How to Start a Tattoo Parlor

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The tattoo parlor business is a good way to earn money. Do you want to open your own tattoo parlor business? This article gives you an overview of the business.

First things first, before you can make tattoos (or own a tattoo parlor for that matter) you need to submit yourself to an apprenticeship program.

This will take between one to two years and may cost roughly around $5,000 per year. You need to learn the trade hands on and this is the best way to do it. Be prepared to do menial tasks such as moping the floors, cleaning tubes etc while still in training. That comes with the territory. Eventually, the day will come when you get to finally hold that iron and make a tattoo.

Before you can start your tattoo parlor business, read this collection of useful tips that may help as establish your business.

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  • Aside from your tattoo kit and equipment, you also need to get furniture and office equipment for your studio such as cabinets, cash register, copier, counters, fax machine, flash, flash racks, waiting chairs etc.
  • Being limited to a “cash only” establishment is not good for your business. Make arrangements with credit card companies so your shop can accept credit cards.
  • Drop by your local health department, there you can find most of the information you will need in order to open a tattoo parlor. No two state, city, or county have the same rules and regulation about tattoo making and starting a tattoo store. Some even necessitated the health department to inspect your tattoo studio before you can open it. It is your job to find out what the rules and regulations are in your area.
  • If your funding is limited, save advertising money by exploring less expensive ways to promote your business. Have a prominent display sign made. Hand out flyers and posters where pertinent information such as your tattoo studio’s name, location, and the services you offer is delineated. And do be sure you showcase samples of your handiwork in your tattoo parlor.
  • In choosing a location for your tattoo shop, choose a place that is in a commercial area that is high in pedestrian and vehicular traffic. There is a higher likelihood to get walk in customers this way. Promoting your studio would also be easier if most people are familiar with the general area in which your studio is located.
  • Naturally, you will need money in order to start a tattoo studio. On average, you need to have around 15,000 dollars give or take for startup capital. That is, if you want to buy all the tattoo equipment you will need all at once. If your funding is limited, you may buy the equipment you most need first and then get the rest during the course of the next few months.
  • See to it that you explain to your customers the importance of caring for a new tattoo. If they are not careful, their tattoos may get infected. Have an information leaflet made enumerating the things they should and should not do.
  • You don’t have to get your tattoo supplies and the rest of the stuff you need “brand new”. You can save money by going to auctions or scouring the classified section of your local newspaper.
  • Variety is the cream of a business, the more you have to offer your customer increases your chance to be the leader in your tattoo business. You can always show your customers a catalog having butterfly tattoo, celtic tattoo, chinese tattoo, cross tattoo designs, dragon tattoo, flower tattoo, foot tattoo, girl tattoos, heart tattoos, japanese tattoo so that they can have a glance before they pick one. Give them the facility to customize their tattoo as well.
  • You need to have the right training and education so you can meet the demands of your job effectively. Training is a must if you want to acquire the mandatory license and permits you need.

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131 Comments

  • 1. Julie said on 6/17/2009 8:23:30 PM
    I also have the same question as Tino! I just want to run/own my own tattoo parlor. And hire my own artists or piercers.
  • 2. jimmy said on 6/20/2009 10:22:32 AM
    some friends and i do parties. i'm on here now trying to get all the info for opening a shop here in baltimore where i live. i know there is a pathogen cert i need to get but where do i go to see exactly what the regulations are for opening a shop?
  • 3. mard henderson said on 6/29/2009 4:07:43 PM
    I have a guy that owns a shop and has all the permits I am going to spend the money and have an artist. My artist is going to work under the others permits. Is that legal? After a couple months we are going to get our own permits. The guy that owns it is selling it to us kind of under the table. I am kind of skeptical about this any advice.
  • 4. ashley said on 7/14/2009 9:13:57 AM
    Hey sorry to go off subject but does anyone know any body piercers willing to do an apprenticeship in baltimore or close? Please respond.
  • 5. wyatt said on 7/29/2009 12:12:09 PM
    Same Question as everyone, Can I open a shop with out being a tattoo artist? Thanks
  • 6. Gina said on 8/6/2009 6:15:26 PM
    Same question as well.. Open a shop w/o being an artist? I would have a manager who has been a licensed artist for 4 years..
  • 7. villain said on 8/30/2009 7:53:19 AM
    you need to take a phlebotomy course and its about $1000 or more now days... to do piercing you all will need insurance unless you wanna get wacked by a lawyer & judge... the health dept..has a one day course most the time its free to attend and you get certified or a paper to hang on the wall(lol) and you will need to pay a permit fee around 25 dollars from your city tax dept to do business ... the insurance is about $80 a month for 350,000 public liability.. but you will also need malpractice insurance in-case you mess up or some one thinks you cause there infection, remember the world we live in .. and lawyers are free for victims ....??
  • 8. villain said on 8/30/2009 7:56:44 AM
    also most artists will NOT work for a skimmer ''' so you guys that don't shoot ink. looking to slave you up some talent '' nice try .. that don't work anywhere i've ever been. seen or heard of... with good work.. maybe get into property ...if you wanna be a land lord...
  • 9. TommyT said on 9/3/2009 8:42:33 PM
    Want to open a tattoo shop in Houston, Texas, and dont know how, or need an artist for this business? Send me an email, maybe we can work it out.... asylum_tattoo@yahoo.com not everyone has the cash at hand to start up one, like me, so if you got the money, I got the experience
  • 10. AlexiaS. said on 9/18/2009 9:14:46 PM
    Hello, I agree with Villain No one wants to work for someone that doesn't either pierce or tattoo. I know because I work for someone that has a total different job and just comes to pick up the drop once a week. Its annoying. Everyday you do your job and he is never here and comes in just to get the drop and complains about every little thing and then leaves. And for advice going through an apprenticeship its best to go find someone that has a really good portfolio and ask them how to begin an apprenticeship because every county and state is different.
  • 11. paulo said on 9/24/2009 3:41:49 AM
    i would like to run the business and have some artist work for me, is possible? thank you
  • 12. Jeremie Miller said on 10/1/2009 3:30:00 AM
    You can be the owner, but if you don't know how to tattoo you will never attract experienced professionals. There are just too many things that put you at a disadvantage when you are ignorant of the trade. Tattooing has come a long way until recently and that is because of the flood of non tattooist owners. It hurts me whenever someone comes in my studio and is only looking for a bong, dong, or anything other than a tattoo/piercing. Please leave ownership to those who live it.
  • 13. Tat2Diva said on 10/12/2009 1:36:16 AM
    Oh, ya'll don't have to worry! Those who don't live it and love it, won't have a true gem of a shop! It's an insult that they think its so easy. They are no better than these scratchers out here smearing the business. We work hard to be respected in the game. So do what you do, and leave the tattoo business to the tattoo ARTISTS!
  • 14. Crash said on 10/12/2009 2:12:33 PM
    I disagree with those who believe only an artist should own a shop, I think a collector, a person with knowledge of the skill and training it takes for the artist to do good work could take the burden off the artist to do what they do best, the art. Not to worry about the business. I have been collecting tats for 20 years and know the dedication it takes for the tattooist, I'm going to open my shop soon and cant draw a lick...but I'm going to provide the ARTIST a great environment to work in, and let them do what they do best, the ART.
  • 15. bidyot jyoti hazarika said on 10/21/2009 4:17:50 AM
    is it necessary to take authorization or i can start this tattooing without any authorization?
  • 16. prettypunkey said on 10/28/2009 11:22:50 AM
    i think that 2 diva is rude as hell and i do think people should be aloud to open their own tattoo studio just because you don't have experience doesn't mean you don't want to learn, it is extremely hard to actually find even apprentice work let alone actual work and most tattoo studios don't even want women working for them. personally myself would love to have a studio and have a pro working for me. teach me
  • 17. T said on 10/31/2009 9:28:29 PM
    I love the bullsh*t that 'artists' give wanna-bes about years of training and how hard it is. Little egos need defending. Now great art isn't easy, but tattooing someone with a butterfly or flower, any monkey can do that. I started my shop with nothing but a months practice on pig ears and I am already one of the most in demand artists in the area.

    Don't be scared people. Think of all the morons who are tattoo artists. Are they smarter than you?
  • 18. Tattoo_chickypoo said on 11/4/2009 4:13:13 PM
    frankly i think thats a load of b.s. wut pretty punkey said, It doesn't matter what f*ckin private part you have, its sexist for someone to not hire you just b/c of what sex you are. If you are a true artist and have a skill for it, doesn't matter if you are a guy or girl...and if they don't hire a skilled female its their loss. I just got into tattooing a few months back and have designed tattoos for people since i was 16 years old. (now 25) ...I think it helps to have a female in the shop, some ppl feel more comfortable with an skilled female tattooist.
  • 19. Candie said on 11/11/2009 5:02:38 PM
    I'm looking into opening a small shop just room for myself and another artist here in Dallas, Texas need all the advice i can get. So if you got any I'm all ears.
  • 20. frank said on 12/6/2009 12:53:52 PM
    Eighth Element Tattoo: 8756 Warner Avenue., Fountain Valley, CA 92708 - USA

    Nothing is ever as easy as it may appear or seem to be! If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is!

    If opening a tattoo shop is so easy, then why are so many closing these days!? Just because you have the initial opening cost of at least $15,000 - don't forget the cost of maintaining it and staying in business if you have zero customers for a year.

    The best way to open a business is alone - no partners or investors - PERIOD! Someone, somehow will eventually take more from the cookie jar and things will go sour within partnerships - if you actually survive the first year or make any money at all.

    If you're not a tattoo artist or a piercer - you really have no business owning a tattoo shop. It's like owning a bakery and not knowing how to bake. What if your employee calls in sick or quits? Who's gonna be working now? And if the artist is there and you're not - someone's gonna short change YOU! Or worst - quit and open their own shop with YOUR customers! These are only a few things to keep in mind.

