How Much Do Tattoos Cost: 6 Tips For Getting The Best Price For A Tattoo

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Before you decide to get a tattoo, it is important to be prepared for a lot of things, from pain to the cost. Since a tattoo is as permanent body art as it gets, it is essential to invest in a good tattoo artist and know the average cost of the tattoo you want to get.

So, without further ado, let’s take a look at how much tattoos cost, what factors affect the price, and what designs will cost you an extra buck.

Tattoo Cost: 6 Basics And FAQs

Tattoo Cost FAQs
Image Source: Saved Tattoo

1. What Are The Starting Prices For Regular Tattoos?

Every tattoo shop has a set price for a tattoo. The starting prices depend on the tattoo shop and the quality of their offer. So, in that sense, you can expect to pay from $50 to $150 as a starting price for simple tattoos. The pricing, of course, depends on the size and the placing of the tattoo, as well as the detailing.

However, you can expect to pay even less as a starting rate, since the price does depend on the tattoo artist as well. But, the more experienced the tattoo artist is, the higher the starting price. You can also expect some tattoo artists to charge you by the hour as well.

2. What Are The Starting Prices For Simple Tattoos?

When it comes to simple and small tattoos (like a simple outline), the starting price varies between $60 to $100. The price counts for small, simple outline tattoos, that include only the black color and maybe some shading or few details. For example, for the starting price, you can get a tattoo like a heart, a star, a small ‘name’ or ‘word’ tattoo, etc.

3. What Are The Most Expensive Tattoos?

Some of the most expensive and time-consuming tattoos include the ones called ‘sleeve tattoos’. These tattoos are called the ‘full back’, ‘full leg’ or ‘full arm’ tattoos, obviously depending on the body part they are to occupy. These tattoos can take up to several months to finish, and if they include color and shading, they can even increase in price. Of course, bear in mind that the final cost of a full sleeve tattoo requires a tip for the tattoo artist, which is usually 15% to 30% of the final cost. But, surely, the most expensive tattoo one can get is a full body tattoo. The price for such an endeavor can go higher than $100,000, not including the tip for the tattoo artists themselves.

4. What Is The Letter Tattoos Starting Price?

If you were wondering whether a letter tattoo will cost you less than a regular one, then bear this in mind; one short word tattoo will cost you between $50 to $200, depending on the size of the letters as well as the color and overall design. The lettering tattoo isn’t usually charged by letter, but the price does increase as the size of the tattoo or the word increases.

5. Which Factors Dictate The Tattoo Price?

  • Artist expertise and experience – the higher the expertise and experience of a tattoo artist, the higher the price of the tattoo! That is the general practice of seemingly every serious tattoo shop. So, if you think getting a tattoo is expensive, remember that the tattoo artist is responsible for putting a permanent piece of body art on your body. So they better be charging you for that, because chances are they will be exceptional.
  • Tattoo shop location – if you plan to get a tattoo in New York City, you’re gonna pay up to five times more than for the same tattoo in a smaller town or rural place for example. The reason for that lies in higher costs of living and place renting in large cities compared to small towns. Moreover, high-end tattoo artists tend to work in large-city tattoo shops, which also determines the starting cost of a tattoo.
  • Design complexity – if you want to get a tattoo that has a complex design, with a lot of detailing, shading, and a complicated color scheme, then the tattoo will be much more expensive than you’d expect. Furthermore, things like size and tattoo placement also tend to play a role in the final cost, so try to get a tattoo in simpler locations (like the forearm) if you want to save some cash.
  • Colors – the cheapest tattoos are the ones with only black and white coloring. So, let’s say that the starting price for a tattoo is $100. Well, the same tattoo, only colored, can cost double or even triple the starting price for a black & white tattoo.
  • Size – bigger tattoos require much more work from the tattoo artist. They are time-consuming and require the artist’s full commitment. That is why they tend to be much more expensive since you’re not only paying for the tattoo, but also the artist’s time and expertise.
  • Body placement – the tougher the tattoo placement, the higher the price; that is a basic rule for every tattoo cost. In case a certain body part or area requires proper care and skills, it means that the tattoo artist needs to have a lot of experience and expertise, which costs money. Getting ankle, wrist, breast, nipple, face/lip or private part tattoos is rather costly, mostly due to the sensitivity of the areas, as well as the design or size of the tattoo.

6. Tips For Getting The Best Price For A Tattoo

Ask around; talk to your friend and family and get some recommendations. See if they’re satisfied with their tattoos in regards to quality and price.

Talk to tattoo artists who are new to the game; the majority of new tattoo artists tend to give discounts to acquire experience. However, check their work and see if they’ll you a good tattoo.

Look for a tattoo artist that will offer you a flat rate and not add costs with every hour of the session.

Try to get all of the tattoos at once; if you can handle the pain of course. Getting tattoos in a bulk might save you money since tattoo shops tend to offer discounts in such cases.

Negotiate the price of the tattoo with the artist. If you’re getting a simple tattoo, or the first tattoo of your life, try to use it as an advantage and ask for a small discount.

