So you’ve decided to get inked – congratulations! Getting a tattoo can be a wonderful, enriching experience, but it can also be a pricey one. For this reason, it’s best that you’re sure on what tattoo you’re wanting to get. In the lines below, we’ll be breaking down everything you need to know about the cost of tattoos.
What Are The Different Factors To Consider For Tattoo Pricing?
When asking yourself “how much do tattoos cost?“, there are many, many factors that come into play. When giving you a quote, the tattoo artist is thinking about a number of different factors.
Depending on where on the body you want to get inked, you might end up paying more. Usually, artists charge more for locations that are highly sensitive (such as the ribcage or the spine) or really difficult to tattoo (shins, foot arches, fingers).
Tattoo Size & Complexity
Obviously, another big factor at play here is the size of your desired tattoo. If you’re looking for a small, basic tattoo (such as a geometric shape, for example), it will most likely be covered by the parlor’s minimum tattoo cost. Obviously, the bigger and more difficult the tattoo, the more you can expect to pay.
The color scheme of your tattoo also impacts the cost, with some parlors charging double for a full-color tattoo than they would for a black and grey one.
These are the factors you should consider in regards to the tattoo itself, but they are not the only ones that affect the cost of your ink. Other things also come into play, such as:
- The skill of the artist – obviously, famous artists will cost more because they are in more demand. So depending on the artist’s level of experience, you can expect to pay as much as $400 – $500 as a starting price alone!
- Location of the studio – The location and reputation of the tattoo parlor itself also play a big part in determining the cost, with high-end studios charging 3-4 times what their low-end equivalents would.
How Do Tattoo Parlors Price Tattoos?
An important factor you’ll want to research before going to get inked is how different parlors price a tattoo, as that will also affect your final cost by quite a bit. How much do tattoos cost when you get them done at a parlour?
Pricing by Size
- Mini Tattoo (2 in. or under) – this is the starting tattoo size and is often covered by the flat fee. So if you want something like a star on your wrist or a name or something like that, you can expect to pay between $30 and $100.
- Small Tattoo (2 in. – 4 in.) – a little larger and usually a little more complex than your basic mini tattoo, a small tattoo ranges in price from $50 to $250.
- Medium Tattoo (4 in. – 6 in.) – also depending on the placement and the complexity, a medium tattoo can fall just under $200, but can also go up to $450.
- Large Tattoos (6 in. or more) – this category encompasses the more ambitious projects, such as the full-sleeve, the full-back, and so on, and usually starts at $500 and can go up to $5,000.
All that being said, you should not judge by size alone. You can easily go up to $1,000 or even more for a tattoo that is smaller than 6 inches but in a difficult-to-tattoo spot, such as the inner lip or under the breast.
Pricing By Hour
Another really popular pricing method is the hourly rate. On average, tattoo parlors will charge $75 – $250 per hour, the price also being affected by the level of experience the artist has (for under $100, you usually get someone with only a handful of years under their belt, while $200 can get you someone with over 10 years of experience). Hourly rates are also affected by the waiting line the parlor/artist has.
Pricing By Letter
This is not really a common practice since most word tattoos fall in the minimum tattoo price. Still, depending on the size and intricacy of your chosen font, the artist may charge a fee per letter.
Conclusion – Don’t Skimp!
When you get a triple-o quote on a tattoo, it can be daunting and you might be tempted to DIY the tattoo at home, or look for a cheaper price elsewhere. Don’t. A sloppy, unprofessional tattoo can be damaging to your body and will take weeks (not to mention thousands of dollars) to fix, so better pay a little more upfront than having to deal with the aftermath of a disastrous, amateur tattoo.