Tattoo Shop Red Flags

There are many red flags to look for with tattoo studios.


There are many red flags to look out for when you are shopping around for a new place to get a tattoo. Your old shop may have closed, or your artist retired, or maybe you simply had a bad experience and now you’re on the lookout for a new place to get work done. One of these scenarios happens all the time to people.

There’s a multitude of reasons on why you are looking at new studios. We’re here to help you try to find the right one and how to avoid the bad ones with these red flags. Hopefully Lucky Bamboo Tattoo is the right choice for you! At the end of this article, we’ll add a button you can click that links to another article on why we are the place to go for your new ink!



If you visit a studio, and you can visibly see that the place is kinda dirty (or really dirty, in some cases), you can pretty much guarantee that nobody in the shop cares. If they don’t care about how clean their shop is, how can you believe they take other cleanliness and sanitation practices seriously? Just because a place hasn’t been shut down by the Health Department, doesn’t mean they don’t deserve to be. It just means they haven’t been reported. It’s unlikely the Health Dept will just show up to do a random inspection on a whim. They need a reason.

A shops cleanliness is a reflection on their safety. In a dirty shop, how clean do they keep their equipment and work spaces? Do they sanitize everything in between clients? Are they using unused, but previously opened needle cartridges? If it was opened for a previous client, and wasn’t needed, it’s still to be considered contaminated. Very tiny particles of blood could still have come in contact with that needle, even if it never got used. If it’s open, it’s no longer sterile. Period. Major red flags.


If you wander into a studio, and there is absolutely nothing going on, that could be a red flag. If all the artists and employees are just sitting up front BS-ing and there isn’t a single client getting work done, that could indicate that they aren’t a desired location. Granted, there can be slow periods, so you can’t take this as a definitive flaw. It just means maybe you should do a little research on that shop.


If people are constantly talking about bad work they either got at a studio, or have seen from a studio, this would imply that the quality standards are not up there. There are many “scratcher” shops out there with very inexperienced and/or untrained people giving tattoos on the cheap. Unfortunately for you, if you consent to them to get a tattoo, you have no recourse if you get a poorly done tattoo. All you can do is complain, but the artist already has your money. The guy in the scratcher shop won’t care how much you complain. Your happiness isn’t his motivation. Major red flags.


It’s a pretty big flag if a shop seems overly desperate to get you in the chair. A sign of desperation usually indicates an artist or studio that is struggling, and struggling as a tattoo artist is an indication that they simply aren’t good at their work. Of course all studios want to get your business, but trying to win you over and practically begging are two different things.


This flag goes hand and hand with desperation. If an artist has unusually low rates, or is willing to drop their rate dramatically in order to get you booked, there’s a reason for that. They may be a bad tattoo artist, have a bad tattoo reputation and can’t get bookings, have a bad reputation for reasons other than the quality of tattoos (such as attitude, abuse, being known to be drunk/under the influence, sexual harassment, etc).


This one is a no-brainer. If you see ANY business with a notice from the Health Dept posted on the door/window regarding low standards, you’ll want to avoid that place. Even if they are giving $10 tattoos, it’s not worth the hepatitis. Several red flags here.


When you pull up to the prospective tattoo shop, are there a bunch of shady people just hanging out in front of the building? Is there garbage everywhere outside? Is there graffiti plastered all over the building that wasn’t done by the shop on purpose? Are there any caged up windows that appear broken or have visible bullet holes? Overall, does the outside of the studio look like crap? If you answered yes to these questions, not only are those big red flags indicating the ownership doesn’t care, but you are also probably in a crummy neighborhood. If you actually got out of your car after seeing all that, get back in and leave. Flags!


Most reputable tattoo studios don’t need to rely on gimmicks to get butts in the door. A busy studio or artist don’t need to offer $50 deals. If a studio offers “free touch-ups for life”, they’re seriously yanking your chain. Those deals are generally under a whole bunch of hidden conditions and/or attached to a particular artist. Most of the time, this policy never gets honored. Also, cheap tattoos “until you tap out” are always full of hidden costs and restrictions. What’s stopping an artist using a heavy hand so that you’ll intentionally tap out after less than an hour? Nothing. There’s not rule they have to be gentle. You signed the consent form, so you have no standing.

If you’d like to read our article on why Lucky Bamboo Tattoo is the right studio for you, click the button below!


If you’re ready to get your next tattoo done, schedule an appointment with an award-winning tattoo parlor. Here at Lucky Bamboo Tattoo, we have some of the best and most experienced tattoo artists in Utah and the Salt Lake City area. We can tattoo any style you’d like, and our artists can even design your next piece as well.

Come see why we have been voted “The Best Tattoo Studio In Utah” for several years in a row.

Lucky Bamboo Tattoo understands that tattoo collectors searching for the best tattoo shop in Utah comes with a big responsibility and we here at LBT are ready to fulfill your tattoo needs.

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