How Much Do Tattoo Artists Make?

Are you aware that there are over 31,000 tattoo businesses across America?

The demand for talented tattoo artists will always be high since people love expressing themselves through this body art. From sentimental quotes to stunning scenes and even silly pieces, tattoos have been cherished for thousands of years.

If you love creating art, then you might be wondering, “How much does a tattoo artist make?” There are many different factors that will determine your earning potential as a tattoo artist. Read on for the ultimate guide on their pay.

Self-Employed Vs. Employee

Being an independent tattoo artist makes it possible to earn a lot more money, but you’ll also be in charge of covering every expense as well. From renting out a studio space to buying tattoo equipment and more, you need to make sure that you have a strong business plan before you go solo.

This is why many beginner tattoo artists work for others first. Depending on your unique arrangement, you may be able to set your own rates and share a percentage of your earnings with your employer or get paid by the hour. You can learn about tattoo artist pay per hour here.


Another factor that has a big impact on a tattoo artist’s salary is the location of the studio. The best studios will be in a high-traffic area, but there may be other great studios nearby to compete with. Locations that have a higher cost of living will also have a higher salary to balance things out.

If you work in an affluent area, then you can also increase your chances of getting great tips after you finish each piece.

Tattoo Artist Experience and Marketing

The longer a tattoo artist has been working, the more they’ll be able to refine their style and skills. They can even master more advanced techniques that can draw in larger crowds. Earning less when you first start may be discouraging, but it’s helpful to always keep looking toward the future.

Even if you are the most talented tattoo artist out there, not many people will know about your work unless you market your abilities. Being active on social media, starting a referral program, and offering cool deals are a few tricks you can use to help spread the word.

Online Reviews

Since tattoos are permanent, customers want to ensure that they won’t regret getting their work done. This means that they’ll spend lots of time researching local tattoo studios to find a business with a glowing reputation.

If you can secure lots of high ratings online, then more customers will funnel in over time. 

Now You Know How Much Tattoo Artists Make

It’s difficult to give an accurate salary that can apply to every tattoo artist out there since there are so many factors. After reading this guide, you can have a better idea of what to expect. It’s best to research local averages and adjust that figure based on these other factors.

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