How Much for a Good Tattoo? (Know The Cost Estimate)

Are you planning on getting a tattoo and wondering how much for a good tattoo?

If you want to join the 100 million tattooed Americans, a standard tattoo could cost you between $50 and $500 (1).

The price increases with tattoo sizes and the skill levels of tattoo artists, with some tattoo artists charging hourly rates between $80 to $165 per hour.

In this article, I’ll discuss the average tattoo prices of tattoo parlors to avoid being ripped off. 

Key Factors

  • The average tattoo artist will charge between $50 and $500 for a tattoo, depending on its complexity.
  • Getting a tattoo in a major city is more expensive than in other places.
  • When deciding how much to pay for a body tattoo, focus more on the tattoo quality than the money you’ll spend.
  • Always remember to tip the artist for their hard work.

How Much Does an Average Tattoo Cost?

The average tattoo cost is between $50 to $250 for small-sized and $150 to $450 for medium-sized tattoos. 

Large tattoos will cost you more since the tattoo artist will spend more time doing them.

Simple tattoos are easier to create, and often the artist does them in under three hours.

women tattooed on hand but how much for a good tattoo

However, the tattoo industry is diverse, and not all charge a flat rate. Most experienced artists have hourly rates ranging from $80 to $250.

Celebrity tattoo artists such as JonBoy will charge eye-watering prices (2). Such famous tattoo artists usually boast a celebrity clientele that pays more. 

For instance, JonBoy mentions Kylie Jenner and Justin Bieber as his tattoo clients. If you want him to tattoo you, you’ll pay a high price for a tattoo session. 

Complex designs cost upwards of $500, especially when dealing with a talented artist. A full-sleeve tattoo, for example, is one of the most expensive, as it can take as long as 12 hours.

Larger or delicate tattoos usually take longer, so they always fall in a higher price range. Microblading is an example, as seen in the video below.

As a result, the average cost of micro-blading can range between $500 and $2,000 depending on the permanent makeup artist and geographic location.

Here is a summary table of average tattoo pricing in most tattoo shops.

Size Average Price
Large Tattoo (Size 6 inches or more) $500 to $4,000
Medium Size Tattoo (Size 4 inches to 6 inches) $150 to $450
Small Size Tattoo (Size 2 to 4 inches) $50 to $250
Tiny Tattoo (Usually under 2 inches) $30 to $100

The above table should help you get a rough estimate of the charges to expect. 

Tattoo pricing could change depending on your geographical location, among other factors.

Some prices had me wondering, how much is a tattoo gun? I want to tattoo myself!

Now that we know the average price ranges for body tattoos let’s look at the pricing for the different types. 

Tattoo Pricing For Different Tattoo Types

There are thousands of tattoo types, each requiring a different type of tattoo machine.

Some are simple designs that need little work. Some varieties, though, have intricate designs that further increase their price.

So, what’s the average cost for a specific type of tattoo? The table below shows the average price for some common tattoo design types.

Tattoo TypeAverage Price in USD
Ironman  $75 to $150
Dreamcatcher $200 to $250
Rose Tattoo $100 to $600
Lettering Tattoo $75 to $100
Portrait Tattoo$200 per hour
3D Tattoo$200 per hour
Tribal Tattoo$50 to $300
Watercolor Tattoo$400 plus
Hair Tattoo $1,500 to $4,000
Shoulder Tattoo$200 to $500
Soundwave$150 to $300
Lion Tattoo$150 to $400
Blackout Tattoo$150 to $300 per hour
Freckle Tattoo$50 to $90
Cross Tattoo$80 to $150
Heart Tattoo$50 to $100
Ankle Tattoo$50 to $250
Script Tattoo$75 to $100

Keep in mind that the prices are rough estimates. Each tattoo artist has their price guideline and average rate.

The prices should be pretty close, though. Also, most established artists have a base rate for different-sized tattoos. 

By that token, the cheapest tattoos are often the smallest.  

Things That Determine the Tattoo Price

Though a tattoo artist might choose their minimum rate, the rate often depends on several factors. 

These are the factors that determine how much you pay for a tattoo. 

1. Design

There are many tattoo designs customers choose. The catch, though, is the different prices for each design.

An elaborate design would be cheaper than a simple design. Tattoo artists often charge depending on the work the design requires.

So, if it’s a design with lots of work, you bet it will be pretty pricy.

women tattooed on hand but how much for a good tattoo

2. Color 

Black and gray ink colors are cheaper than colored ink. Therefore, the price of a colored tattoo will be higher.

For a high-quality tattoo, the tattoo artist might need a lot of colored ink, which further raises the price.

3. Size 

The tattoo size table you saw earlier shows how the tattoo size affects the final price.

