Tattoo Artist Salary: How Much Do TheyEarn? - InkedWay
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Tattoo Artist Salary: How Much Do They

There is no definite answer to the question of how much a tattoo artist earns. The salary of a tattoo artist depends on many factors, including their level of experience, the type of tattoos they specialize in, and whether they work for themselves or in a studio. That said, some general statistics can give us an idea of what to expect. In this blog post, we will take a look at the average salary of a tattoo artist both per hour and per year. We will also discuss how much money is typically spent on consumables such as ink and needles. So, if you’re interested in becoming a tattoo artist or you just want to know what to expect financially, keep reading!

What does a tattoo artist’s salary depend on?

A tattoo artist’s salary can vary greatly depending on his experience, the type of tattoos he specializes in, and whether he works for himself or in a studio. In general, a tattoo artist’s income depends on the following factors:

  • The level of professionalism of the artist. More experienced artists earn higher salaries than those who are just starting. Also, tattoo artists who specialize in certain styles (such as realism or traditional tattooing) can often charge more for their services than those who are less specialized.
  • Place of work. Salaries of artists in fashionable salons are significantly higher than the average monthly income of colleagues working in newly opened tattoo parlors. And tattoo artists working for themselves usually earn less than those who work in studios because they usually have to cover their expenses (such as rent and consumables).
  • Place of residence. It is no secret that in large cities the cost of living and, consequently, the salaries of residents are higher than in small towns. Therefore, it is not surprising that tattoo artists who live and work in big cities often earn more than those who work in smaller towns.
  • Client base. Each tattoo artist works for his name, and therefore for his wealth. As a rule, everyone who once made a successful tattoo, be sure to return to his artist again and again. In addition, a satisfied client is the best advertisement for the tattoo artist. Most customers to a good artist come precisely on the recommendation of their friends and relatives.
  • Certificates. A tattoo artist with a certificate from a prestigious tattoo school or academy will usually earn more than one without such a document. At least, this applies to novices. After all, the self-taught must first earn the trust of his or her clients, whereas some theoretical and practical training at a reputable tattoo school gives some degree of guarantee of a good result for your new tattoo.

How much do tattoo artists earn per hour/year?

Statistically, the average hourly wage for a tattoo artist in the United States is about $20 per hour. The average annual salary for a tattoo artist is $41 967. Keep in mind, however, that this figure can vary greatly depending on the level of experience and specialization of the artisan. Experienced tattoo artists typically charge up to $1,000 an hour for their work and can earn up to $260,000 or more a year, while the lowest-paid tattoo artist earns about $39,000.

According to statistics, the largest annual salary for a tattoo artist is in San Francisco ($52,459). In second place is New York ($50,486), followed by Boston ($47,284).

You can also check out’s statistics on average tattoo artist salaries by state:

Source: Zippia Logo

In addition to their hourly or annual wage, tattoo artists also receive tips from their clients. Tips can range from a few dollars to several hundred dollars depending on the size and complexity of the tattoo.

How much money is spent on consumables?

Ink and needles are two of the main consumables used in tattooing, and both can be quite expensive. A single bottle of ink can cost anywhere from $15 to $25, while a pack of needles typically costs between $12 and $16. As a result, it’s not uncommon for studios to spend several thousand dollars per year on ink and needles alone. This figure does not include other consumables such as gloves, wipes, and disinfectants.

Remember! Not only your reputation depends on the quality of paint and needles, but also on the health of your customers. You should also have tools to sterilize.

If you work in a tattoo parlor, then the care of buying supplies, as a rule, takes care of the tattoo parlor. While, if the tattoo artist works for himself, he has to calculate and take into account his expenses and income every month, so as not to work at a loss. The amount and cost of consumables for one tattoo artist depend obviously on his schedule load.

Required consumables:

Independent Tattoo Artists vs. Tattoo Parlors

Mostly, tattoo artists who work for themselves earn less than those who work in studios. This is because they usually have to cover their expenses (such as rent and consumables), whereas studio owners typically cover these costs for their employees.

Working for oneself also has other drawbacks. For example, independent tattoo artists often have to spend a significant amount of time and money on marketing their business. They also have to be very organized to keep track of appointments, payments, etc. An independent tattoo artist also handles all legal and tax issues himself. At the same time, independence means that you make your own schedule, completely manage your reputation, and do not depend on the owners of the tattoo salon and other people.

Overall, it’s up to the individual artist to decide whether working for oneself or in a studio is the better option. There are pros and cons to both choices, and ultimately it comes down to what works best for the artist’s circumstances.


So, what does all this mean? Becoming a tattoo artist can be a very rewarding career, both financially and artistically. The average salary of a tattoo artist is relatively high, and the demand for tattoos continues to grow each year. So if you’re interested in becoming a tattoo artist, go for it! Just make sure you do your research and understand what to expect financially. Thanks for reading!