    It doesn't matter what you name your tattoo shop or how you decorate it - if you don't have customers, you're gonna lose money! And if you don't have workers that are happy, they'll leave. Simple as that. It's a gamble like stocks. Don't put your money into company stocks that you don't know or understand. Play it smart, save your money, time, and headache and go into business doing whatever it is you do best rather than trying to find an easy way of making money or worst - thinking you can do it fast! The best investments in life are in yourself - literally! Good luck!
  • 21. frank said on 12/6/2009 1:00:36 PM
    Hey Candie, The best thing for you is to find a shop and stay there for as long as you can. Whatever the cut is 50 - 60%, just be happy you're not the owner. It's not that easy owning a shop - you get BILLS! Lots of them! If the shop you're working at now as well as the other local shops are barely getting by or worst if you don't have customers - what makes you think by opening up your own shop, customers will come to you!? And realistically, most customers will not follow you if you relocate more than 5 miles. So stay where you're at, build up your clientele and save as much money as you can! This is the worst time to open shop - and many cities are so desperate to make money that they are allowing tattoo shops to just open up anywhere. And the sad part is, there are just as many shops closing too! Good luck.
  • 22. mohammed khalid said on 12/11/2009 12:52:46 PM
    new york, new york, usa. I have empty space. and i would like to hire a tattoo artist.
  • 23. Eric said on 1/4/2010 11:18:02 AM
    Was reading and saw comment from Candie who was asking about opening up a tattoo shop in Dallas, TX. Actually looking for 1-2 more tattoo artist for shop I am trying to open up in same area. I live in Addison, TX and have 2-4 other possible artist but want to keep my options open and looking for the best talent possible. Just let me know if you are interested, thanks and have lots of client base with the great work including portraits that my other guys do
  • 24. Elizabeth Taylor said on 1/10/2010 2:28:23 AM
    I am trying to find out the order to open the doors. I have the building. Now I need the order. CO, tattoo and piercing license, ETC. I am in Dallas, Tx. If anyone has any info please let me know. Thank u.
  • 25. kain said on 1/15/2010 2:36:42 AM
    i'm in the music industry and i wanted to open my own tattoo shop with a family member that has his profession as a tattoo artist i think that the previous people that were saying leave the tattoo business to the artist sounds like a play for job security to me and maybe that's why a lot of shops are closing and this is America and capitalism should be shared by all how love tattoos and think that they can bring something new to the industry. i mean i dont tattoo or pierce but i love the industry and i have great business talent to help artist and clients and i'm willing to learn but i know where my talents are and i dont want to be stepping on toes plus i got the money the artist family member dont lol
  • 26. danielle said on 1/21/2010 12:38:57 PM
    i think a lot of you artists are rude as hell, the problem with a lot of you artists is yea yall might have went through apprenticeship and became an artist but i know a lot of artists who work in a shop, and really dont even belong in there, because there work sucks, now i've seen a lot of awesome work come from people who may not be certified to tattoo but will beat a lot of you artists work any day. just because your an artist and work at a shop, doesn't mean you are good, face it and get over your ego trip, and stop hating on those who want to become artists and learn. you are too busy worrying about someone wanting to take away the business when you need to be concentrating on yourself, and to answer a lot of ya'll questions "YES YOU CAN OPEN A SHOP, WITHOUT BEING A TATTOO ARTIST"
  • 27. Miguel said on 1/28/2010 11:16:47 AM
    I have a question. My question is how to obtain permit/license with out apprenticeship? I have been doing tattoos for 6 years, self tought, and i have my own clientele/ regular customers and own most equipment already needed to start up. I have a game plan and goal which I meet every year, so how can I get the license to charge money and pay tax?
  • 28. zach adams said on 2/19/2010 11:51:28 AM
    dude the best thing to do is get the apprenticeship because it just adds to your background and it gives you a better name. i started when i was 17, tattooing my friends for free just to get practice i'm a great artist now and own my shop in downtown dallas its hard but just do what u need. dont DO NOT cut corners.
  • 29. Rachyl said on 3/5/2010 3:21:07 PM
    Anyone looking for an apprentice in Illinois? How old do you have to be in order to work at a tattoo shop/parlor? Sorry, I'm a little off subject.
  • 30. MIAMI in ny said on 3/8/2010 11:09:22 PM
    OK, I READ EVERYTHING WHAT EVERYONE SAID. NOW MY THOUGHT ON IT IS THIS. I AM AT THE POINT IN MY LIFE WHERE I AM READY TO OPEN, I'VE DONE EVERYTHING, LIKE TAKE THE TEST AT THE HEALTH DEP AND WENT TO GRAB A BUSINESS PERMIT. I GOT THAT NOW ALL I NEED IS FOR MY SHOP TO BE UP TO CODE. I FOUND ONE AND IT WAS A FORMER TATTOO SHOP THE OWNER LOST HIS LICENSE FOR TATTOOING A MINOR AND NOT SHOWING UP FOR COURT. NY HAS THE MOST REGULATIONS. NOW I'M READY, AND I INVESTED 5G ALREADY. EQUIPMENT EVERYTHING I NEED. I KNOW IT IS HARD TO GET CLIENTS TO FILL MY BOOKS SO I CAN MANAGE MY BILLS. BUT SOME DAYS YOU WIN SOME DAYS YOU LOOSE. IF YOUR WILLING TO DO IT. IT IS ALL WORTH IT. I'M TOO INTO IT I CANT TURN BACK. JUST FOLLOW YOUR LOVE FOR IT AND IT SHALL BLOSSOM. AND FOR THE COMMENTS ABOUT PEOPLE WHO WANT TO BUY A TATTOO SHOP AND NOT TATTOO, IF YOU ARE WILLING TO LET THE ARTIST WORK HIS BUSINESS MAGIC AND YOU STAND BACK AND COLLECT THATS FINE BUT IT REALLY SHOULD BE SOMETHING YOU WANT TO DO AND REMEMBER NOT TO INTERFERE WITH. I SHOULD OPEN UP IN 2 WEEKS, GOODLUCK TO THOSE WHO FOLLOW CAUSE REMEMBER EVERYONE WANTS A TATTOO. EVEN ARTISTS AND I TATTOOED A 74 YEAR OLD YESTERDAY SO BUSINESS IS IN HIGH DEMAND.
  • 31. will said on 3/14/2010 1:29:45 AM
    I want to own my own tattoo parlor for the love of tattoos and the lifestyle but I don't know how to tattoo. I would like to be very hands on in the shop, since I don't know how to tattoo would it seem like I'm "lowering my rank" if I was acting as shop manager? Might be a dumb question but was on my mind. Would appreciate some input, thanks.
  • 32. Papi said on 3/24/2010 2:40:24 PM
    I've been painting and drawing ever since I was six years old and although I loved doing it I have never really had the confidence to do anything with it other than the occasional portrait here and there. That is, until now. Now people go crazy when they see my work. (which is a great confidence booster). The thing is every time I show someone my work they ask me if I do tattoos. (Never done it other than design a few for friends) So I would like to give it a shot. So My desire to open a shop comes from a need to gain that experience from professional artists as well as learn how to do it right. Having said all of that...Can I be an apprentice/owner? On another note. I know several people who can't draw a stick figure but they do tattoos. They use patterns and trace and all sorts of WTF!! So I am not so sure about the term "tattoo artist" Just because you work in a shop doesn't mean you are an artist or have love for the game.
  • 33. cid said on 3/31/2010 3:48:29 PM
    I would love to do an apprenticeship. But how do you try and get someone to even give you a chance. I used to own a salon/skin care shop. HELL YEAH...It is so much harder to be an owner than an employee. The employees aren't the one going home at night trying to figure out how to pay the rent, phone, electric, supplies, permits, etc. IF anyone knows who may give me a shot. HOLLA
  • 34. julian said on 4/5/2010 2:04:58 PM
    i cant find any apprenticeships, i live in philly where there is plenty of artist, and tell them i'll do little chores around the shop
  • 35. Needle Richard said on 4/18/2010 1:35:51 PM
    There were times when I'd have liked working for a non-artist/owner manager, and have just been free to do the art. Twenty years ago I did my first apprenticeship out in San Diego, I paid the "old school artist" 2k, worked his shop cleaning, making needles, and drawing flash for close to a year before I was allowed to do my first tattoo. Most of what I learned there is now considered to be bad practices. I left with a letter and had to agree not to work in a competing shop in the area. Even after completing a apprenticeship it was hard to make a go of it. Eventually I got a full time day job, and went from tattooing in the evenings to just tattooing close friends to not tattooing at all. Now I'm returning to the craft. First of all, Tattooing "new school" is better, there are artist today that have changed the medium forever. Self taught is bad for the clients....but we're all self taught to a degree. Its by experience that you learn what really works. People will come in and ask you to do what will be ultimately a bad tattoo....and its gonna be what they think they want. If money is your motivation.....you can guess the rest. Anyway I am an artist, and I have nothing but respect for those who've been there and done it. This is America you're free to do what you want, just humble yourself a little, and take some free advice. If you want to be a "old school artist", get an apprenticeship. If you want to be a "new school artist" then get a apprenticeship with the best. If you want to staff your shop with artists that's fine....but get ready to give up control of your shop....because you won't have it. You'll be very dependent upon your people, so you'd better get ready to pay for the best.
  • 36. Kathy Constantin said on 4/20/2010 12:40:53 PM
    like most of the people who commented, I am only interested in owning the shop itself. This information is very useful and yes i would love to learn all the basics and health protocols but i am not interested in being hands on and tattooing people.
  • 37. Bianca said on 4/21/2010 5:17:37 PM
    I think if you make your own business it will make it more easier for you and everyone else. And when you work you would not have to listen to that person and you would only doing your own thing in your shop.
  • 38. trey said on 4/29/2010 1:30:03 AM
    tattooing has to be a passion and really have the will to want to do it i mean anybody can go to a school or apprenticeship you have got to want to do it and love doing it even pro artist still have something to learn its a never ending learning process i've been doing it for 2 years and i have pro. artist wanting me to give them advice.
  • 39. John said on 5/14/2010 9:23:00 PM
    Los Angeles California 90023. If i open a tattoo shop how much should i charge them for working in my shop how does the cash go. Do i get some cash for every tattoo or do i get a certain amount every month from them? How much is it for the tatto artist to work at at shop just a main cash balk part?????
  • 40. sheila said on 5/18/2010 4:53:34 PM
    i think that some of the comments that have been put on here are so rude! i have over 30 tattoos and i have so much respect for the artists that do them! i want to start my own shop even though i cant tat but not because i think its easy its because i love the environment and the artist n all the ppl you meet n because it would be challenging! i think anyone should do what feels right no matter anyone else's opinion!
  • 41. chris said on 5/20/2010 2:00:30 PM
    I HAVE A TATTOO ARTIST THAT IS VERY WELL KNOWN AND IS AWESOME NOT JUST IN TATTOOING BUT IN ALL FORMS OF ART. HE DOES A LOT OF FREE HAND WORK NOT TRACING. HE'S BEEN DOING ME AND MY FRIENDS FOR AT LEAST SIX YEARS NOW. HE JUST GOT FIRED FROM THIS SHOP WHERE HE WAS THE ONLY REAL TATTOO ARTIST. I'VE TRIED TO GET HIM TO OPEN HIS OWN SHOP BUT HE WOULD RATHER NOT HANDLE THE BUSINESS END SO I'VE BEEN THINKING ABOUT OPENING A SHOP FOR HIM AND I KNOW HE CAN BRING MORE ARTISTS IF WE NEEDED IT AND BETWEEN ME AND MY FRIENDS I KNOW WE CAN GET THE CLIENTELE. MY QUESTION IS WHAT DO I NEED TO DO TO OPEN OUR PARLOR. IF SOMEONE COULD PLEASE SEND ME SOME INFO ON WHAT TO DO I WOULD SERIOUSLY TRY TO DO THIS FOR HIM. AND I DO WANT TO LEARN TO BE AN ARTIST MYSELF. IF YOU HAVE WHAT I NEED PLEASE LET ME KNOW WHAT TO DO. MY EMAIL IS saintchristopher81@yahoo.com. I'M IN WACO TEXAS. PLEASE HELP ME.
  • 42. Cass said on 5/25/2010 1:23:28 PM
    Wow... Reading all the comments are kinda funny, and a tad bit saddening. that Frank dude, and the Miami in NY (or something like that) sound like they got their sh!t together. I'm planning on starting a shop here in the next year or so. It's an exciting decision for me, but at the same time its scary as sh!t. I'm an artist in Lafayette, IN, been tattooing for close to 9 years, and I'm a Registered Nurse working in one of the local Emergency Rooms full time. However, I like to think of tattooing as the full time job, because whenever I'm out of uniform, I have a machine in my hand and the tunes cranked up. I'm not famous, but I am well known in my city and award winning. I like to think I'm good enough to hold my own in most competitions, but in a business sense the competition is crazy. I agree with most of these comments,... anyone can tattoo, and most artists suck... blah, blah, blah. Who cares... we seem to be getting away from the point. It's all about starting a shop, right?

