Tattoos and Tipping

Tipping for a tattoo like this done by Christina would be customary.
Norse Tattoo by Christina


Some may wonder why tipping your tattoo artist is normal when you’ve already paid them for a tattoo. It’s understandable on why some don’t know the reason behind it. Despite popular opinion, tattoo artists aren’t rich.

One thing that may not occur to clients is that a good portion of a tattoo artists income goes into overhead. The cost to run and maintain the studio space is a collective expense shared amongst all of the artists working in that particular studio. These costs include the lease, utilities, costs of materials, wages for the front of house employees, insurance and so on.

Generally tattoo artists are independent contractors that also deal with outside expenses regarding operating a business in the state. Even though they are working within a studio, they are still their own boss and often have different expenses that the average worker doesn’t have to deal with.

Tipping your artist helps them absorb some of these costs so that they can pay their own personal bills, raise a family, put food on the table, pay the rent, etc. Just like everybody else. Your tip may decide if they can take time to enjoy a night out with their partner on a day off or not.

That’s not to say that every tattoo artist is struggling to get by. That isn’t the case for most artists, however, it is for some less established or newer artists. The artists that are just breaking into the business and are trying to make a name for themselves and acquire regular clients can be classified as “starving artists” in some cases. More well known artists generally aren’t struggling at all and can do quite well making a living. However, tipping still helps.

Perhaps a more established artist is making a good living, but not good enough to save up in a reasonable amount of time for a down payment on a house for his or her family. The American dream is that much closer with the help from their clients.

Tipping your artist not only helps them financially, but it’s a real reflection on your appreciation for the work that they’ve done. The artists, on a generality, spend a good portion of their free time away from the studio drawing and re-drawing pieces for their upcoming clients. Tipping helps them justify the time that they’re not spending with family or doing fun activities, and concentrating on work.

Tipping, by no means, is required nor is it expected. However, it’s definitely appreciated. Artists like to know their work has met or exceeded expectations to a point that the client wants to tip them to express how pleased they are with the outcome of their tattoo. Most tattoo artists take serious pride in their craft and enjoy seeing a vision come into fruition. Having a happy client, a great finished tattoo to be proud of, and a little extra cash makes for a good day.

Is it better to tip in cash or by card? Either way is completely fine, but going with cash is probably the better choice for both the client and the artist. For the client, paying by card will include a credit card convenience fee charged by the processor, so tipping in cash helps avoid that extra cost. For the artist, cash gives them instant access to that money and they don’t need to wait until it’s paid out by the studio when that time comes. 100% of the money you tip goes directly to the artist regardless of which manner in which a client chooses to go about it.


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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