Answering the question of “how much a tattoo costs” is akin to answering “how long does it take for your tattoo to heal”. In a nutshell, the answers are all over the place and there are more variables that can even be spelled out sufficiently in this space.
That being said, there are some generally accepted price ranges and factors to use as a reference when trying to determine how much a tattoo will cost.
The range in tattoo prices stems from many different variables such as:
- Size of the tattoo
- Location of the tattoo
- Where you live
- Experience and reputation of the tattoo artist
- Type of equipment and ink that is used
- How long the tattoo takes to complete
Tattoos are ordinarily priced out by size—either small, medium or large—but there are also those tiny ones that are under 2” and are of course also the least expensive. A small (2” by 2”) tattoo could be priced anywhere from $30 to $100 on average, and a tattoo double that size (4” by 4”) could cost you somewhere between $150 to $250.
Tattoo artists charge typically charge between $120 to $150 per hour, and the pricing depends on how long the tattoo will take to complete.
A larger or more intricate tattoo could run you a minimum of $500 for a sleeve size and as high as $4,000 for areas like the back or chest. Any kind of custom tattoo is likely going to be upwards of $1,000. If you’re considering a bodysuit, then start saving your money or consider a loan with a 5 year payment plan, because this route could easily cost you upwards of $50,000 or even over $100,000 for a full bodysuit, which could take a year or more to complete.
In addition to the size and type of design you choose, the color will also influence the final cost. Full color tattoos are customarily priced at twice the black or grey designs.
Though the pricing spectrum is pretty wide, the average range nationally spans from $150 to $450 for most tattoos. Truth be told, tattoo pricing is not much different than any other product or service—you get what you pay for. If you choose a cheap tattoo, chances are, it’s not the best quality and it may not look the way you envisioned.
Since a tattoo is a pretty big commitment to make, it’s worth taking the time to think it through, do your research, talk to people you know who have already got one, and have the details clear in your mind before scheduling an appointment. Choose your design, location, size, color, and go talk it out for an estimate with a few tattoo artists you are considering.
Think of your tattoo as an investment, kind of like purchasing a piece of artwork or fine jewelry. With this mindset, you won’t regret spending the money for the best you can afford, knowing that you’ve got something that you will truly enjoy for the long run.
About the author: Yaffa Baslaw (@yadeinu) is a Freelance Writer with over a decade of experience copywriting and blogging compelling content. She has written for more than 20 companies in the fields of healthcare, skincare, and retail.