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The Cost of a Tattoo

How Much Is Your Body Worth?

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Woman applying henna tattoo to customer's back
John & Lisa Merrill/Photographer's Choice/getty Images
If you're wondering how much tattoos cost, chances are you've already begun to consider sacrificing quality for the sake of your budget. As the old saying goes, if you have to ask what something costs you can't afford it; applying that same thought process to anything that makes a permanent mark on your body is a wise choice that's highly recommended.

The Artist Sets the Rate

Much like hairdressers, tattoo artists tend to set their own rules and guidelines for pricing their artistry and this can be a very good thing. Depending on the type of tattoo, location and hours worth of work involved you can better plan your tattoo without sacrificing the quality of your piece.

As with most service industries you'll find the better the job the more it's worth. Don't save a few pennies or get inked any sooner than necessary. Your body is always worth the best and if you have a general idea of how much tattoos cost, you can plan accordingly and begin saving for your body art while remaining active in the design idea process.

Nearly all tattoo artists will price their work based on the time, skill and products needed to perform the requested service.

Simply picking up the phone and calling a tattoo shop beforehand to get a basis of their pricing will not work. The artist will need to see you and determine the cost before getting a physical start. Not only will a consultation help you understand the involvement of the work but also the expense while providing you the time to make any design adjustments so that you can afford your piece should that be the underlying issue.

Basic Considerations

The following underlying considerations will be placed into account while quoting the final cost of your tattoo.

Location:For the mere fact that some locations are more difficult to ink, your artist may raise the bar to accommodate your request.

Detail: It's all in the details and that's what you're going to pay for. A simple piece of flash art will not require as much detail as a reproduction of, say a Salvador Dali inspired tattoo.

Colors: If you're debating between a black and grey tattoo and a colorful one and your budget is of consideration, opt for the black. Generally the more colorful the tattoo, the more it will cost.

Size: The size of your tattoo is likely the largest consideration in the design process. Expect to pay more the bigger you go.

Custom or Flash: Anytime you ask an artist to delve into their own creativity you are going to pay for it. In other words, if you can find a piece of flash you are certain is worthy of your body you'll likely pay less than a custom designed piece.

Explore Other Options

Once you've received an official tattoo artist quote you can either book the appointment, shop around or make adjustments to your tattoo to match your budget. Consider changing locations or limiting detail so long as it doesn't sacrifice the overall tattoo concept. Or, better yet, save your pennies and do it right the first time. After all, tattoo removal is even costlier.

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