Getting a tattoo is a big commitment. Tattoo artists, friends, or people, in general, will urge you to sit on your decision of getting a tattoo. Unlike a new hairdo or a new outfit, getting a tattoo is permanent. It’s not something you get to erase or change when you feel like it. So before you decide to get one, think hard and long about how much you’re willing to spend on it.
What You Should Consider Before Getting A Tattoo
You may have heard of this already, but it’s better to have a list of the things you should consider in deciding whether or not you’ll get a tattoo. It’s not as simple as wanting it because a tattoo is a big commitment both to your wallet and to your body. To help you make a more informed decision, here are a few things you should consider when you get a tattoo.
Tattoos are permanent. Whether you regret it or not, a tattoo once applied is always going to be part of you literally. There are ways to get rid of it but those ways are expensive, invasive, and painful. What makes it worse is that there is no guarantee if after going through those treatments that your tattoo will disappear. For some people, it just ended up as a painful scar.
So, if you aren’t sure if you can commit to a permanent tattoo, try applying temporary ones or henna tattoos to get a feel of having a tattoo for days. If in the end it’s still not something you want, then you can start considering other things.
The next thing you have to think about is the pain. At the very least, a tattoo will hurt. But this still depends on your pain tolerance, placement of the tattoo, and tattoo artist. If you are sensitive to pain and not able to bear it then you can ask your tattoo artist to use tattoo numbing creams. As it will significantly reduce the tattoo pain and numb your skin for 2-5 hours.
Pain tolerance levels
The process of getting a tattoo involves needles pricking your skin as the ink is applied. Imagine feeling this for at least 45 minutes. It doesn’t sound comforting, right? It’s particularly more painful if your design is detailed because there is more pricking done than the usual.
Placement of the tattoo
To add to that, the placement of your tattoo will affect how painful it will be. Tattoo artists will tell you that the “bonier” the area is, the more painful it will be. So, a tattoo on the arm is relatively less painful than a tattoo on the collarbone.
Lastly, the expertise and lightness of hand of the tattoo artist will affect how painful it will be. Face it, there are artists who are naturally skilled in designing and inking that their hands were made for the job. However, there are some who have naturally heavy hands (although this does not mean that they are not skilled). This means that artists who have heavy hands tend to make the process more painful. This is not intentional, it’s just really how it is.
The smart thing to do when you decide to get a tattoo is to consult with a doctor. The important thing to take note is if a tattoo will not cause any skin allergies. Even if you say that you are allergic to shellfish, you still have to ask for your doctor’s approval in spite of food allergies being different from ink allergies.
Moreover, getting checked for ink reactions is a good idea so that you know how your skin will react to it when you actually visit the tattoo studio. You do not want to be surprised to see rashes and itchiness when you can avoid it.
- The reason why you’re getting one
Another important thing to think about is the reason why you’re getting a tattoo. Do you want one because it’s popular these days? Or do you want it because you want to make a remembrance of someone or something?
Your reason for getting a tattoo can help encourage you to pick a design that will resonate with you. It will also help you get comfortable with the thought of it being permanent.
For those who have no issues with money, you don’t have to think about this particular factor. But for those who have concerns about the cost of the tattoo, you should first think about the budget you are willing to spend on a tattoo. The price of a tattoo will depend on a lot of factors (you’ll read more about the factors below) and there is no single answer that will tell you how much it is. So you better set aside a budget for your tattoo if ever you want to push through.
You are aware that timing is everything. This is even truer for tattoos. You can’t just decide right off the bat that you want to get a tattoo. A tattoo is permanent and if you rush getting one, you might only regret it in the long run. So, what you should do is give yourself time to prepare for a tattoo both financially or emotionally.
Factors Affecting Your Tattoo Cost
The cost of a tattoo ranges from $50 per hour to $100. If your design is complicated, it can be as high as $300 considering the tattoo artist is skilled and famous. However, these values differ and it can be too vague for people who have a budget. To help you out, here is a list of the factors that affect the cost of getting a tattoo.
The design is one of the main factors affecting the price of a tattoo. The logic is simple – the more detailed and unique the design, the more expensive it will be. If the design needs a lot of small details, say, an image of an animal, then the price will be higher. However, if you are only asking for the outline, then the price will be lower.
Also, if it is a generic design like a shape or an object, the cost will be lower because the tattoo artist does not have to make it up from scratch. But if there is no pattern and you want a specific scene or symbol that has to be customized by the tattoo artist, then they will charge higher.
- Number of Colors
The more colors you will use, the more expensive your tattoo will be. Some people think that the logic behind this is that there is an additional expense on the artist if he keeps changing inks. This isn’t entirely true because what really affects the cost here is the attention to detail the artist has to put in order to get the colors done. The same goes for inks that are gradient. If your design is in gradient even if it’s just different shades of black, it will still cost more than when you have one plain color.
It’s not just the design and the colors that make a tattoo’s price change. The size itself is a big factor because the bigger the size, the more ink is used. The more expensive it will also be if the design is big and there are a lot of details. But if the tattoo is big and it does not have any details to it, you can negotiate with your tattoo artist explaining that your design is just a solid image and not something that has a lot of details.