    Tattoo artist vs. Not a tattoo artist...The difference is an artist who owns a shop is bettering him/herself for him/her and his/her family, using his/her talent to pay the bills, and then some. No artist is ever gonna truely feel successful lining someone elses pockets. Most people think artists are "ballers", but people don't take into account the 50-60% commission. There's nothing wrong with loving tattoos, and trying to help out family by giving them a place to make their mark, but for the folks looking to make a buck, but got jack when it comes to putting it to the skin.... who's the one making the bank? Being an artist, with hopes of starting my own shop, and pursuing a dream..... I'd rather not compete with a bunch of folks who are only in it for the cash, and on top of that artists, of any media, feed off of each other (in an inspirational sense), so I would hope that any aspiring artist would rather work in the vicinity of someone who understands the skill. Everyday is a learning experience, in this industry, in all aspects art, medical, and business - and business should always fall last for anyone passionate about what they do..........
  • 43. Dirty Money said on 6/9/2010 10:38:48 PM
    i've been underground tattooing for 2 years and no i'm not a "fu**ing scratcher" i was trained by a professional that thought i had a good portfolio of sketches, once i learned the basics and how to keep a clean work area i started practicing outlines on friends for free until my work got better now i am doing great tattoos and i cant get hired by anyone they all talk shit like i was out there passing diseases or scarring people or they want to RE-apprentice me for 5 grand what do i do? lie to them by saying i was in a shop? open my own shop with no experience on owning a business? or just keep it underground until someone takes me under there wing
  • 44. tattoo lover said on 6/17/2010 7:42:44 PM
    We are starting a family owned shop in a rural area and have went through all the processes to start a business, have all the equipment ordered and even have a couple artist that have established clientele ready to work. My question is this: Do we have to have a licensed artist at the shop in order to open and run a tattoo shop??
  • 45. Owner&Artist said on 6/22/2010 4:33:06 PM
    Some of these questions are disturbing. If you are already in the process of opening up shop, you should already be familiar with your state's department of health regulations. Every state, county, city have different regulations. Get familiar with it if you're serious about this.
  • 46. mike said on 6/25/2010 1:19:00 AM
    HOME BREW TATTOO Williamstown Pennsylvania . first off all i'd like to say i started tattooing in prison got out and picked up an apprenticeship fairly quickly. after working for this shop for a little over a year with another artist and non tattooing owner i left because there wasnt enough money to go around while only making 40% off the work i was doing. so while at the shop i saved bought an autoclave chair ultrasonic tubes decent machines ect ect ect. and after my contract was up i left and took everything with me and i make a better living now than ever by traveling TO my clients and some travel to me here at home i have a nice sterile environment set up and make enough money to keep me in supplies. what i'm getting to is if your an artist be an artist owning a shop shouldn't limit you from doing what you love. and im not saying that a non tattoo artist cant own a shop, but there are better buisness investments than that because the tattoo trade rises and falls periodically and you could end up losing money. i love my trade and a studio on every corner in every street in america would bring a smile to my face but just know what your getting into before hand
  • 47. Julian said on 7/7/2010 7:25:09 PM
    I've read a lot of the comments. I'm looking to open a tatoo parlor. I don't tattoo but respect the art form. Can there be a balance of respect between the owner and the artist? If the facility provides all needs for the artist and the customer. I might know how to give tats, but I have no problem marketing and promoting the shop and making a name for everyone and giving to the tattoo community. ARIZONA INK COMPANY Phx, Az
  • 48. JezzyMarie said on 7/21/2010 1:50:24 AM
    Well I was looking into a tattoo shop but after reading a few of the comments, IF ANY ONE JUST WANTS TO HIRE ME! I can do that. I learned with my dad did it for a year from home then for a few months in his friends shop but now I'm back home miles away from there so I figured search for a job or open my own shop.
  • 49. jon f said on 7/26/2010 1:53:48 AM
    wow the issue was mentioned like 10 times and people still ask the same thing over and over- if you dont tattoo YOU HAVE NO BUSINESS HAVING A SHOP. you are essentially asking for pointers on how to start a business in which you will be making bank off others talent and dedication and anyone in the biz would not help you accomplish that. go find your own calling and leave us the f- alone...
  • 50. T said on 7/27/2010 6:16:34 PM
    To all of you who keep asking about hiring artists and just owning the shop, there's a lot more to having a great business than paying bills and in this case, tattooing people. Everything on the list of how to start the parlor does apply to you, except for getting the tattoo license, for now. There's a lot you can do as the owner to help the artist and make the clients happy. Stencils of designs need to be made, the designs need to be perfected, the clients don't want to sit there bored, and a lot of them are probably scared. You could offer drinks to keep them comfortable, give massages where the clients are to be tattooed to calm them and make them feel ready, and just talk to them so they don't get bored and leave. Working in a shop, you're going to learn a lot about the hygiene, taking care of the tattoo once it's applied, what the clients want, and maybe even about designing and tattooing. It's going to be a lot to take care of, but if you want a good business and to find an artist that enjoys working for (WITH) you, you need to make their job as simple as you can. You'll have a lot to take care of, but if tattooing is really something you're passionate about enough to want to open a shop, you'll think the work is worth it.
  • 51. low said on 7/30/2010 3:53:32 PM
    I just spent about 5 months at a shop owned by a couple and neither of them tattoo. I started to feel bitter towards them for WHOR*ING ME OUT.

    Let me rewind... I have been tattooing for a year now. I am self taught. I started as everyone does... on myself and friends. I dedicated myself to it. I drew everyday... I would offer PORTFOLIO PIECES for free on myspace.... and would you believe that with in 6 months I got hired at a shop. Yes - I was very honest about my experience level as there were certain styles I wouldn't be comfortable doing (realism).

    Well I stayed there for a few months but the business was slow and even though I was hired as an Artist / Apprentice I wasn't taught sh*t! So, I pack up and head out scouting more shops... I find another one and they hired me on the spot. I gave them the same run down... I have been doing it x amount of time - some things I might not do because I wouldn't be confident in my exp. level as of yet... OH NO PROBLEM... We think you will do well. Ok cool...

    Next thing I know they are pushing me into my room with people wanting exactly what I wasn't really cool with doing (FOR THE MONEY). Now... I pulled it off because I study styles and what not on a daily... I study all kinds of artists out there and watch their videos (Nikko Hurtado, Joshua C., Mike Devries, Brandon Bond, etc). Here's the kicker - they hired another artist who was always asking me if I wanted to do his work? Seemed like once a day - You wanna do this one man? WTF... and he wouldn't touch anything other than cartoony sh*t... So, he is off one day... a guy comes in wanting realism... I am starting to get a little comfy with this but I see what he is wanting to do and I tell the owner I am not the guy for that piece. He gets mad and I hear a door slam - some sh*t gets thrown around and I think to myself ---

    Oh here's another fun fact... he always wants to design our tattoos for us to do... HE DOESN'T Tattoo!!!! We do... so chill with that sh*t... So, the guy is still in the shop (the shop was super nice too... they dropped like 60 grand for something they rent lol) So I tell the guy as he was in my room - you know the other guy does great designs... even though he doesn't tattoo I think he's eager to help you design this tattoo... (He just pulls sh*t off of google images like most do) - Tell you what - go back out front and see if you see him and let him design it for you... the minute he walked out of my room - I packed my sh*t and bounced...

    What's funny about this? Well being that I have been eager to work with someone that is really good so I can finally have that mentor kind of relationship - I am working with a guy who has been tattooing for 5.5 years and I can't learn jack off of him... I am working for a spoiled a** daddy's girl who is never at the shop but owns it... she treats her boyfriend (the tattoo designer but doesn't tattoo) like a b**ch and he is there all the time. She won't even let him take a day off... how sad...

