Decay

Pay per hour - how does it work?

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Hello, 

May I ask you, if you pay per hour (not daily/per piece price), what exactly is going into the payed time? Preparing/freehanding the sketch, preparing the station, tattoo time, cleaning and wrapping?

I've just got a small tattoo, it took 2 hours from entering till exiting, exactly 1 hour of tattooing time, and payed for 1.5 hours.  Don't get me wrong, I am happy to have a piece of nice work but just to ease my mind - is this the way the things usually work? 

 

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Most artists only charge for the actual time they start inking until when they set the machine down for the last time.  

Every tattooist has their own personality and interpretation of time - but the main thing is that you come away with a great tattoo you get to wear forever. 

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And a photo. Sorry for bad light, it's almost night here already.

Someone said that if you dislike your tattoo just go and dget better ones. No, doesn't work. Now I dislike my older ones even more;)

IMG_20190213_203310.jpg

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Most of mine the artist told me what the cost would be at the consultation and stuck to that price.  My half sleeve was hourly, but the artist definitely gave me the benefit of the doubt.  I didn't watch the clock and track every minute, but he discounted me about 2 hours time.

I take it that you think you were over charged?  To me tattooing isn't like other professions or businesses.  They don't have mission statements or business plans, they're artists and run things a little looser.  You're not buying a burger getting an oil change.  If you really think that you've been overcharged, but all means talk to your artist.  I'd just let it go... it'll average out in the end.

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3 hours ago, Hogrider said:

It isn't a midwestern bazaar.

I wish it wasn't.. Haggling is the part of local culture, unfortunately. You have to haggle everywhere - when taking the mortgage, when buying the cellphone, when doing the cosmetic procedures.. Tattoos are no exception. 

 

Ok, thank you all!

I will keep my mouth shut:)

 

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One old guys opinion...which like necks..everyone has one.

Then one thing in life you dont want to haggle over price is a well done tattoo. You get what you pay for and wear it for years. 

Do your homework. Plan well in advance and research your artist, style of work you are seeking, and what you can afford to pay.

My artist gives very realistic estimates. Small pieces are an exact price. Large pieces are by the hour. When working on a piece that requires multiple sessions, you might find some days you  may sit still longer than others. Factor in touch ups a couple months once the piece is done. Detailed color work in seldom done once and finished. Everyone's skin type, healing and other factors suggest additional work will be required. A good artist will be far more critical than you are. He/she will go to extreme lengths to provide work that represents their skill set. Happy customers come back and tell their friends in today's world of social media. 

Set up time, allowing your artist a smoke break, allowing you to stretch, bs conversation are not included in an hourly fee. My artist is very realistic about backing out time paid from the minute I walked in the door to when the machine started buzzing. In return I tip well, bring gifts and send business.

 

Question would you go to your favorite restaurant and haggle over the menu price? If you think tipping for good service is cool for your attractive waitress/waiter for a service that is one and done. By extension you are going to wear this ink for years....treat the artist with the respect the intended task deserves. 

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No, I would not haggle. But I would also have a menu on the desk with all the prices.

Before starting, I asked artist how long it would take approximately. He said 'i have no idea, not too long'. Finished in an hour and told the receptionist to write down 1.5 hours. Idk, maybe it is how the things go usually, that's why I am asking here where lots of people with lots of experience would share some wisdom.

 

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Hey @Decay

You have a lovely new tattoo. 

Tattooing isn't science, it's art and you can't set a clock by how long a tattoo will take. Your artist, who I assume you trust to tattoo you, will always give you a best guess. It may take longer; it may take less time.  

You do realize how much goes into tattooing, right? Your artist has to come up with a design, a piece of art, from whatever concept you have in your head and translates that into a tattoo on your skin. There's design, drawing, and setup among other things that happen way before the needles hit your skin. If you feel like you are being ripped off over what you think is 30 minutes, you need to think long and hard if tattooing is for you. Enjoy the ride! Let go a little and you will have a better experience. 

I have never seen a menu of prices and that concept will not serve you well on your tattoo journey. Where do you live where you haggle over everything?

And I really hope that you tipped your artist. 

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Just getting my two cent in here. for one appointment I had it work like this: I told them what I wanted and where, they told me the hourly rate and asked for my budget and a deposit, when I went in for the appointment the artist drew it on with the budget in mind. For my other appointment I book that many hours of their time and pay for the hours when I walk in, we work until the artist determines the time is up.

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My second tattoo, my artist charged $150/h.  I gave a $100 deposit.  Day of the tattoo he tattooed me for about an hour and a half (from the min he started to the end time), and charged me for 2 hours.

I paid the two hours and added a 20% tip. I didn't mind paying for the extra 20 or 30 minutes because I realized that he took time to draw, to make two or three stencils until he got the right size for the area.  He was also very meticulous about making sure it was on the right spot (time being spent).

The second tattoo he did for me, he tattooed me for just under three hours ($450).  He only charged me $200.  I tipped him 30% that time.

We have since become friends.  We have hung out while he's drawing tattoos for the next day.  He can spend several hours drawing and making different options, for which he doesn't get paid.  So now even more, I never haggle an artist.

I am amazed at how many people don't tip their artist.  If you take care of them, they will take care of you.

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I run a custom, private, appointment-only shop. I do free consult appointments where the client shows up and we discuss the tattoo they want.  I take notes, sometimes do little sketches, and then ask if they want to proceed with having me draw up a design.  If they do, I collect a design fee from them. I also ask about the size and placement and then try to give a ballpark estimate on time since my shop rate is hourly.

After that I start sketching in the evenings, and when I have something decent I send it over to see what they think.  Usually there is some feedback and I incorporate into the new sketches.  Once I feel the direction is solid, I'll take the design to completion and send it over.  If they haven't set an appointment, they usually do at that point.

Tips are always appreciated, but I have never wanted people to feel pressured into tipping after spending a few hundred dollars. I am in a pretty small town so maybe the protocol is different. I don't do deposits because I find them to be a hassle. Or maybe I'm just a pushover.  But in the end it all comes down to keeping the bills paid, and so far that has been working for me.

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My method is simplistic - once I have an idea of the style and complexity of what they’re wanting, I charge anywhere from $20 (American) to $120. Its an incentive for me to want to draw, and it also tells me the client is serious about getting work done.

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