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The Price You Pay for Cheap Tattoos

By May 16, 2004

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badfootblog.JPG flwrfootblog.jpgOn the left, you see a tattoo that was submitted to this site by someone who got tattooed by a family member. The "collector" admitted that it was done in an underground (i.e. unlicensed, illegal) establishment. Well, here ya go, folks. What you see here are the results of that cheap tattoo. However, on the right, is another foot tattoo done by a professional, experienced, licensed tattoo artist. Yup, it was probably more expensive - but which tattoo would YOU rather have?


January 27, 2008 at 2:37 am
(1) Stevo says:

I would rather the free tattoo,you can get professional jobs done and look worst than home jobs..I`m sorry but wasting big money on tattoo`s and a waste they are rip offs….At the end of the Day A tattoo is a tattoo…In the old days the maori people didn`t need licenses and they have the best tatts in the world!

February 21, 2011 at 4:53 pm
(2) Mike says:

A shitty tattoo is a shitty tattoo you can totally see the difference. experience counts here. the one on the left looks like crap!

February 29, 2008 at 8:54 pm
(3) jacob says:

the one on the right looks brand new so if you are comparing detail saying that a non professional one fades or doesnt look as good that was thrown out the window the right picture being a new tattoo. This can be seen when you look at the persons foot and see that the outside area is still red so that means still healing hence brand new

July 3, 2008 at 10:46 pm
(4) datdamnguy says:

I’d definately have to agree with “Stevo”. The Maori’s, along with many other cultures around the world didn’t need licenses of any kind to perform extraordinary works of art. Many of these so-called “artists” are plain idiots who overcharge their customers for B-grade work. Two of my tattoos are from professional parlors and I’ve ran into many people who’ve gotten bigger, more intricate tattoos at a lesser price. In other words, just because someone acquires a license and opens shop doesn’t mean they’re gonna provide you better service. Knowledge is knowledge, and if someone has that creativity instilled in their mind, they can definately do a great job. Safety is definately not an issue here due to the mass availability of safe equipment available to consumers.

September 4, 2010 at 3:28 am
(5) Angie Tatted Momma says:

I agree, some of the BEST tattoo artists are either ex-cons, or just talented average people who don’t want to go full time with the ink business! They’re good, & free hand!

September 6, 2008 at 10:48 am
(6) justine says:

i just read all of your comments, and seriously, what is wrong with you people?! why would you be wiling to get something done for cheap/free knowing it might turn out horrible? you will just have to pay someone anyway to get it fixed.it is definitely worth going to someone reputable. i myself have two pieces of scarification done in nyc. i actually went in and spoke to the artist who would be doing the scarification and saw his portfolio before i even considered getting something done.think people!

November 19, 2008 at 6:30 pm
(7) Tamieka says:

Justine think about what u just wrote !! U went and LOOKED at ur ARTISTS portfolio and they where reputable Credit is Credit May it be street or legit Creativity know’s no bounds I have 11 tatts dear 6 of which where Liscensed All of which FADED the point Jacob made was the COMPAIRED work was a old and new Tatt not just Liscensed 2 Un-Liscensed !! Did u consider reading AND Obtaining what u just read cross refrencing facts and THEN POPPIN OFF AT THE MOUTH What is wrong with u ?? THINK JUSTINE THINK !!

May 3, 2009 at 3:01 pm
(8) Matt says:

It depends where you go to get professional tattoos done. I’m a college student with a constantly growing collection of tattoos. My artist works in the college town so he prices his work so that us poor college students can afford it. He’s been tattooing since 1980. He started the profession when it was illegal in most states to do so. This man is a skilled artist, and I’ve never had a reason to complain about his work or his prices. He charges $75 per hour which is cheap for the industry. The last piece he did for me was a 2 and 1/2 hour sitting and it cost me $160 whereas it would have cost me $200+ to get the same work done elsewhere.

I’d rather get tattooed by a professional…unless its on the bottom of the feet…My friends and I have a gun and we mess arround with tattooing the bottoms of our feet because nobody can see it and it wears away after a few weeks.

June 6, 2009 at 7:37 pm
(9) kevin says:

how could u tell how good the tattoo on the left is if u have a blurry picture forget the tattoos just look at the feet the one on the right is a way clearer picture then the one on the left… is it not?

July 8, 2009 at 2:38 pm
(10) Ruth says:

In regards to previous arguements. If a tattoo is a tatoo then why bother getting one at all. My reason for why I think bargaining is stupid; You need food and shelter, you do not need a tattoo. A tattoo is a personal preference and it’s a great artform, but it is not a basic need for living so if someone is bargaining for a tattoo they have no business or respect for the whole idea behind tattooing. Pricing should be the last thing on the mind. Now for my chest piece I payed around 260 maybe a little more and I expected to pay that amount, but if it was say 10,000 then I’d walk out, so when it comes to pricing we should use our common sense when something is too insanely priced, but in my experience and countless others obvious over pricing has never been an issue. I have no regrets paying the amounts I have for my tattoos mainly because I wanted them and I wanted them to look great and at the time I had the flow of income to help pay for them.