    So, when I left this place I have made a promise to myself... either work at a shop with a quality artist that I can actually learn something that I haven't already taught myself or better myself where I lack OR - Open my own shop... Cause see... you can hate on me for being self taught but guess what I did before I ever tattooed the first person... I got a business license... I got health dept. permitted and started a HOME Business as my studio was a divide part of the house. So, shops couldn't shut me down... and everything was legit... why did I do this? I couldn't get an apprenticeship anywhere because they already have apprentices... so I do sh*t on my own... I just hate that I moved out of that state or I would re-open that home business... man I was doing good there lol...

    I can now tell you that I have now worked with people that have years in the business and look like kitchen magicians to me... but they still have that big head ego thing going on... like they are a tattoo god or guru - just makes me laugh... why am I ranting... I don't know just because I have to let this sh*t out....NOT EVERYTHING IS WHAT IT SEEMS TO BE!!! If you want to who*e people out and make good money start an esco*t business... leave the art form to the artists... you will never be respected because you are a money hungry p*mp with no talent... JUST NOT COOL! That what I was trying to say...
  • 52. sam said on 8/18/2010 6:28:30 PM
    I have owned a tattoo studio for 10 years and I just a year and a half ago opened a second tattoo studio. I myself do not tattoo, I do however pierce and my wife does permanent cosmetics. I am at one of the shops every day. There are some really good tattoo shops owned by artists in our area and we got voted best in the county for 2009, I am very proud of that. Its like anything if you treat your people with respect pay them well and let them do what they do it works out great. What I do is pay for everything the artist needs..everything except a tattoo machine and power supply the rest I cover needles inks tubes supplies autoclaves stencil paper everything, all they do is show up and tattoo. I promote them and there work in the media, radio billboards and such. I pay liability insurance for them. I give them paid vacations and time off. An artist working at a shop another artist owns is competing with that artist I have seen that become a major issue at shops around mine and I have gotten some very good artists because of it. Each Artist at my shop earns 50 percent and some have weekly guarantees. While I can build a machine tune it and repair power supplies. My talent is not tattooing its running a business and providing a professional environment where an artist can grow and prosper.. So far it has worked out pretty well for everyone..but to each his own. The only respect I'm looking for is from our customers everyone else can kiss my a**
  • 53. Ironleg said on 8/19/2010 6:52:06 AM
    Phx AZ. I am presently researching and doing the planning for opening a shop with my brother who is an artists. I am not an artist myself but am very familiar with the trade. Although it is a bit of a gamble based on getting clients and advertising to set up a solid base it is not much different than any other business venture in that it takes proper planning and a good business sense to get off the ground. Saying someone shouldn't own a tattoo parlor unless they can do the art themselves is ridiculous. Has Jerry Jones every played pro football?? No but he owns a team. Yes I agree you must love and respect the art and the business. I have been taking my time and making sure I know the market in my area, which happens to be Phx Az. Here are some of the things I have done in preparation for opening a shop. I have researched for about 6 months and plan to start up in about 4 months. Researched the average startup, profit in relation to the monthly overhead for keeping the door open for first year based on location of the shop, number of artists and of course quality of work and patrons. I have all the information on the initial as well as continuing costs on licensing, insurance, medical and safety requirements to include health codes and legal statutes, expendable and fixed supplies and equipment and the average utility costs, ie electric, phone etc. I added a margin of error for repairs and unforeseen expenditures that arise from day to day operation. I contacted realty agents to provide me a list of possible leasing and buying options in the area I thought would be most beneficial and took into account those that were already set up for the needs of the shop and any costs related to remodeling to make them up to code. I have a list of suppliers for all the equipment and "tools of the trade". Researched advertising costs and options to include business cards for my artists and onsight and offsight advertising. In all this planning the most important thing I have done is sat down with the artists themselves and asked the questions. What do YOU need to work and how would YOU like to see things done as it pertains to hours, location, advertising, contracts for payments etc. At the same time showing them what my costs would be and helping them understand the business side of making a profit for them and myself. The idea is to get 4-5 artists who want to work for me and will be happy working for me and enjoy the environment they work in so I can maintain a long term client base and not have to worry about losing business by losing an artist who was unhappy. All that said I put start up between 20-25k which is a bit higher than a typical start up of around 15K due to the fact that I will also have merchandise to sell and do body piercing as well which adds to the start up. These are just a few basic start up things that may be of use to some of those asking questions. This is not my first rodeo, I have set up and sold other business ventures and am familiar with the routine of small business. I am starting this one because of my enjoyment and love for the art and the profit of the business is a benefit of enjoying what I do and being around like-minded people. I hope this helps some of you and good luck to those wishing to break into the business. The best piece of advise I have read in all of this is from SAM. It is the customer who keeps you in business not the artist, the owner or anything other than quality and happy customers who keep coming back and keep bringing their friends.
  • 54. Laurel Van Straaten said on 8/20/2010 6:10:45 PM
    Red Wing, MN. I am a tattoo artist trying to open a shop with my husband. But i believe it is the wrong place, wrong time and not enough money at all with only one investor on a budget. And my husband is all about going below the cut and making do, which is fine but i believe something should be done all the way right or not at all. I know most of the steps in order, but it all boils down to a money problem. And relying so much on an investor for every little thing is scaring me. I don't want to get into something that could fall apart so easily. My husband has been tattooing for 11 years and he had taught me everything i know for the past 2 years, besides the art part i was an artist before i met him. And just because my husband wants this so badly, do i let him fall into a business trap? Or convince him that we should get into someone elses shop? I desperately want to get out of Minnesota although my money is extremely tight! Anyone hiring? Oh and about having someone who isn't an artist run a shop, thats okay by me because as an artist all i want to do is art and tattooing. Do i really want to struggle over paperwork beyond my understanding, no, but it is a beautiful luxury owning your own shop.
  • 55. AK said on 8/24/2010 11:28:27 PM
    I live on the northshore of Massachusetts' It's not easy to open in the area that i'm in but I have a buddy that want's to make the dream come true and I'm gonna make it possible I would love support please hit me back with any help you can do .
  • 56. Anthony said on 8/31/2010 9:46:50 AM
    This is a sad, sad thread! Seriously, all of the NON TATTOOERS on here really should consider a hot-dog stand, pizza shop, head shop, record store, gay nite club, card shop!! All of you tattooers allowing this kind of crap should be ashamed! It's one thing for someone to "loan" you money to start, but keep them out of what they have no business getting involved in! If you want to start a business, start one you have first hand experience in!!
  • 57. MAG said on 9/2/2010 12:38:31 PM
    Nobody has the right to tell u what to do with your cash. If you have the balls to start a business, go for it. There are no f#@$ing rules other than your state laws in the tattoo business. This bu**$hit about owning a shop and not being an artist is a bunch of crap. Many artist in my area wouldn't have the slightest idea on how to open a shop much less the cash. Some can throw some damn good ink, but they couldn't sell $hit due to their arrogance. A high percent of artist who have come by my studio looking for work are a bunch of ex-cons who learned the trade while serving time. I can do tats, piercings, etc., but I choose not to. If I'm the f@#!ing owner of my place I can do what ever I want. Thats the beauty of being an owner. An old man like me has learned to listen to all the bu**$hit, but also have learned not to take everything to heart cause there alot of stupid people full of crap. Thats why I like the sticker that I had on my Hog which read, "you have to be young, dumb and stupid before you get old and WISE". You folks wanting to open up a shop you need to learn not to listen to everybody. Get your info. from your health dept. and start doing some research. While doing your research, you can decide what is it that your trying to start up. For example, do you want a big studio with private rooms (Plenty of space) or a barber shop style place where people are right next to each other separated by a curtain or a divider of some kind. Again, don't worry about negative people. Do your thing and live. Laterzzz, Texas
  • 58. eli said on 9/6/2010 11:37:39 PM
    mag is right your money your choice, only thing you have to think about is if you have one artist or an upset artist what do you do if he cant work. what do you demand if he wants different options once he starts. most shops are that the artist is not the owner its going to be a partnership otherwise why would he want to pay you
  • 59. neeta .r. pardeshi said on 9/11/2010 11:48:00 AM
    i am a tattoo artist. i am 23 yrs of age. i stay in mumbai @ i am opening a tattoo studio. how should i start my business. is there any seminars for tattoo so that i can gain more knowledge. thank u.
  • 60. doin-it said on 9/16/2010 1:48:01 PM
    The reason lots of tattoo shops go out of business is because they are run by artists. This is a BUSINESS that requires accounting, tax preparation, withholding, quarterly sales tax payments etc etc etc. Even if the artist is a business oriented person, when does he/she have the time to do the lousy legal and book keeping work? This business isn't like a kid's lemonade stand on the corner, you know!
  • 61. artistx said on 11/18/2010 11:20:33 AM
    p.s. i'm guessing the ones that are "complaining" about someone "skimming" has noooo clue about how to run a great business. customers come first! they are your bread and butter! remember that! i am both an artist and a business woman i WISH! i had someone to do the paperwork and i just do art! sigh
  • 62. SWANKZ1 said on 12/13/2010 1:07:04 PM
    SWANKZ INK STUDIOS, Louisville,KY. I agree w/ the guy who never tattoed and started a shop because of wanting to learn at your terms. I mean for real it makes you a better tattoo being an artists BI#$H for 1-2 yrs. NO thank you ...I have great work ethic and believe if you have time to lean you got time to clean. Now back to being an apprentice if you open up a shop,hire a Bad AZZ artist entrust that person and give them the responsibilities of running it like it their own! then advertise advertise advertise!!!!! That is the key and word of mouth is awesome and also giving coupons and gift certificates helped my bus/. out! SO dont get frustrated it is a gamble but if you can find the artists( treat and pay them GOOD),location, and an awesome atmosphere! You will succeed! Just because you're an artist at a tattoo shop also doesnt mean nothing!~ I know people who tattoo at your house and are forced to because every shop they work at cant run it long enough to keep them busy!
  • 63. Nick said on 12/18/2010 4:08:58 AM
    i dont understand why people are being so negative here, i plan on opening a tattoo shop in pasadena tx, and i wish the artists, or those who claim they are artist, would just take it as a complement, that some of us love tattoos and the tattoo industry but dont have the talent, i know i dont, i wish i did, but i have the means to open a shop and help the artists who do have the talent, and stop saying that the owners are only about the money, do the artists do it for free, no, its all about money, weather you have the means or the talent, we all seem to love tattoos, just have to find a way to make everyone happy, the artists get paid for their talent, and the owners get paid for funding the place, its a circle that can make everyone money if people would stop being arrogant and just take it as a job rather than acting like they are Picasso or someone famous, just take it as a compliment if someone who owns a shop gives you a chance
  • 64. TattooTommy said on 1/4/2011 1:23:56 PM
    Hey all. In my opinion (tattin since 1987), anyone who has a negative attitude or discourages anyone interested in opening a tattoo shop as a business is an idiot and probably gets treated like an idiot in the shop they work in. Running the business is completely separate from the artists/artwork, unless of course the owner is an idiot too. The owner/manager though needs to understand the artists and treat them well because the business needs to keep those who work hard, do great tattoos and aren't tardy, calling in sick and missing appointments, self-righteous fu**sticks like some of the guys I've worked with in the past, most of which by the way weren't very good and looked at tattooing merely as a way to get their math money. In my opinion (again) 85% of tattoo artists AND shop owners are a**holes and aren't worth their salt anyway. But then there are those who set themselves apart with their artwork and their great attitude toward tattooing, like Donovan Stringer, one of the best artists out there...look him up on Facebook! They understand that if they are to thrive, the shop has to thrive, so they understand that they do not punch a timeclock giving back to the shop is a necessity (one bad seed can rot the fruit). I plan to open a shop (probably many) after I retire from my current full-time occupation and I will hire quality artists and pay them very well for their experience and hard work, and I will shit-can those who have a bad attitude and leech off the business. Hopefully Donovan will run these shops with me...whatcha say, brother?
  • 65. rich said on 1/8/2011 1:18:33 PM
    Wow, lots of good advice. Lots of angry people out there. I want to open a shop in Michigan but want to learn the business first. I cant draw worth a dumb but my wife can. Anyway, Is it that taboo to have a business and not know how to give a tattoo? I have spent several years in prison and have seen some real sh*ty work. My goal is to become one of those shops that specializes in cover-ups. Is that a bad idea?
  • 66. BL Tattooz said on 1/11/2011 6:56:36 PM
    BL Tattooz houston tx is looking for experienced tattoo artist for info call shop # 713 242 9324 ask for juan
  • 67. Firestorm said on 1/31/2011 11:35:41 AM
    Houston, TX. You know, I have to comment on one thing, and that is the issue of non-artist owners. You see, I'm looking to help my daughter start her studio, but I am not an artist. It isn't that I don't love tattoo, and I would certainly ink others if I could draw worth a darn -- but I can't. I know my limitations. However, I'm a darned good business manager (while my daughter, who is a phenomenal artist, simply doesn't have the experience or resources to manage a place herself). That essentially makes me a "non-artist owner". I tell my daughter that she is the heart of the shop -- that she can focus on her art, and that I'll handle keeping the place together. To me, I think it matters WHY the owner is in the business -- it doesn't matter whether she can ink or not... if she's not in it for the love of the art, then she won't be a good owner... OTOH, whether or not she can ink skin, if an owner is in the business out of respect for the artists and love for the medium, that will show, and the fact that she's not a tattoo artist herself won't detract, IMO.
  • 68. Tattoos For Girls said on 2/3/2011 8:04:57 AM
    Why people (society in general) still pre-judge people with tattoos. girls commonly? I'm a twenty six year old F, have 11 tats, many of which can't be noticed on my day to day travels. 5 - 6 in the summer are pretty much constantly on display. I do not aim for attention and i also have a loving boyfriend Without Any TATTOOS .I get the impression that a lot of people believe that tattooed persons are blind, as we get stared at, even when we return a glance people keep on staring. When will society improve?
  • 69. inkerton said on 2/4/2011 2:37:57 PM
    in my experience as a professional tattoo artist and having worked for someone who does not tattoo or has never worked in the industry. people have no business owning a tattoo shop and trying to run the place if they have no experience in the industry. you will just end up pissing your "independently contracted artists off and most likely become the running joke amongst shops in your area.
  • 70. T Love said on 3/11/2011 9:48:48 PM
    Brookshire, tx..I want to tattoo, for profit..i would like to start in my home, well already have, a lot of studios dont want "scratchers". but it is so insanely difficult to find a shop willing to apprentice a newbie...but most professional tattooers started exactly that way. i am a natural free-hand talent, won awards for my art, oils, black and white, ect. i came to a new shop near my home here, met with them twice, offered 100.00 per week, just to watch and pick up tips..i am still waiting for their call-back..i can draw anything..i just need more experience on proper tattooing techniques, machine set-up, ect..i have tattoos, many..just need a chance.
  • 71. abhishek said on 3/24/2011 8:56:49 AM
    I want to open tattoo in mumbai so give me advice. How much investment the shop please reply me. Thanking you!
  • 72. dj dizzy dean said on 4/2/2011 8:06:59 PM
    i am a European 47 years old married to a Filipino at present we are both working in the middle east , i'm a dj not a tattooist ! i'm covered in tattoos ,love artists and the art .i'm thinking in 2 years to open a tattoo shop in manila , Philippines with 3 or 4 artists . i feel if i can find the right artists we can make it a company / business that they can call there own especially in a country where so many people have so few chances due to poverty to excel in to show there skills , Asian artists are brilliant. wish me luck !
  • 73. dink said on 6/28/2011 4:57:35 AM
    at the moment i am a student studying business and art,etc but in my coursework iv grown a big interest and passion to own and hopefully start my own tattoo studio within england bury st edmunds but i really cant wait i was wondering if it was possible to own the business and train to be an artist at the same time as long as i have a profession within the business as i am keen to start and i would like to be included within the trade
  • 74. thad clawson said on 7/1/2011 12:40:52 AM
    About to open up a shop whats the best way to work out payment for artist.My objective is for everyone to be happy at the end of day,any suggestion from any owners in the Charlotte N.C. area please contact me
  • 75. Tril_ink said on 7/8/2011 5:16:05 PM
    My husband is looking to open a tattoo shop in fayetteville NC, were trying to find some artists. if anyone interested shoot us an email.
  • 76. EastBayArtist said on 8/7/2011 7:04:15 AM
    I'm from the Bay Area. I'm really good at tattooing and Illustrating. I also have a lot of knowledge about the trade. I would like to Direct the shop and have a executive to finance it of course. My planned drawing is on paper of the look and feel of the shop, I know good times to open and close, how many people should work at a tattoo shop, ALL of the equipment needed and give great tattoos and send them on their way happy. Although, money for the locations that I want and money for real advertising is over my head.Check me out www.flickr.com/eastbayartist Running a shop isn't easy but it's not that hard either just gotta stay persistently motivated everyday from noon to night...Gotta love what you do.
  • 77. EastBayArtist said on 8/7/2011 7:25:56 AM
    Ohh sorry for the misspellings. I also wanted to add that Tattoo artists are for the most part paid 50/50 of the total cost of the tattoo quoted between the tattoo artist himself and the client. The price and description of the tattoo is put on a disclaimer which the client signs with a copy of their ID. So psss My Point is haha the owner of the shop needs to do nothing but act as a landlord making sure the shop is cleaned (get someone else to do it besides the artists, they have to make sure their entire work area is 100% clean. They're are actually plenty 18 Yr Old who would love to say they sweep their local tattoo shop. So anyway the shop owner pays the rent, helps to decorate the shop, helps to advertise and do the accounting. If you have top dollar you can hire some people to do it but it's best to do it yourself for a year. This way you know your not under paying or over paying your employees. The tattoo artists talk with the clients, draw the designs, stencil that design, prepares the working area, tattoos the client, discards the equipment (Bloodborne Certificate needed to fully understand the bio hazardous dangers) and to inform the client of how to take care of their tat.
  • 78. EastBayArtist said on 8/7/2011 7:35:16 AM
    Ohhh yeah, WORD UP #70 Nick. As-you-can-see it takes thick skin and a special breed to make a world class shop.
  • 79. EastBayArtist said on 8/7/2011 7:49:12 AM
    Oh my god I'm hooked on this...read everyones comments. Big Topic I see,"Do you need to be a tattoo artist to manage a shop?" HELL to the NO! haha Let me tell you something folks. Tattoo shop owners don't like competition and would hate to have another shop on their block so don't be fooled. Right there you got a little taste of the cut throat world of the Art business. As I explained before in some detail is that you need a good reliable executive, two artists or one Kick ass artist who can draw like the wind (me)and a floor manager usually a women doubling up as a piercer. If you have any more questions or would like to hire me as "1st Artist" 60/40 then give me a message at eastbayartist@yahoo.com P.S. Don't spend it if you don't got it. Peace
  • 80. Will said on 8/7/2011 2:19:07 PM
    "Seriously, all of the NON TATTOOERS on here really should consider a hot-dog stand, pizza shop, head shop, record store, gay nite club, card shop!!" Best Advice Ever. Passion for the art my a*s. Everyone is imagining big dollar signs thats all. Thank LA ink for that crap. No self respecting artist should work for one of these f**king parasites.
  • 81. EastBayArtist said on 8/7/2011 6:23:10 PM
    #87 WIll you making tattoo artists look hella dumb right now. Put the negative in drawing dude because no one wants to hear it. Where's your portfolio man!? What's the website? Lets see it.
  • 82. Scribbles said on 8/10/2011 7:00:45 AM
    First off, nobody can tell me that I am no artist because I didn't attend some pay before you play, if in deed you ever get to in the first place. Or, just get used like a second class citizen until you lose it and find yourself removed from the ancient order of everyday, same as every other man woman or child on earth, artists. I know who I am, and what I am capable of. I know that there is no moment in my life that I was not actively emerging myself in one art medium or another, and though I have had a fair amount of "formal" training, I learned the important parts not by watching, or listening... By DOING. The very first artists, they had no "Masters"... THEY PICKED UP THE TOOLS. THEY USED THE GOD GIVEN "GIFTS" OR "ABILITIES" THE ONLY WAY THAT MATTERS, WHICH IS HOWEVER THEY WISHED.