Large tattoos take a considerable amount of time to draw. Thus, the artists will charge you more. 

4. Placement

Not all areas of the body need the same effort to tattoo. For instance, a hair tattoo is quite delicate and will thus take longer and cost you more.

A sleeve or chest tattoo takes up a lot of body area, so it will also be pricey. Half-sleeve tattoos are priced lower. 

Ankle tattoos are also more expensive than other parts of the body because they are bony and delicate. 

They might take a short time to work on, like in this video, but the artist must be careful when tattooing this area.

This table shows the average prices for tattoos according to body placement.

Placement Average Price
Ankle tattoos$50 to $250
Hip or thigh tattoos$500 to $2,000
Chest tattoo$600 to $2,000
Face or lip tattoos$500 to $3,000
Full Body$100,000
Finger Tattoo$50 to $500

5. Geographic Location

The location also matters when getting a tattoo. Most major cities have a higher average cost than the national average.

In 2016, San Francisco was the most expensive city for body art lovers. The approximate minimum cost for a tattoo in this city was $280 an hour (3). 

One can only imagine the minimum prices in the area today. 

6. The Artist’s Experience Level

A professional artist’s experience level makes them confident enough to charge prices conducive to them. 

Famous artist JonBoy says an artist that charges you $20 for a tattoo will probably draw a crappy tattoo worth the $20 (2).

That could explain why most skilled artists usually charge some of the highest prices.

Tips To Get The Best Price For Your Tattoo

You can estimate from the prices I’ve mentioned above, but how do you get the best deal?

The factors down below might help.

1. Do Your Research

The rule of thumb is to research when you are looking for a good deal. 

With the help of the internet, you can get as many estimates from tattoo shops as you need and compare.

Proper research will help you know where all the great deals are.

2. Take Your Time When Selecting an Artist

The temptation to go to a well-known artist will always be there. But if you can’t afford them, what use could they be?

Thus, take your time to decide on your artist. 

Quick Tip: Meet the artist before the day of the tattoo process and build some rapport. They could be willing to negotiate their rates! 

Also, be safe from the artist reusing tattoo needles to cut the cost.

3. Choose Flat Rates Whenever Possible

Even if you want only a tiny piece of body art, you never know how long it might take. Always choose flat-rate artists to have a clear idea of what the price will be.

4. Consider Artists With Offers

Tattoo artists also have price offers from time to time. Look for artists with offers to boost your chances of getting a good deal.

Quick Tip: No matter the price, always opt for a quality tattoo over a cheap but lousy tattoo.

You’ll carry it for the rest of your life. Unless you plan on joining the 12% of Americans that regret their tattoos (4).

FAQs

Is $500 a lot for a tattoo?

It could be a lot for a simple tattoo, but for a complex tattoo? Peanuts!

How much does a small tattoo cost?

women tattooed on neck but how much for a good tattoo

Small tattoos start at about $30 and go as high as $150, depending on the artist’s skill level and other determinant factors.

Is it rude not to tip a tattoo artist?

While not compulsory, it’s a good practice to appreciate the artist’s good work by tipping them.

How much does tattoo removal cost?

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons put the approximate cost of laser tattoo removal at $423 (5).
You’d need the best laser tattoo removal machine for successful removal. 

Conclusion

How much for a good tattoo? A standard tattoo is $150 to 450.

However, some tattoos (read hip tattoos) cost as much as $2000 depending on who you go to or your location.

The type of tattoo and its location also bumps the price, with a full-body tattoo costing as much as $100,000.

But if it’s an awesome tattoo, it will be worth every dollar, won’t it?

You now have a good idea of the amount you must prepare before stepping into a tattoo parlor.

women tattooed on arm but how much for a good tattoo

What type of tattoo do you plan to get? Tell us all about it in the comments down below.

Resources

  • 1. https://www.forbes.com/sites/louisefron/2017/03/13/mario-barth-leadership-lessons-from-an-ink-empire/?sh=fa653633cbd0
  • 2. https://www.forbes.com/sites/raewitte/2018/07/20/justin-bieber-and-the-jenners-tattoo-artist-shares-his-top-three-tips-on-growing-his-business/
  • 3. https://brokelyn.com/may-want-to-ink-twice-while-you-can/
  • 4. https://www.statista.com/statistics/447473/regretting-tattoos-in-the-us/
  • 5. https://www.plasticsurgery.org/cosmetic-procedures/tattoo-removal/cost
About Edith Russo

Edith is a self-made entrepreneur with a keen business sense that others admire and a total “can-do” attitude. She’s always coming up with new ideas to anticipate her readers’ needs and help solve all their toughest beauty and skincare problems. READ HER LATEST ARTICLES. FOLLOW HER on Linkedin and Twitter. Learn more about her HERE.

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