The price also depends on where your tattoo will be. Similar to the pain level, as the body part becomes more sensitive, the price becomes higher. This is because sensitive parts have a lot of nerves and receptors where the tattoo artist should take more caution than usual. These body parts include the genitals, the ribs, the wrist, and even the feet. On the other hand, the more muscular parts are less sensitive so putting a tattoo on your shoulder, thighs, arms, and buttocks will cost less.
- Artist’s expertise
The artist’s expertise is another one of the main factors affecting a tattoo’s price. If the tattoo artist is well-known and is highly skilled, then you can expect that the price is higher than usual. These artists often charge per hour and the average starting rate is $100. Yes, it’s very expensive so you might want to look for other artists if this is too high a price point for you. Nonetheless, if you pay for this price, rest assured that you get high-quality tattoos.
- Location of the tattoo studio
Aside from the artist himself, the geographical location of a tattoo studio affects the price of the tattoo. A tattoo studio located in the rural areas will definitely charge less than a tattoo studio in the main cities. This is because a lot of other costs are included in the tattoo’s price. There’s rent, electricity, and overhead that the tattoo studio will have to account for.
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Tips On Getting The Best Price For Your Tattoo
So now that you know what makes up your tattoo’s price, how do you get a price that is more affordable? Here are a few tips to get a better price.
Tip #1: Look for recommendations from friends and family.
The first thing you should do is ask recommendations from close friends and family. You’ll never know who knows who and you might even get a friend discount at a tattoo studio. It’s always best to check your own network first because you might get a discount that will help save a huge amount from your projected tattoo cost. Moreover, there might be a referral discount if a friend of yours can bring someone over to the tattoo studio they tried before.
Tip #2: Look for artists that are looking for experience.
Just because you want to have high-quality tattoos does not mean that you have to shut your doors to artists who are new to the industry. There are tattoo artists experienced and not experienced alike who give discounts to those that are willing to be their clients. This is a win-win situation for you since the tattoo artist will get more clients while you save on tattoo expenses.
Tip #3: Get someone who offers a flat rate.
Most of the time, tattoo artists give an hourly rate. However, if your design is complicated and unique, then you can expect that your tattoo session will be longer than expected. A longer tattoo session means a more expensive price especially when you can’t gauge how long the appointment will take. So, to avoid unexpected additional costs, look for a tattoo artist that offers a flat rate.
Tip #4: Do it in bulk.
If you are planning on getting multiple tattoos, why not do them once? Getting several tattoos done at the same time and in the same place might just award you a big discount. If you aren’t planning on getting more than one tattoo, then you can ask some of your friends who plan on getting tattoos. The tattoo studio might offer a group discount if you bring friends who are getting tattoos there.
Tip #5: Negotiate
To save a bit of cash on your tattoo, you can negotiate the price with the tattoo artist. Like what was said earlier, you can negotiate the price if you are planning on having a simple tattoo. Even if it’s big, you can negotiate the price especially when it’s just an outline of a person or an object.
Tip #6: Save up for it
No matter how much you haggle, chances are a tattoo will still be expensive. What you should do is to start saving up for it the moment you decide that you want a tattoo. This is why it’s not advisable to get a tattoo without thinking about it. It will help to get a rough estimate on how much your design will cost so you can have a goal in mind.
Finding The Right Tattoo Artist For You
So now you already know how to haggle and to look for tattoo studios and artists that can give you the right price. However, you shouldn’t forget to strike a balance between price, ambiance, and quality. These things are equally important as the price because a poor-quality tattoo can lead to a bad experience and a bad-looking tattoo. Here are a few notes to remember when you are looking for a tattoo artist/studio that fits your budget.
- Ask for recommendations
More than getting friend discounts from tattoo studios, you need to ask around for good-quality tattoo studios and artists. Most people go to tattoo studios that were recommended by someone they know because they already have a more in-depth review of the artist and the studio. Getting a friend’s recommendation can help you get the real review, unlike some online reviews that are made to promote a certain tattoo studio.
- Visit the tattoo studio
Once you have a few recommendations, it’s time to visit the tattoo studios. Visiting the tattoo studio beforehand will help you check the place for yourself.
Some people will say that this isn’t important because you are not there for the ambiance. However, think of it this way – you will be spending at least an hour there getting a needle prick you for the whole time and the place isn’t clean. It ruins the whole experience, right? So, better to check the place out to see if the tattoo studio is a place where you will feel comfortable getting your tattoo done.
- Ask for their catalog
When you’re in the tattoo studio, ask for the tattoo artists’ catalog if they have any. Most artists have one since they use it to showcase their works and to show people how good they are. Make sure that you don’t miss out looking for similar designs as yours so you can gauge if you like their art or their output. While you look at the catalog, keep an eye out for designs that are close to the features of your design so you can ask about the price range for it.
- Consult about your chosen tattoo design
If the tattoo artist is there, spend some time asking him or her. Your goal here is to know how much they will charge for your design or idea and to ask suggestions to how it will look like (because there are tattoos that look better on paper but look differently on the skin).
When consulting with a tattoo artist, inquire about your proposed tattoo design and where you plan to put it. Ask them if it works and how much it will be. Once they give you a price, ask them why they arrived at that. This will give you an idea if they charge per hour or at a flat rate. If it’s the latter, then the better for you.
Getting a tattoo is costly especially when you are not prepared for it. Aside from preparing yourself for the permanence of a tattoo, you should prepare financially because you wouldn’t want to be surprised at how much it costs.