July 19, 2009 at 11:10 pm
(11) dani says:

honestly, I have four tattoo’s, done in a “respectable” shop, where everyone in miami goes to get they’re tattoo’s and piercings done, because its close, they have multiple locations, and is convenient. All four of my tattoo’s need touch up’s, and they fired the guy who did them, and now I have to go somewhere else to pay for them to be touched up, OR go to his HOUSE for him to touch them up. I also had my tragus pierced there, and I had to come back because it looked like it was rejecting (and cartilage isn’t supposed to reject). They told me they fired the guy because he was no good, and I had to take the piercing out, come back two weeks later and get it re-done. So all I have to say is paying more money is NOT always better, and unless your willing to pay some BIG bucks, what you get is what you get, *shrugs*

October 9, 2009 at 8:33 pm
(12) Hannah says:

Really you’re all right AND wrong. There are alot of people that are licensed and like to pass themselves off as “artists’ and want you to pay top dollar for a piece of crap tattoo that your mother could’ve done better. But that’s where the collector has to do some research and work. Among the thousands of tattoo shops full of horrible ‘artists’ there are a few that are actually worth the time and money. When you walk into a shop, this is where most customers go wrong and end up with awful tattoos. When you go looking for an artist, tattoo artists have their portfolios displayed in their shops and online for a REASON. LOOK AT IT. If it’s not any good, then you know this so called ‘artist’ is no kind of artist at all. But these people paying money and coming out of shops with piece of crap tattoos are at fault as well. Because the artist cant screw you up unless YOU sign the papers and pay them to do it. So, you can’t complain about a tattoo that you chose to have a crappy tattooist do on you. So, seriously, do your homework guys. Look around for your artist, NOT for price, but for a good artist that knows what they’re doing. So, yes there are awful price gouging artists, but there are also awful customers that don’t understand what they’re looking for until someone screws them up.

November 11, 2009 at 8:12 pm
(13) Jessie says:

I really agree with stevo, like really i have 24 tattoos and they were all cheap and they look damn good. the tattoo on the right looks done like 5 mins ago and the other one looks a lil faded, so dont compare them cuz its a rip off and very misleading.

May 15, 2010 at 2:39 pm
(14) TatttooShopNC says:

I have to say 2 things.. very important things:

1. If your going to get a tattoo, wether in a professional shop or at someone’s home, make sure that you are in a clean sterile environment… you want a tattoo not a deadly disease. This is by far the most important thing you can do.

2. Always check to see the artist portfolio and make sure your happy with their art. If you letting a newbie tattoo you for practice keep it small & simple so if you want to get it covered or removed later you have more options.

“The bitterness of poor quality remains long after the sweetness of low price is long forgotten.”

Low prices doesn’t always mean poor quality.. but just like with anything else you almost always get what you pay for. There are exceptions, just be sure that no one’s skimping on cleanliness & that you will be happy with the end result prior to letting anyone at home or in a shop tattoo on you!

September 9, 2010 at 2:36 pm
(15) VictimTattoo says:

I have been a professional in the business in one of the most highly regulated states for about 12 years. The problem is not in the quality of the artwork, it is the quality of the artist/studio. Some of us have taken the time to properly learn our craft to be safe as well as artistically sound. Now, the tribes of old did have some of the most impressive tattoos known to man, but they did not have to worry about communicable deseases. Did you know that 1 drop of blood can carry 2 different strains of hepatitis for up to 7 years. One type doesn’t even have to be present. It can form from just blood to blood transfer. Alcohol & boiling water are not enough to kill some of these deseases. Then, from a price standpoint, professionals operate a storefront. Overhead is the biggest cost we have. Factor in the cost of rent or mortgage for storefront, utility bills, licensing, bloodborne pathogens training, cross contamination training, machine maintainence (my machines all have about $700/piece invested in them-6 machines total), adequate supplies, proper sterilization costs. That about sums up the cost difference. I used to be really relaxed about the home tattoo thing myself until recently. After out annual inspection, I had a fairly serious talk with the health inspector. In this state alone in 2009, there were over 17,000 cases of communicable deseases spread from tattooing. The real kicker is that there hasn’t been a single case from a licensed tattoo shop in this state in 7 years. That specific case was linked to the artist fixing a home tattoo that looked like crap. The person had been living with the desease for 5 years & didn’t know it. That scares me a little bit. We have learned our craft properly to keep people safe. Now, we have to take extra precautions to do work on anyone with a home done tattoo in order to protect our customers & ourselves.

November 19, 2010 at 10:09 pm
(16) william ruiz says:

looking to get some free tattoos in exchanger for free performances or advertising the artist. http://www.williamruiz.com 917 388 7755 thanks , william

February 14, 2011 at 8:21 pm
(17) Female Tattooer says:

That’s okay, let the cheap people get what they deserve. Only when you come to me to get your “tattoo party” crap fixed, I’ll charge you double.
All of these ridiculous comments only show that most people can’t even tell a good tattoo from a bad one. A tattoo is a tattoo? Really? Have you seen what people are able to do on skin nowadays?

If you were to choose between garbage and a nice steak, what would you choose? You’re sticking this price tag on yourself, showing that you’re cheap.

Why, why would you rather spend 500 dollars on a stupid cell phone that you’ll break or lose in a month than something you’re going to wear forever?

A good tattoo will look good, old or not. A poor one will always look awful, like the one in the picture on the left. It’s got blurred, uneven outline, is poorly placed, and I can’t even tell what’s in it besides that crooked sun. If you have zero ability to tell something artfully done from something that isn’t, leave the job to those who can… Like a good tattoo artist. And you can find one looking at artists’ portfolios.

To the fans of “cheap”: keep getting your infected, poorly done tattoos in your cousin’s basement, next to his dirty socks with a “homemade gun”.

March 9, 2011 at 4:41 am
(18) Kim says:

I got an underground unlicensd tat n I deseperately want it removd. How can this be done. Plz suggestions quick.

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