    What Artist, if any, would ever foolishly say that only until someone explained what a paint brush should paint, did they learn to paint? Please. Let's face it, and be honest (talking to you "pros") an artist isn't born with the knowledge and skill to craft a masterpiece the very first time he uses any of his "tools", i.e.: pencils, crayons, paints, clay, carving tools, a camera,... and, yes, even tattooing Irons,... Airbrushes... The list goes on and on and as an artist are you seriously going to tell me, (an artist and realist) that art comes naturally to an artist... Thus the title, and "abilities". Tools, to make what we see inside of us, they are what takes some getting used to. BY USING THEM!!! So, take myself for example. I have been tattooing for nearly five years now. Why? Not because I want my own TV show,... Because I have been an artist my entire life, and I was constantly seeking new outlets for my creativity to manifest itself into. I've done, and still do, most every medium. Some better than others, because I USED THOSE TOOLS more and then I was given my first tattoo gun. I researched, I tinkered with fake skin. Hitshare up every shop in search of anyone willing to drop bullshit long enough to see that I only wish to share, and honor a timeless and honorable craft. Not, take away business, or criticize the artwork that they have given the world.

    BOTTOM LINE IS THIS:
    Artists are born. Master Artists achieve such status with or with out help, because they try and they learn, and they develop and they love what they do.

