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BrookR70

Standard Shop Rate vs. Artist Rate

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Pardon my ignorance. I've only been tattooed by two different artists.

I was under the impression that every artist in a shop had a different rate...until today. I went into a couple of shops in an area I recently moved to (some of the shops are well known). I browsed some portfolios and then asked what a particular artist's rate was and the response was that their standard shop rate was $XXX/hour. Does this mean that the customer is charged the same $ per hour for an apprentice as the shop owner?

I walked into a shop and was ready to get a small filler piece (it was completely spontaneous, so I agreed to be put on a waiting list). The piece was very simple, but after browsing several portfolios, I realized that I could end up with someone whose work I didn't care for, or that I wasn't sure if they could pull a straight line. Thinking about that scared me a little and I cancelled my walk-in appointment. 

Thoughts? Thanks.

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56 minutes ago, BrookR70 said:

Pardon my ignorance. I've only been tattooed by two different artists.

I was under the impression that every artist in a shop had a different rate...until today. I went into a couple of shops in an area I recently moved to (some of the shops are well known). I browsed some portfolios and then asked what a particular artist's rate was and the response was that their standard shop rate was $XXX/hour. Does this mean that the customer is charged the same $ per hour for an apprentice as the shop owner?

I walked into a shop and was ready to get a small filler piece (it was completely spontaneous, so I agreed to be put on a waiting list). The piece was very simple, but after browsing several portfolios, I realized that I could end up with someone whose work I didn't care for, or that I wasn't sure if they could pull a straight line. Thinking about that scared me a little and I cancelled my walk-in appointment. 

Thoughts? Thanks.

you're doing it wrong 

 

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I was doing the right thing. The reason I went into these shops was to confirm my hunches about three particular artists I had in mind and to hopefully meet them in person (without scheduling an appointment). I only considered doing a blind walk in because I was only going to get a small 2"x2" filler pulled straight from the Sailor Jerry Flash Book (Volume 2). 

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Any shop can set up their pricing any way they want.

Once you've determined which artist you want to proceed with, your discussions with the shop manager should only be when you can sit in front of that particular artist (and what the cost would be). If the shop is trying to tell you that they are going to decide who is doing the tattoo then you are right to walk away.

If you want a consultation with a particular artist, and if that artist is popular - you may have to make an appointment to get just that part accomplished. Not all artists do walk-in consults.

 

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I don't ask price anymore,when I get an appointment for what I want with the artist I want,I expect a deposit,but I really don't care and don't ask what the price or hourly rate is,

 

and yes,I always make an appointment for a consultation. 

Edited by Dan

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My artist gave me an estimate when I had my initial consult with him. I made my appointment and put down a deposit - when he did the work he was just about perfect in his timing estimate. When I went back in for a quick touch up and to add some shading, he didn't require a deposit and then didn't charge me for the shading - he got a great tip though.

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3 hours ago, oboogie said:

If you have to ask, you can't afford it.

I can afford it son, but since most shops are cash only, it might be nice to know how much money to pull out of the ATM. Especially when you're talking close to a grand for a piece. It would be really embarrassing to come up short at the end of a session. Until these shops start taking debit cards, I'm forced to estimate the price.

My last artist was totally cool about it. He gave me an exact price and estimate and I tipped him above and beyond for his honesty and candor...before he laid a single line on me. It made the session more enjoyable for both of us because I didn't have to stress about whether I had enough money and he didn't have to stress about whether he was going to get a decent tip. We had a great time after we got the business end of it taken care of.

Edited by BrookR70

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I'm a girl, so "son" doesn't really work.

Of course you need to know to get enough money out of the ATM (my shop takes credit/debit cards, but I realize this isn't always the case). You make an appointment to consult. You talk about the design and get an approximate cost. You talk back and forth via text or email to discuss the drawing he comes up with to make adjustments. You set an appointment to get tattooed and you bring the amount quoted and then some plus tip. You don't walk in and talk about cost to the dude at the front desk. Talk to your artist at a scheduled appointment. That was my point.

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For a 2"x2" piece of Sailor Jerry flash? Nope...too much work. Too many artists can do a great job on such a simple piece. I'm not going to go back and forth on this one...complete waste of time. I just want to know if my artist can pull a straight line. This is a simple walk-in tattoo that any competent artist can pull off on a moment's notice. And that's my point.

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Edited by BrookR70

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We're talking at cross purposes here. I'm not talking about Sailor Jerry flash. But if that's what you want, check Instagram for the artists at a shop before you go in. The internet is the way to go if you want to be sure you're getting a decent artist at a particular shop. At the shop I go to, there isn't an artist there that can't pull a straight line. I guess I've just never encountered the issues you are at the shops I've gone to. Good luck. 

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No, an apprentice won't charge the same as the owner, that would be retarded.. However, the artists (that aren't apprentices) might have the same hourly rate. I don't see what's the real weird thing here?

