How Much Does a Tattoo Artist Make?


Creating a lasting impression is taken to a whole new level when you’re working as a Tattoo Artist. In this body art career, you take the vision of your client and turn it into an artistic expression that will last a lifetime — literally. Working with individuals from all walks of life, you may ink skull and crossbones for a pirate-at-heart one day, and then commemorate the birth of a child for a new mother the next. Typically, jobs for Tattoo Artists are found in tattoo and piercing businesses, but some people may find their body art career at motorcycle shops.

What is the average income of a Tattoo Artist?

The salary database website payscale.com, which collects wage information from employers throughout the United States, estimates that Tattoo Artists earn between $15,106 and $49,626 annually. Most Tattoo Artists work for someone else in the beginning years of their career, and must pay the shop owner a portion of their earnings. For example, Today Tattoos — a tattoo training information website — reports that the shopkeeper typically collects a 60 to 70 percent commission on each tattoo completed in his shop. So, if you complete a tattoo for $100, the shopkeeper’s commission is usually between $60 and $70, leaving you with $30 to $40 in your pocket.

The factors that influence the average income of a Tattoo Artist include the amount of tips received, years of experience, and the size of your clientele. Most tattoo clients tip the Tattoo Artist for a job well done, and tips are not necessarily fully recorded. Government regulations require a portion of gratuity money to be reported, leaving a somewhat large question mark surrounding the total average income of a Tattoo Artist.

Also, as you gain experience as a Tattoo Artist and your reputation grows, your clientele grows as well, meaning the demand for your services increases. As demand increases, your time becomes more valuable to customers, and you’re able to charge more for your talents with ink.

Is work available in this body art career?

Since many Tattoo Artists learn their trade through apprenticeships, most are able to find employment. What was once thought of as only for Sailors, bikers, and Truckers is becoming more mainstream in society. As the acceptance grows, the demand will as well, increasing the demand for Tattoo Artists.



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