    The first time I put needles into skin I felt an amazing and overwhelming sense of happiness that I had never experienced before. Sounds silly, but I knew, FINALLY, what I wanted to be when I grew up!.. I was 32. NOBODY can tell me I wasn't devoted to learning, practicing, devoting myself to the safest practices, and I am good. Not the best. I don't claim to be better than anyone else, but, I have a growing, and loyal client base that has been built on the quality of my work and the ethics I hold so true to.... (All but one,.. Pay you, before I play... Any other trade and you'd be tatting from prison for doing that to innocent and unknowing honest people that foolishly buy into the fact that YOU GUYS HOLD THE KEYS TO THEIR TATTOOING DESTINY!!! ps... get over yourselves, and relearn what you loved about the art form. Stop building it up to be what any artist can tell you it is not.
  • 83. tyrone gurule said on 8/10/2011 8:40:32 PM
    WHAT HATER is taking my post down but leaves negative posts up? No one wants to help a American Tattoo artist. Know what, if I get hated on again and again I'll just move from this country because that's all I've been getting since I moved back here from the Marines. Punks I'll take my talent to Japan where they love my shit. wwww.flickr.com/eastbayartist BItch
  • 84. Will said on 8/11/2011 5:03:54 PM
    @EastBayArtist I don't understand what you mean by your post. I was simply agreeing with the earlier poster that non-tattooers have no business starting a shop. btw, if thats your work on the flickr site, looks pretty good.
  • 85. Arsenal said on 8/25/2011 9:34:48 AM
    well aside from everyone having there own opinion about an artist or non artist owning a shop which shouldn't matter because your either looking on it from the inside or the outside but neither here nor there. I started doings tats about 2 weeks ago and progressed at a pretty good rate my only question? Is it possible to have a tattoo shop in a lofted corner of a warehouse with a snackbar/small restaurant in another lofted corner of the warehouse and a mechanics shop under neath.. if anyone can answer that question or point me in the direction i need to go to get the certs i would appreciate it.
  • 86. tattoophong said on 9/6/2011 11:04:52 PM
    I'm from Fresno, ca. I been a artist for about five years now. My question is, I want to open a barber booth and turn it into a tattoo booth. Would it pass health inspection? What can I do to pass to attain my business permit? The barber shop is open with three booth...plz help. Thank u
  • 87. tony said on 9/11/2011 3:24:38 AM
    i'm in the military, u.s. Army (31-b) joined for one reason..... the investment for my dream tattoo studio. when i PCS, i plan on opening a business in CA. my dreams will come true and no one will bring me down. (HOOah)
  • 88. twitch said on 9/21/2011 4:12:09 AM
    I own an extremely successful shop in Miami Florida leave it to the die hard enthusiasts.. and the true tattoo world.. scratches and fake imposters like Miami ink are the reason this industry is getting ruined... leave it to the pros.. and just because you can tattoo a butterfly or a straight line doesn't mean your a pro.. tattoo a 14 color transitional portrait and you have my respect and the 10+ year respect to be called a pro.. tattoo tradition has allotted people in there 50's too open a shop after 25+ years experience.. and those are the shops that make it
  • 89. Matthew said on 9/27/2011 1:44:45 PM
    Ok yes i agree with a lot of you about if you cant do the work(tattooing or piercing) and treat your workers as slaves but i do want to own a tattoo shop i'm not very artistic person but id like to learn to do piercing but i have a lot of buddies that do tattoos and dont want to work at a shop because the owners want to overcharge them on dues or whatever you call it a week. I wouldn't be one of the owners that only drops by just to get there money and leave because i would like to get to know the people that work for me so what can i do is it possible to actually own a tattoo shop and not be able to do tattoos as long as you treat your employs and follow state and county laws at the same time? Please respond at whiteboimatt74@yahoo.com
  • 90. atik said on 10/1/2011 11:33:31 PM
    Austraila, Adelaide northern suburbs i want to open a tattoo parlour.
  • 91. Blu said on 10/6/2011 8:38:47 PM
    I have a family member who has just moved here to Chicago. He is licensed and has gone through all of the certs. and training, he wants to open a shop here in the Chicagoland area, I have the means and he has the skill. I dont see anything wrong with investing in the Trade by opening a shop. I have always been involved in art and music, just have no drawing/tattooing ability. Opening a business managing the books I can accomplish, I went to college for Management. I agree with those that say keep the two separate, just because you are an artist and can tattoo dosent mean you know how to run a business, and thats what a shop is. I have great respect for the talent that some artists have, and would treat all my artists with respect. Often having a good business requires a variety of talent.
  • 92. Shad said on 10/21/2011 1:04:58 PM
    Hey my name is shad and i need some help by a professional or something, if someone can help message me.. Shad_308@hotmail.com
  • 93. Shad said on 10/21/2011 1:15:27 PM
    Ok sorry, i'm 15 and getting a tattoo next year when i'm 16 and i've been drawing for a while now hoping i will get a bit better at art to become a tattooist so if someone can help please do, thanks
  • 94. ispythat said on 12/2/2011 10:13:55 PM
    All in all I do agree that non artists should not open their own shops BUT there are exceptions to the rules. My father (artist) owned his own place and tattooed till the day he died. I spent many years in his studio watching and learning. I never went through a formal apprenticeship due to a neurological birth defect. I don't feel right in engaging in a profession where I have the potential to fuck someone up permanently because my body can shake uncontrollably. I am a shop owner and am very successful at it. I did not take over my fathers shop but I learned a hell of a lot from him and his many loyal artists. I only contract talented artists. I bust my ass day in and day out to provide the best customer service possible. I do know that I am at a disadvantage due to the fact that I dont tattoo but I make up for it in the fact that I have just as much if not more experience in a shop than everyone who works for me. I have to give more than someone who can do what I have to do but its worth it for me to be in a profession that I have a deep love for. I choose not to overstock the shop because I care about my artists making money not just myself. I am very picky who I let work in the shop, because I don't tattoo I am extra choosy about who I hire because I am unable to fix poor work. I have had to ask artists to do that for me but I always pay them out of pocket for their trouble. On the days someone calls in I can't fill a booth. I'm one of the LUCKY, VERY FEW non artist owners who has respect of artists and who can do what I do successfully but I don't suggest it to someone who hasn't been emersed in this culture. I know what is wanted and needed to keep everyone happy. I am not ignorant to the facts. I am the first one in and usually the last one to leave. I supply more than the average shop owner, everything infact except for machines, needles and power supplies. I do everything in my power to make my shop extra comfortable for my talent. I give everyone 60% because I appreciate they can do what I cant. I put thousands of dollars a year out on advertising, bonuses, etc but its worth it to me. I am lucky that I have the artists work for me but at the same time they are lucky to be working for me.
  • 95. Strenth in numbers said on 12/4/2011 4:25:54 AM
    Hello , I'm from tx and earlier this year I decided to open a tattoo studio. I'm not an artist but I went into a partner ship arrangement with a buddy of mine who possibly knew everything about tattoo shops. We decided to do this together And the partnership arrangement was he would run it as he knew how and I would take care of all the paper work and business part of the studio. Well long story short, he walked out never putting one dime in the studio after I had put in around 15,000$. We never really made any profit, just enough to make bills . At times, maybe 5 out of the 9 months we've been open I would still have to put money in out of pocket to make bills. Found out he was doing tattoos and piercing and keeping the money. Call me dumb but I thought I could trust this guy, anyhow, it really is a long story. But I'm still keeping this place open till I get out of lease and maybe shutting it down. I never thought of opening a tattoo studio before , it just happened and the way it came into play felt it was going to work. I guess u can say I bit screwed how it all went down but the whole experience made me and my wife appreciate the art of tattooing. She has actually started doing tattoos and quite honest they are pretty good. I want to keep this going for her but honestly I dont know if I can. I know there's a strategy to running a shop, and I thought by treating the people that work for u the way u would like to be treated if u worked for them would be enough?? Nope , didn't play out that way. Anyhow, if anyone has any helpful advice on running a shop ,I would appreciate it. Quite honestly, we have everything, we even had 4 artist at one time, it sucked bc we didn't have enough business for all of them. I'm just having a hard time hiring someone else if we stay open, I know I need to bc my wife can do smaller tats and piercing, she can't pay the bills. My so called business partner just made it hard for me to trust any artist now. In my 9 months of operating this shop, I've let the artist call the price on the tattoos but I'm thinking now I might have to call every piece and I don't know how that will make the artist feel
  • 96. jordan said on 12/27/2011 2:04:26 PM
    Opening my third tattoo and piercing shop.. I have a main artist already looking for piercers, tattoo artists, and apprentices for both trades. Swanky, non intimidating type individuals, who have good customer service skills. I realize that is hard to find in our field but so far I have had two very successful shops opened and still operating. Please contact me ASAP if interested. akuver15@gmail.com
  • 97. Tash said on 1/2/2012 8:14:29 PM
    I'm wanting to start up my own business but get my uncle who is a professional tattooist to work for me or even go partners and while his tattooing I want to learn to pierce and tattoo so we have the double advantage what is required to start a tattooing and piercing parlor?
  • 98. inkcrazed landlord said on 1/2/2012 9:55:26 PM
    I disagree with the comments of non ink slinging owners. I love tattoos, getting them and formally slinging it as well. I have several great artist who work for other shop owners but arent getting what they feel is a fair share of the cut. And dont have the money to open there own shops. So i have 3 artists that wanted me to open up my own shop and let them work it on a much better percentage 80/20 there part 80%. which is much better then the 50% they were getting. I dont tell them how to run it or advertise, i dont ask for free ink, or bring ppl by to get free work, but i do provide a rent free building with free heat and utilities. My 20% is ONLY to cover the cost of the shop. There for i own and dont sling.
  • 99. Doc Kaos said on 1/3/2012 2:36:05 AM
    I am a licensed tattoo artist in the state of new mexico. want to manage a shop but not own it. prime location on historic rout 66 need owner.Have team of licensed artists that wish to shop shuffle. contact me if your interested https://www.facebook.com/DOCKAOSTATTOOS
  • 100. Rob said on 1/9/2012 12:38:02 AM
    #103 Strenth in numbers... Where are u located? Send me an email.. .customz101@yahoo.com
  • 101. lisa said on 1/9/2012 11:56:49 PM
    I am looking for a partner ASAP for my tattoo shop. I just need 3K that is all and some good artist. Any takers can contact me 541-606-7646. located in Salem, Oregon
  • 102. lisa said on 1/10/2012 12:00:50 AM
    would a tattoo artist prefer to pay a monthly space rent or give a percentage to the owner of the shop? Please reply to my email lisabossgirl@yahoo.com
  • 103. Ajaha J. said on 1/18/2012 1:54:03 PM
    Well i'm 17 years old, and i am in the process of writing my business plan to own my own shop in las vegas NV. Looking at all these reviews- makes me even more confident that this is the industry for me. I have 23 tattoos so far. I plan to open a shop that’s the size of a local Walgreens and I have a lot of great gimmicks that’s gonna blow my customers minds. CANT wait to get started. But of coarse a business cant run off good ideas if there's no one with money willing to listen. I just need to get the start up price. But how if i'm not suppose to use investors? banks? loans? grants? what else? Because honestly I was gonna do the whole shark tank thing and get an angle investor.
  • 104. nicholle said on 1/19/2012 11:55:33 AM
    i have some friends who are really good at piercing and tating and they said that they will work with/for me, the only thing i want to do is own the business and do all of the drawing. is this possible and if so how do i get to where i can do this?
  • 105. Nick beginner adviser said on 2/6/2012 2:53:16 AM
    each artist have to have their own permit. If the artist is working with out a permit and you try to work them under another artist's permit they can shut you shop down and fine the artist without the permit a fine up to $5,000.00 and the will loose or not be able to obtain a license and may serve time up to two years in jail. The licensed artist letting them work under their permit can also be fined $5,000.00 and serve time to up to two years in jail.as the owner of the tattoo parlor they may also fine you and your tattoo parlor a fine up to $10,000.00 and or make you serve time up to five years in jail or prison and shut down your shop for good if you attempt to do this for this is unlawful, take it from me for I am an experienced lawyer and have many cases pertaining to this charge.
