Good tattoos are not cheap: cheap tattoos are not good.
I’ve been a tattoo artist for many years, and I’ve heard, and said, this phrase too many times to count. Often times people will hunt for the cheapest price, without realizing that the cheapest price is usually a red flag to poor quality or bad health and safety precautions.
Most tattoo shops in a given city or area will cost about the same rate. There may be a few artists who are booked far in advance, who charge more than this. If you are seeking a large, custom-drawn original tattoo, you’ll probably be better off to pay more, and wait longer, for one of these artists to do your tattoo.
Tattoo artists are often paid on commission, earning from forty to eighty percent of your payment. This means that for a fifty dollar tattoo, the artist gets paid less than ten dollars, after equipment costs and commission are subtracted. Artists that own the studio may be paid a higher rate, and artists that are working part time may be paying a flat amount in rent to work in the shop.
The majority of artists, however, work on commission or “percentage”, and are independent contractors.
In most cases, a smaller tattoo will be quoted a flat price, while a larger tattoo will be quoted at an hourly rate. Tattoos on hands, feet, and faces will often cost more.
Your best gauge for pricing in your area is to call one or two studios and ask if they have a minimum price, usually an hourly rate will be about double this minimum cost.
More at the link up top.