3 hours. I thought etiquette would be to track the time and only charge for when the work was being done. I didn't question it at the time because of all the taboo around haggling price etc.. and I was happy with the end result but after the fact, it really bothers me. 

I also want to use him again, so I don't want to come across as a petty dick. But it is $200! 


Link to comment
Share on other sites

Sounds a little shady, but if you're happy with the end result and you've already paid him the money, I think you should probably let it go. Especially if you want to use him again. If anything that would be the time to bring it up: when planning the next one. If you can do it delicately then go for it, but I can't imagine how that conversation would go. Sorry you had that experience, but think of all the time he didn't charge you for: the drawing, putting on stencil, etc.

Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Link to comment
Share on other sites

there is nothing to do here

first - he probably charged you 'for the piece'

and - it is what it is right

moving forward

if you feel he is too pricey for you then move along

and collect from other artists

or make sure he knows your budget

I have had work done where the artist charges you first

for the piece

then they tattoo you - time is an irrelevant factor

so know and articulate your budget

and stop watching the clock

and enjoy getting tattooed

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I wouldn't mention it. My artist did a consultation during my tattoo, I don't think it's uncommon. If the guy is a really top artist he probably expects to do his work at a pace he's comfortable with and not be set to a timer. 

I can imagine being frustrated while he's out smoking and your money is ticking away. If it's going to stress you out I would just choose another artist next time.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

i'm not a fan of an artist taking frequent smoke breaks

for the main reason is that it breaks the flow of getting tattooed

if the area getting tattooed is an uncomfortable area to have tattooed

it can be frustrating to have to stop and start

anyway - it wouldnt stop me from getting work from a particular artist

but i'd be lying if i said that its never been a factor for me

especially if the artist is on the slower side in terms of the pace of which they tattoo you 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

yeah you're not going to get that $200 back, you missed the opportunity to discuss the hours charged. its done.

If you feel slighted because you were overcharged, vote with your wallet and find someone new to get tattoo from. if a tattooer was interrupting our sit to go smoke multiple times in 2hrs leaving me open on the table I wouldn't be going back. OR go back for another premium tattoo because you know it will have a good outcome and you will be happy with the results. it's not uncommon for repeat clients to get the cost rounded down. honestly, in the long run i've received more bang-for-buck from the premium artists than the ones charging the regular rates. so get over the $200 and just enjoy the tattoo. keep getting tattooed, the $200 credit will come back to you 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Wow, he had to take that much smoke breaks for just 2 hours tattooing?
That's not kind and that's not professional at all, even if you like his designs and work (can you show us the tattoo? :) )

If you really want to use him again, I agree with the other people: don't complain about the price he charged you

But I won't use him again anyway, I'm sure there are a lot of talented artists who are more kind and professional than this

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Almost everything that can be said about this case has been said. But when it comes to price I allways either tell the artist my budget, ask for a rough price before we start or agree on a price on forehand.


Telling an artist your budget or agreeing on a price isn't and shouldn't be anything to be afraid or ashamed of. It's a business, and you're a customer.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

17 hours ago, polliwog said:

If it's a one shot tattoo, I figure the cost is the cost--might be loosely related to an hourly rate, but it might not.  I think of hourly rates as being applicable more to multi-session tattoos. 


This is sort of how I look at it. Additionally, like @bongsau said, if you go back and repeat, you may get a "rounded down" rate. Of course, you may not and that's something you have to be prepared for. If you're happy with the tattoo and enjoy it, then I wouldn't lose sleep over it. It may seem like a lot now, but $200 is nothing compared to loving a tattoo forever.

Link to comment
Share on other sites


Honestly, if you are happy with the work and truly trust the artist.  Then just do it.  As time progresses, you'd get that rounded down rate.  

I too was in a situation where i was overcharged a few times.  Then I started getting hooked up because the artist was at a different shop.  In the end, I assumed maybe it was because the shop was over charging the artists? (sorry I don't know how the payment goes with shops and artists)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • 1 month later...

Right...not singling me out when you said what you said...

18 hours ago, oboogie said:

You've only gotten a couple of small pieces thus far, so that's why you're paying by the piece.

Who else were you talking to when you said that? And I am chill. I just happen to not particularly like being singled out.

Edited by lildropofsunshine
Link to comment
Share on other sites

59 minutes ago, lildropofsunshine said:

I made a comment at least 2 other people made, so yeah, you singling me out did ruffle my feathers a bit. There's no need to do that. Oh, and telling someone to relax? Yeah, no.

So now we have to address each specific person that brings up a point or risk "singling out" someone? Come on. This is a forum. People are free to respond to and address whoever they want, whether it's individuals or a group as a whole. If you don't want to have individual conversations with people, maybe the internet isn't the place for you.

Let me address everyone equally so no one gets their feelings hurt: My experience with smaller tattoos has been I get a specific amount when I ask for a ballpark estimate (ie: "This tattoo will cost $200"), I put down a deposit, and I'm told "This will come out of the end total so you now owe the balance." With bigger tattoos, it's also been the case that I get a certain dollar amount per session which is usually based on what an artist charges per hour at a slightly better deal (ie: "I'll charge you $400 for each session"), and I again put down a deposit and pay the balance for the first session, and then the session amount for every subsequent session. We usually go over my budget in the email/consultation and we both come to an agreement. I've never had any surprises with my tattoo costs, really.

As for this instance, it's your job as a customer to make sure you can afford the tattoo so in the future, you might want to work more closely with your artist about your budget and expectations. What's done is done here. You can either be a repeat customer and maybe he'll cut you a break on future tattoos, or you can take your money elsewhere if you were really not happy with how he did things. But you shouldn't penny pinch too much on tattoos, it's worth spending a little more to get something you're happy with because you have to look at it forever, after all. In the grand scheme of things, assuming you have or plan to get multiple tattoos, an extra $200 really isn't much at all.

On a related note...I will say I've only felt "ripped off" once and that was by Chad Koeplinger. He apparently takes your budget as the cost of the tattoo. So when I was emailing him, I told him my maximum budget, afraid if I said anything lower, he wouldn't be interested in doing the tattoo at all or would do it kind of half assed. So that day I paid the maximum amount I was willing to pay. He told me mid-tattoo that that's how he does things, and I felt kind of like a dumbass for essentially charging myself so much. Especially considering how fast he tattoos, I paid over $250/hr if you think of it that way (which I try not to). However, it WAS still technically within budget, and it's an absolutely awesome tattoo. Meeting him was awesome too, he's one of my favorite tattooers and artists in general. So even then, I came out on top of the moon about the whole thing.

Edited by Synesthesia
Link to comment
Share on other sites

@marley mission Mathematically, I paid an astronomical amount per hour, but I didn't really care because I was glad to have met him and came out with a killer tattoo. I'd do it again in a heartbeat. How is that ripping into anyone? It was more me feeling stupid about giving him my upper limit because I was afraid he wouldn't do it for less, when really I was just setting the price. If anything, it shows how cool he is about pricing and how fair he is...I was afraid a big shot like him would be snobby about cost but he seemed like he would have been fine with just about any number I said (within reason). What I paid isn't his fault because that's his policy, I just kind of felt like I played myself, as the phrase goes. And if that's the closest I've come to feeling ripped off from an artist, it also just goes to show how cool most of them are when it comes to working with clients.

Link to comment
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.

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...