And did you put your name on a waiting list for a specific artist or the shop in general? If the shop, yeah then I think you did the right thing about backing out. You should pick the artist..

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4 hours ago, BrookR70 said:

I can afford it son, but since most shops are cash only, it might be nice to know how much money to pull out of the ATM. Especially when you're talking close to a grand for a piece. It would be really embarrassing to come up short at the end of a session. Until these shops start taking debit cards, I'm forced to estimate the price.

My last artist was totally cool about it. He gave me an exact price and estimate and I tipped him above and beyond for his honesty and candor...before he laid a single line on me. It made the session more enjoyable for both of us because I didn't have to stress about whether I had enough money and he didn't have to stress about whether he was going to get a decent tip. We had a great time after we got the business end of it taken care of.

I've been lucky I suppose,I have always been able to use a credit/debit card with square and a couple times I used paypal.

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I think you were right to walk away simply because you weren't sure you would be happy and the process didn't feel comfortable. I also think that since you had been browsing portfolios and had an idea that there were some artists you trusted more than others it would have been fine to ask to be on a waiting list from one or more of these artists in particular. Plenty of reputable shops do walk in flash and even then you should get a tattoo you feel good about. 

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i guess i dont get walking into a shop and wanting a price breakdown of how much each artist would charge for a piece - pretty silly if you ask me

is money an important topic yes - but i would say first that you pick the artist you would like to work with

then discuss your budget - maybe it works out maybe it doesnt

but price shopping is poor form imo

 

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13 hours ago, oboogie said:

You talk back and forth via text or email to discuss the drawing he comes up with to make adjustments.

i don't think this behavior should be encouraged.  sounds exhausting.

 

@BrookR70, i think this shop just wasn't the one for you. nothing wrong with deciding you are not comfortable with the process at particular shop and deciding not to get tattooed that day. 

Edited by BrianH

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10 hours ago, marley mission said:

i guess i dont get walking into a shop and wanting a price breakdown of how much each artist would charge for a piece - pretty silly if you ask me

is money an important topic yes - but i would say first that you pick the artist you would like to work with

then discuss your budget - maybe it works out maybe it doesnt

but price shopping is poor form imo

 

I don't read any of Brooks posts like he was shopping around for price, he was simply asking what an artist charged and they told him they had a shop price. If he asked multiple artists then yea, I agree that it's weird, but I don't read his posts like that.

Do you guys really find it weird to ask the artist what they charge an hour or for an estimate on a piece for a walk-in? We aren't talking about scheduled appointments here.. There is no consult, there is no back and forth texting or emails, it's just showing up to the shop, talk to the artist and get a tattoo. Not everything needs 5 weeks of planning, especially not tattoos that are exact copies of Sailor Jerry flash..

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i think the topic itself is awkward - of course #1 discussing money can be awkward in general

but i think there is an etiquette that should be there through different parts of the process of getting tattooed

i kinda find the whole thing pretty sacred in a way

and to focus your energy on prices and price differences

(remember that was the intent of the OP's thread)

to me - its poor form 

i do talk money with my tattooer

i simply state what i want and what my budget is

i.e. - "do you think my budget of 'x' dollars would work for what i'm looking to get?"

by now i have a feel for it so i usually know how much a piece will cost

i try to do 100% cash - also good form imo

to each their own on this issue but this pretty much sums up my feelings on the topic

oh - forum members...

dont forget to throwdown in the lowdown - a much more entertaining thread i assure you

 

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In my 13 years of getting tattooed I have NEVER asked about cost of the tattoo upfront before getting started. I agree with the saying "if you have to ask how much it costs, you can't afford it" when it comes to tattoos. You either want the tattoo or you don't.

Now, I will ask for an estimate on how many hours or sessions so I can do some really really complex calculus to get an idea of total cost. The shop rate is usually displayed somewhere and I see nothing wrong with asking the tattooer directly what the shop rate is (if it isn't posted) or what their hourly rate is. But that's when I'm already committed to getting tattooed at that point. Don't go shopping for the best rate, it's tacky. You either want the tattoo or you don't.

So here's a tip...take the shop rate and multiply by the max number of hours you can/will likely sit for. Bring cash to cover that. I've always walked out of a tattoo shop happy with my session, left a generous tip and still have enough leftover cash in my wallet to spend on beer, weed and pizza afterwards.

To echo our dude @marley mission above, just go get tattooed and you'll get a feel pretty quickly how much a good tattoo costs. You may even be shocked to realize they cost much less than you think.

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@BrookR70 did nothing wrong by walking out on a walk in.

If you don't feel comfortable, you are free to walk. You might not get a red carpet reception though the next time you step into the shop to set something up, so there's that too.

But once those machines are set-up though, you're locked in ! Don't waste peoples time. Cheers

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