  • 106. Low said on 2/28/2012 11:21:32 AM
    LOL... I came across this page somehow and forgot that I posted on here back in 2010... well it's 2012 now and I have been working at the same shop since my last post... WANNA know why? Because the owners are Artists... because the understand what WE go through, deal with, can and can't do as artists. Our crew pushes each other to be better. We are learning from one another. One day I will open my own shop but I have only been tattooing for roughly 2.5 years now... I am doing well for myself but even I know I am not 100% where I need to be to have my own shop... and all you none artist di*dos still want to "own a shop" without any knowledge to our industry... wow... and no NY INK - LA INK and INK MASTERS doesn't mean you understand our business
  • 107. Heather said on 3/15/2012 10:52:29 AM
    RottenINK, Pennsylvania. I have a serious question, here. If I'm certified for BBP and CPR, insured under the shop, know how to use the sterilization equipment, put together/take apart the machines, clean them all, know what equipment to use for different tattoos, etc. and am perfectly aware that in my county/state, you only need those two certifications plus a business license (for the shop owner, not me), then why is my apprenticeship under the shop owner herself being laughed at by local tattoo shops? I was called a kitchen wizard and told that I cannot order green soap or supplies unless I am a professional tattoo artist. The owner of the shop I am training under has worked in the business for 10 years, and has all of the proper certifications, licenses, etc. The tattoo shop that made fun of me also said that you need a tattoo license and certification in our county/state, which is a flat out lie. You only need those things to do the actual work if you do piercings in this county/state. So why are they treating me like this? I'm a professional, or at least training to become one, and yet I get laughed at and lied to. The shop that said these things to me also has apprentices training for them... Are they just mad because I'm the competition? I mean, we're all artists here. Why are they treating me like crap in other shops when I ask questions? It got so bad that I had to swear never to go back to that shop again, and that is where all of my tattoos were previously done. ALSO- most tattoo artists won't work for someone who doesn't tattoo or do body modifications of some sort. It would be like working in a bakery and having your boss be a dentist who knows nothing about baking.
  • 108. YoungDreamer said on 3/18/2012 3:46:33 AM
    hi im 15 years old and i live in grand rapids Michigan. I really love the art of tattooing and i wish and hope that one day i will be able to become a tattoo artist. i want to get all the proper training so that i may become a great tattoo artist but sometimes lose hope since i was born in mexico therefor been illegal in this country and thinking that no pro will give me an apprenticeship because of it . i am also an ex gang member and i have witnessed people getting tattoos made by homemade tattoo machines even i have tatts made by these machines. i have a tattoo kit with professional equipment and i practice my linework and shading on pig skin(still have not tattooed a person). i believe i have potential but Still have doubts on perusing this dream or if i should just give up on it. i dont have the money to pay for an apprenticeship so i practice alone. i dont want to be a "scratcher" but i dnt want to be a pro tattoo artist's reject either. can someone please give me some advice
  • 109. Javier Eastman said on 4/13/2012 1:39:21 AM
    Most people with body art are proud because the art has meaning or a story. Many of the people I know including myself are happy to answer questions or even sometimes explain why a certain art piece was chosen. So if you are curious ask, it could put your questions to rest. Just know that many people before getting tattooed had a lot of the same questions as you and generally will be happy to describe the procedure to you. As for if it hurts I would equate it to a sunburn, But each person is different and a professional artist can help you know what areas are the most and least painful.
  • 110. Danya RedLegs said on 4/30/2012 10:13:03 AM
    Leave it for the pros you damn idiots! Stay out of our industry you want a bee's! Go get an apprenticeship..scrub some toilets and floors and earn it! Everyone wants to be a tattoo artist now.. why because they see the fast money and think they can do it, but really you can't do it so go back to your day job and stop hacking ppl up! Everyone in this industry really needs to stop letting every emo kid and everyone else in..
  • 111. rahul shelar said on 5/17/2012 3:41:13 PM
    i am a good at tattoo n i want to open a shop but i dont have that much capital. if someone in need of an artiest plz let me know. i'll not prove myself wrong. dats all i can say.
  • 112. Ritchy Mannick said on 6/15/2012 3:10:59 AM
    Hi am a tattoo artist from Mauritius. If anybody is interested to hire a tattoo artist, i may be helpful to you. If you want to see some of my work so click on my facebook album... https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.334457473254927.90954.100000720327018&type=3
  • 113. polotatts said on 11/27/2012 3:52:41 AM
    Hi all i'm from Dallas i'm a tattoo artist and I'm looking for work in a tattoo shop in dallas area I got my own equipment. And portfolio if anybody know some place please let me know at ( polotx23@Yahoo.com
  • 114. polotatts said on 11/27/2012 3:57:56 AM
    If you are interested to hire a tattoo artist in dallas area please let me know at polotx23@yahoo.com) also u can see some of my work at at facebook (polo do tatts)
  • 115. Irwin said on 2/8/2013 11:44:52 AM
    Opening a tattoo shop in Montreal in the comming month, i'm looking for artists. interested send me a mail irwinpalencia@hotmail.com
  • 116. ali said on 3/23/2013 2:17:53 AM
    hi i am small artist i need idea for color filing noleg how to get
  • 117. matt said on 10/14/2013 8:20:28 PM
    my fiance and I want to start our tattoo business but we want to start small then go big hopefully but also have healthy competition but we are looking for either to get a loan then buy or rent to own a parlor so if anyone but i also have a good drawings but i want to get a little better at it and i was wondering if i could also become an apprentice it ll be nice to become an apprentice of a pro tattoo artist or at least a pretty good artist that will give me both of bad and also good criticizing so if anyone is up for me to be they're apprentice email me back as soon as you can please and thank you for your time
  • 118. Crugs said on 10/15/2013 9:49:09 PM
    Here's the thing...Tattooing has changed,like it or not it has become mainstream and it seems it will continue in that direction. Back in the day there was fierce competition between shops (to the point of sabotage) mainly because customer supply was limited. Now it's seems that more people are Tattooed than not so there are a LOT more clients out there, to the point were a LOT more shops should be able to flourish. That being said being professional or being a scratcher has nothing to do with being in a shop or not. I've seen Tattoo shop owners/artist who don't follow proper sanitary procedures and whose work looks as bad as their dirty shop. And I've seen under ground artist who take Tattooing extremely seriously from both a health/safety standpoint and an artistic standpoint, and who's home studios are cleaner than a hospital. Bottom line is if you respect Tattooing, the history of it, where it's at now, and where it SHOULD be going, you more than likely will succeed in the industry. If you want to be a rock star, are in it for the money, and want to jack off your ego, you more than likely will fail. I apprenticed at a shop for six months and my mentor was a dick and he ultimately ripped me off and split town. But during that time I learned a lot but ultimately I learned the most from getting in there and Tattooing. A good point I read on here is that If you don't Tattoo and decide to open a shop you may have communication issues with the Tattooers you hire and a shop is probably better off with a Tattooer/owner even if he/she mostly concentrates on the business side of thing and only Tattoo's occasionally. Tattooing has always been about respect and always should be.
  • 119. wezzy said on 10/23/2013 4:44:44 PM
    You can own a shop with out working there I own 3 shops and have never had a problem and my 3 shops are nicer and cleaner then most if not all the people shops on here .I had the money to buy 3 very good locations and supply my workers with the best tools and space .so bs u font have to work to own
  • 120. Young Chard said on 12/29/2013 1:14:49 AM
    You Have to know how to draw anything before you can even tattoo someone. . it's all about loyalty, love, management and organization . When it comes to tattooing, its something you have to be patient, comfortable and passionate about. Something you think about when you wake up and before you go to sleep. There are plenty of different artist out here trying to do the same thing. professionals and ammetures. Its all about location. Love your enemies and keep them close, No one is better than the next man it is just how hard you strive and work to be labeled an artist. You have to want success more than you want sleep because the only thing that comes to a sleeper is a dream. Put God 1st, 2nd & 3rd and everything will fall into place. - King Beasley
  • 121. sandra said on 8/10/2014 4:29:22 PM
    the way I see it is at the end of the day is if you don't pay someone that has nothing to do with the tattooing , you pay half of your wage to another tattooist anyway so whats the difference what gives other tattoo artist the right to have half of the wage of the person working for them they also pay there own tax I could open my own shop for less than working for another tattoo artist ! simple non tattoo people should make sure they buy everything there artist needs pay for there insurance etc and have a wage guarantee.
  • 122. tony said on 9/21/2014 4:04:59 PM
    I own a tattoo shop(non tattooist) & have a partner(tattooist). i works perfectly. yeah i could tried 2 run it on my own but i would failed. i put up 25k & my partner put up 0. people told me i was crazy. they said i have everything 2 lose. my partner was in a partnership with a complete self centered(the worst animal on the face of the earth)NON BUSINESS MINDED RUN A GOOD THING IN2 THE GROUND DOUCHE. i barely even knew my partner but had a sit down breakfast, a hand shake & that was it. if u have an ego is where u will fail. we all can eat from the same table. we have an LCC business & no one is gonna screw no one. i give him 80/20 split on tats. & 50/50 split on the business after my 25k is paid back from the business. we've been open 6 months & i'm almost 1/4 paid back. 2 yrs should b the goal mark 4 my capital return. my partner never would have had the opportunity 2 be in the position hes in without me, just as i the same. people tell me again i'm crazy for not owning it out right. my mind is the business his is the tattooing. its not a big booming business 2 begin with. its a small business. if i walk away with 15-20k a year where the hell could i make that in small stock investments(NOWHERE). it all works out great. we tell each other everything that goes on everyday when the other one isnt there. he deals with no BS like he should, i deal with the business. a tattoo shop runs it self without me being there all the time(im a full time paid fireman).if my guys have all the supplies they need then i need not worry.& if it wasnt 4 my partner & r guys i wouldnt b able 2 make the money im gonna make on my business investment.im covered in tats & love everything about the business except 4 the fact that i have no desire or talent 2 even draw a stick figure.so 2 all who said u shouldn't own a tattoo shop if u dont tattoo,fuck u.its a business & we successfully treat & run it that way.how big does a persons yacht have 2 be?we both make it work ridin' each others coat tails.
  • 123. Richard Allen Lao said on 11/17/2014 2:55:53 AM
    i'm student. and planning to make a feasibility study for tattoo shop.. any help or advice? thanks..
  • 124. Thomaslee Lunsford said on 12/29/2014 2:30:43 AM
    Hooligan Ink Tattoo Studio 1904 North St. Logansport, IN 46947
  • 125. GK said on 12/29/2014 9:22:21 AM
    Hey, Heres some in depth info for everyone here looking to open a tattoo shop. About myself. I'm a tattooist of 9 years and last year i opened my own studio with a fellow tattooist from the area (who has been tattooing for 5 years), we are both established and have consistent custom. Before i opened my own shop last year i had alot of industry experience, i served a 2 year apprenticeship, managed, ran and worked a studio for 4 years for another person which did well, then managed and worked a studio for 1 year for a well known established chain of tattoo shops before working at their main city centre studio for a further year. For a simple startup tattoo studio you are looking at spending around £5000 or roughly $8000. This includes your shop deposit with will be roughly £1500 up front and your first months rent. before you even start decorating your studio your looking about £2000 to get the shop. the other £3000 will go on equipment (autoclaves etc) , renovation, licensing, medical waste contracts etc. If you are a tattooist looking to open their first shop then skip the next part and see my monthly breakdown below of costs. if not and you are looking to employ a tattooist then read on as i will explain the risks and costing involved.

