How Do Tattoo Deposits Work?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on January 7, 2020
    Last Updated: November 27, 2020

Tattoo deposits work as a way of you financially committing to your tattoo appointment. Without this monetary protection, artists and parlors could lose a significant amount of money due to clients pulling out. The deposit covers the opportunity cost of losing business elsewhere.

Most young-blooded souls go through a tattoo phase, but not everyone can muster up the courage to follow through on their tattoo bookings. This rebellious yet flaky attitude can cause issues for tattoo studios that are trying to run a legitimate business and keep their schedule in order.

The Usual System 

Most tattoo shops use a simple system that relies on a one-time fee to book out the time of the artist. These fees vary based on the reputation of the artist or studio and are only meant to cover a basic cost in case a customer decides to back out on the endeavor.

A one-time deposit would usually cover the time taken by an artist to complete the design for the tattoo, along with some basic fees for materials needed to complete the tattoo. This fee tends to be non-refundable and is calculated by factoring in the time and resources required for your tattoo.

The deposit is also meant to come into play when the client changes their tattoo requirements during the design development. For example, a client could have a $500 tattoo requirement but might change their mind and drop their requirement to a $100 tattoo.

This scenario is covered by the deposit fee, as the artist’s effort is intangible. If an artist works on a complex design, it’s only fair that they’re remunerated for their efforts. This is calculated in terms of hours spent on designing a tattoo and is an opportunity cost since they could be working on someone else.

When Should the Deposit Be Paid?

When you book your appointment, the deposit should be paid. The artist will then start to design your tattoo, if you haven’t already designed it.

Artists will often let you pay for large tattoos in installments, but the one-time deposit needs to be covered in a lump sum to confirm your interest.

Can I Get the Deposit Back?

If you don’t turn up to your appointment at all, you won’t get your deposit back.

If you call up to cancel your appointment within a specific timeframe, there’s a chance you’ll get some, if not all, of your deposit back. For example, some parlors will have a 48-hour cancellation policy, so if you cancel within 48 hours of your appointment, you won’t get a deposit.

Why Should I Pay a Deposit?

When a customer agrees to pay the deposit fee, it acts as proof that they are indeed interested in following through with their tattoo ideas. College students are enthusiastic when it comes to the possibility of getting inked, but on some occasions, they can’t put the money together to pay for their tattoo. 

These kinds of situations aren’t confined to college students, either. Many adults struggle with the decision of getting a major tattoo on their body, fearing the judgment they might receive in a professional setting.

Deposits allow a tattoo studio to run their operations efficiently, with each client allocated enough time and attention to get their tattoo right. When the scheduling of clients can be maintained with regularity, it greatly boosts the efficiency of the business and the quality of the work of the artists.

The amount that studios charge for their deposit fee doesn’t begin to cover the total income at stake if a client doesn’t show up. By charging this fee, studios can continue to tick along, even when they face non-responsive customers. This minor transaction has a considerable impact on the long-term financials of the tattoo parlor and the stability of the business.

A Win-Win Situation

Tattoo deposits help keep the variables to a minimum in a highly creative field. By the customers committing financially to their tattoo, the artists have a guarantee in place that their efforts won’t be in vain.

Expect to pay more for larger and more complex designs, with your money either coming off the overall cost or being given back to you on completion. If you don’t show up at all, you won’t get your money back.

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