Ultimately, if you want to get an awesome tattoo, you should be aware that it will cost you a lot of money. Since it’s something that will sit on your body permanently, don’t play around and try to save up for the tattoo. Talk to a tattoo artist, see how much it might cost you, and start saving!

Tattoo Cost For Every Body Part

Tattoo Cost For Every Body Part
Image Source: Saved Tattoo

Full Body Tattoo

If you want to get a full body tattoo, that means you’re truly committed and ready to pay up. Well, in that case, be ready to pay more than $100,000, depending on the design and color of the tattoo(s). The price counts the time and labor-intensity of the process. Also, bear in mind the tip for the tattoo artist(s) of 10% to 30% of the final tattoo cost.

Full (Arm) Sleeve Tattoo

A full arm sleeve will cost you anywhere from $2,000 to $4,000 for outline only. However, if you want your tattoo to feature more details, shading, or even different colors, be ready to cash out up to $6,000 to $7,000. The reason for such high prices lies in how time and labor-intense the sleeve tattoos are. They often require several sessions and may take several days, even weeks for a tattoo artist to complete the whole tattoo.

Full Back Tattoo

A full back tattoo will cost you anywhere between $2,500 to $5,000 for outline only. However, bear in mind that a full back tattoo doesn’t cover the whole back. It only comprises the area from the bottom of the neck to the waist. So, you might add several hundred dollars more if you want the tattoo to extend all over the lower back as well.

When it comes to full back tattoos with all the detailing, shading, and coloring, you can expect to pay up to $7,000 to $8,000, and even more if the tattoo extends over the lower back. The reason for the price lies in the fact that your tattoo artist may work on the piece for days, usually between 40 and 60 hours, depending on the complexity, detailing, and coloring.

Chest Piece/Tattoo

Because a chest tattoo requires fewer hours of work and less expertise, a chest piece may cost you significantly less than the previous two options. A chest tattoo outlining alone will cost between $600 to $1,000. A chest tattoo with all the detailing, shading, and coloring may increase the final tattoo cost up to $2,000.

Shoulder Tattoo

If you’re thinking about getting a cool tattoo without spending thousands of dollars, then consider getting a shoulder cap tattoo. The shoulder cap (or the round part of the shoulder) tattoo has a starting price of $800 for an outline and will add several hundred dollars more for detailing and coloring. Therefore, a large, highly detailed, and colored shoulder tattoo might cost you up to $1,500 max.

Hip And Upper Thigh Tattoo

A hip and/or upper thigh tattoo will cost you anywhere between $500 to $1,000 for outlining only, depending on the size of course. When it comes to detailing and coloring, a hip and/or thigh tattoo may cost you up to $2,500. The price for such a tattoo can vary depending on the expertise levels of the tattoo artist as well as the complexity of the tattoo itself.

Face/Lip Tattoo

If you’re tired of putting on or drawing your eyebrows, eyeliner, and lip liner every single day, then you should try getting a permanent version of each of the liners and eyebrows. The face and lip tattoos belong to the group of cosmetic tattoos. According to permanent makeup artists, such tattoos can cost anywhere between $200 to $800 per procedure, depending on the wishes and requirements of the customer, as well as the artist’s expertise.

Forearm Tattoo

A forearm tattoo is one of the most popular tattoos globally. Forearm tattoos look excellent, regardless of design or size; and they are often more artistic than the tattoos on other body parts. Luckily, a nice forearm tattoo will cost you anywhere between $300 to $1,300, depending on the size, coloring, detailing, overall design, etc. But, you can expect to pay overall less for a simple, outlined, or lettered forearm tattoo.

Finger And Hand Tattoo

If you can handle the pain of getting a finger or hand tattoo, then you’ll surely save some money. Finger tattoos tend to cost anywhere between $50 to $100, while hand tattoos can go up to $250, depending on the design, size, and color. Finger and hand tattoos are always fun and cool to have, and are becoming more socially acceptable, especially for employers. So, as we said, if you can handle the pain, then go for it.

Ankle Tattoo

One of the cheapest tattoos you can get is an ankle tattoo. The ankle tattoos don’t require much work and tend to cost anywhere between $50 to $300, depending on the size, design, and color, of course. Bear in mind that, however, ankle tattoos tend to hurt a lot due to bones, thin skin, and several nerve endings. But, if you can overcome the pain, then you might save some money with an ankle piece.

Rib/Side Tattoo

Getting a rib or side tattoo hurts; we thought you should know that before the price. Now, speaking of the price, you may have to pay between $600 to $1,000 for an average-sized rib tattoo. The price does increase when we count in detailing and coloring, so expect to add up to $500 to the average rib tattoo.

Final Thoughts

We hope that our little insight into the possible cost of tattoos was helpful. Now, remember that these prices vary from shop to shop, and from city to city.

Before getting a tattoo, try to ask around, check several tattoo shops and artists, and find the place that suits you and your wallet the best.

Be ready to save some money in cash, because cash is the usual way of paying for tattoos. The reason for that lies in the fact that they’re expensive and some people and tattoo shops have issues with the banks when charging or paying several thousand dollars at once.

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