Tattoo Etiquette For The Client

So, you’re a virgin? I bet you have a BUNCH of questions! Or maybe you’re experienced but need to be informed of a few things? Let’s learn some tattoo etiquette!

We can’t answer all of them but I’m going to give you some tips on client etiquette, from the first time you call, write, or stop in.

So, you want a tattoo or piercing but don’t know what to do or where to go. First things first, DO NOT have a friend, a friend of a friend, or the guy upstairs tattoo or pierce you! You will regret it. If he was that good he would work in a good studio making tons of money and not having people get tattooed in his kitchen. We love our clients as much or more than anyone but we don’t want you in our kitchens bleeding on our dogs, no offense to anyone you.

Tattoo EtiquetteNext check out local studios online, check Facebook, Instagram, and their websites. Look for new content and browse through the pictures. When you find a studio/artist you like you now need to determine how best to contact them. Some studios spell it out, some leave you guessing.

I can only speak for Pure Ink here but this is what I would recommend:

If you have quick question such as “which artist would be best with a portrait?” or “Do you guys take walk-ins?” feel free to message us on Facebook. Let’s say you’re looking to talk to the artist directly and are in the early stages of tattoo planning i would suggest completing a form on our website.  When you do fill out a form from the website please give the artists sometime to get back to you, often times they are booked weeks in advance and it takes time to get through all the emails.  If you have a longer question or wish to schedule a free 1/2-hour consult, then pick up the phone and call us. Sometimes we don’t answer because we are busy, please leave a message.

Tattoo Etiquette - TipsSo now you have spoken to the artist, booked an appointment and tattoo day has finally arrived! But you’re unsure what to of etiquette. Let us lend some helpful tips we have gathered from talking to other artists.

The following are the “DO’s” while at the studio for your appointment:

  • Show up at least 15 minutes early.
  • Make sure you are clean. No one wants to sit two inches from someone who worked 8 hours in the sewer.
  • Make sure you have eaten and drank some fluids.
  • Wear comfortable clothing, make sure we can get to the area being tattooed… yes if you want a butt tattoo we need to see the area we are tattooing!
  • Have proper ID and a payment method. If you’re not sure what you need please ask or visit or website for details.
  • Enjoy the experience, watch your artists turn his sketch into skin art.

The following are the “DONT’s” while at the studio for your appointment:

  • Don’t bail on your appointment. Your deposit is minimal, we are trusting you will show so your artist will be able to make money that day to pay for their kids dance lessons.
  • Don’t show up late. It will force us to reschedule you or rush. Both of which suck for the artist and the client.
  • Don’t bring an entourage. You’re not a rap mogul, one or two friends will be enough for emotional support. Anymore is just a headache for your artist, and it makes the room get really warm, really quickly.
  • If your artist is quiet they are concentrating. Allow them to concentrate the end result will be better. Trust us we don’t like the silence, if we can talk and work we will!
  • For gods sake please don’t sing along to any music that may be playing. It’s not that we don’t love your voice, it is that it causes you to move more making it harder to tattoo straight lines.
  • The same goes with cell phone usage. Playing candy crush makes you move a lot more than you think!

Last but not least is a common question… “What do I tip?”. That’s up to you, tips aren’t required but they are appreciated. I suggest tipping like you are at a nice restaurant, 20% is a nice number.

Hope this helps and hope to see you soon at one of the Pure Ink locations!


Check out more articles on our site and educate yourself on more of our tattoo and piercing industry.