    Owning and running a tattoo shop is expensive. in the current industry climate it is very unlikely to find any established artist who will work in any shop for somebody who isnt a tattooist, simply because there earnings would be cut in half every week. For an established tattooist its easier and more economical to just open their own studio. Any tattooist who would be willing to work will likely do so for a year or so then leave to open independently. this is a huge problem for an owner because they will take the business with them.

    The tattoo industry at current is saturated. There is more studios opening now than betting shops and supply is beginning to outweigh demand. for a tattooist like myself, the only way to survive is to take 100% of the cashflow. i could not afford to split my wages with a second party.

    There are entrepreneurs opening studios and doing well however, but only in high traffic city centre areas and you will generally find artists willing to be employed in a centre as demand is higher. But to be successful doing this you need to have a very high budget which can easily roll into high end 5 figure costs. You need to have a high advertising budget and must be employing the best artists who will demand a higher cut. The only studios i've seen doing well in city centres are either collectively owned by a number of artists or owned by somebody with a very big wallet. As far as costs go for a small studio employing 2 artists, monthly breakdown.

    Electric: £50 p/m
    Shop Rent:£600 p/m
    Water: £30 p/m
    Ink-Needles-Other: £200 p/m
    Medical waste: £50 p/m
    Council waste: £40 p/m
    Advertising-web hosting: £50-60 p/m
    Health licensing: £30 per artist p/m
    Business rates: £100 p/m
    Tax (based on minimum wage): £60 p/m per person
    You also have to factor in general costs, up keep/ travel/ lunch dinner/ insurance/ collateral budget.

    This is the general average monthly costs for a small tattoo studio. An average tattooist in a small studio at current will generally take around £350-£400 a week, this changes during off season (winter) from october to march the takings can fall dramatically. I have a consistent custom base and make around £250-£300 p/w during this season. it isnt uncommon to have a a bad week either where you can take very little, expect one of these every 5 weeks or so.

    If you are employing a tattooist they have to be decent, if you employ a bad tattooist or below average they will have lower rates or will give your studio a bad reputation. with the competition in the industry at current people will take there business elsewhere if they dont think the work is up to scratch. i see below average tattooists charging £20 p/hour in studios who used to charge £60 per/hour. and the best ones in the local area are dropping theres to £50 p/hour. which is a dramatic drop from the average £80 p/hour 5 or 6 years ago.

    You then have to factor that a decent tattooist will not work for any less than a 50% cut and will likely demand higher. if i had to work for a studio i would need 65% to cover my outgoings.

    So look over this information and weigh everything up. i dont have a problem with a non tattooist owning studios but they have to do it properly or it will fail, and as somebody who watched several studios, owned by people who have been in the industry for years fail, i can tell you its not a pretty thing, people can end up in huge amounts of debt. And its very very easy to lose money with a tattoo studio if you dont know what your doing, or even if you just have a bad season.

    So my advice would be to wait a few years until the industry is stabilized before opening a studio, because in the current climate its not a good idea and could wipe your bank account clean. If you are going to go ahead then make sure you find decent artists, and have a sizable collateral budget at hand as you should expect to make a loss for some time until the studio is established. And also..expect to be constantly hiring new tattooists because if the money drops they will walk and if they're not making money the business will be making debt. Thank you :)
  • 126. duke said on 2/13/2015 2:48:37 AM
    If someone is looking to open up a tattoo shop in cincinnati And has the founds to do it. I'm willing to bring my skills and customers to the shop. I've been tattooing for 21 years and i know everything there is to know about running a shop from front to back. i was a partner in a shop in K.y but the guy was a fake so i left. I can say in the 60 days i worked there i made 29,000 dollars and i had the shop doing really good. So if anyone is looking for a partner and they want to make a lot of money. Please be happy to email me @ dukedidthattattoo@Gmail.com and we will get rich...
  • 127. vikdabrik said on 6/15/2015 7:10:16 PM
    tony , good stuff . i'm wondering how is your business going?
  • 128. D said on 9/2/2015 5:05:25 PM
    I own a shop and I am not an artist. I am a business and marketing expert. Just as the artists that are in my shop are experts in tattooing. I am in my shop 10-14 hours a day 6 days a week. It works and we are successful because we all do what we are good at. Not 1 of my artists have any issue with me not being an artist and the artist that started the shop and sold it to me is happier than he ever was having to deal with the business side of it. So it does not matter whether you are a tattoo artist or not to own a shop and it shouldn't.
  • 129. Qiniso said on 11/21/2015 9:46:17 AM
    South Africa , Ulundi. I have been thinking of my own tattoo parlor since a long time. Can you help me in setting up my own parlor?
  • 130. Tracy said on 1/28/2016 8:25:10 PM
    Hi My fiancee started tattooing in prison he has another three years to go. He is an amazing artist (drawings) My ? Is when he comes home north California he wants to be a tattoo artist this is his passion. So to become an apprentice does he pay a business to take him on? How does it work in California. kind regards Tracy
  • 131. Baskara said on 3/14/2016 12:40:58 AM
    I need one partner to open a tattoo parlor in Bali for artist will find soon anyway its quite a lot waiting list already interested?Feel free to contact me.Lets make some ink in bali.Nandabaskara91@gmail.com.
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