There seems to be a belief that tattoo studio etiquette differs from what is acceptable in other businesses. It doesn’t. Although we may be more prone to tasering unruly Karens more readily than some establishments.
You should conduct yourself with the sense of decorum that you do when you are in any other business, and is no different that patronizing a nice restaurant–the ones where they don’t even put prices on the menu. You are the customer (although we prefer the term “client”) and we are going to make your experience the best one we possibly can. On the other hand, we expect you to conduct yourself in a civil, polite, and respectful manner in return.
Your goal and our goal is the same: To get you the perfect tattoo in the most pleasant way possible. With a little etiquette, from everyone, it’s not hard to do.
To help make your tattoo experience the best one it can be, here’s a list of some “do’s and don’ts” for your visit to Odyssey Tattoo:
—Turn your phone to silent. Do you really want your artist to be startled when your phone goes off? If it goes off in the middle of the tattoo and distracts the artist, that mess up is on you.
—Do NOT bring a “cheering section” to the studio. Very few artists want a bunch of your friends crowding the work area while he/she is trying to mark you for life. This is why we limit the number of people in our workspace, and we will ask people to leave if it is distracting to the artist, or to another artist working in another room.
—Tattoo studios are not a place for children. There are many hazards for children to be exposed to; it is an adult environment; and they can be very distracting to you, your artist and other clients. We do not allow anyone under the age of 18 in our studio.
—Please maintain personal hygiene and physical decorum. Unfortunately, this has to be said for some people’s sake. There is nothing more unpleasant than having to work on someone who… smells. Don’t make us send you home to bathe.
—Do not come in if you have been drinking or if you are under the influence of something. Show your tattoo artist some respect and come sober. Nobody likes dealing with someone who is impaired. If your breath smells of alcohol you are not going to get a tattoo. If you’re acting really “off”, you’re not getting a tattoo. If you are wasted, you won’t make a good decision on what to get and you will bleed so heavily your tattoo is likely to look like it is done in pastel colors.
—Do not ask an artist to draw something just to see if he/she can. There are people who go to studios and ask for one thing to be drawn after another without ever getting anything. Don’t be that guy! If you want something drawn, an artist will be happy to work on one with you. We will change or re-draw it until it’s just the way you want it; but make sure you’re ready to get it when the drawing comes out right. We charge a retainer/drawing fee that comes out of the final price of your tattoo—or goes to the artist if you don’t get the tattoo.
—Don’t brag to a tattoo artist about how cheap you got your other tattoos. You will not earn any “brownie points” and it SURE won’t get you a better deal on a tattoo from the artist you’re bragging to. If you are quoted a price, that IS the price. Bragging about paying $20 for a tattoo is likely to elicit a critique of your tattoo that is less than flattering. If you want a professional tattoo, be prepared to pay a professional price.
—Do not try to bargain with your tattoo artist like you’re some shady person selling something out of the back of their trunk. You wouldn’t go to the grocery store or a restaurant and try to talk a clerk or a waiter into lowering the price. Bargaining in a tattoo shop is an exercise in bad taste; and the quickest way to make your artist mad. The last thing you want is your tattoo artist being upset at you.
If all you have is a certain amount of money, ask the artist up front if he/she can work with that budget. If they cannot, then wait and save up until you have the full amount. If you can’t afford the tattoo you want, talk to your artist and see if there’s a way to work out a payment plan (multi-session/pay-as-you-go) or wait and save up. If you settle for something else, or even a smaller version than you really want, you’ll more than likely end up regretting it. People who “price shop” for tattoos end up with inferior tattoos. Don’t let that happen to you. It will cost you more in the long run. Trust us. We hear about it all the time.
—Do try to have some kind of idea what you are looking for before you come to the studio. Impulse buying is not a good way to find a tattoo that you will be able to live with for the rest of your life. Of course, we understand that you may be coming in just to get some ideas; but you should have some kind of idea that led you to the decision to get tattooed in the first place. The more clearly you can describe what you want, the quicker and easier we will be able to create the design for you.
This may all seem to be common sense but the reality is that artists deal with breaches of this etiquette all day, every day. A little common courtesy and etiquette can go a long way towards making your entire tattoo experience much more rewarding and pleasant.
And no one wants a mad tattoo artist…