Why Do Tattoo Shops Have Minimum Prices?

  • Written By Dan Hunter on July 5, 2021
    Last Updated: March 11, 2022

It can be extremely confusing trying to understand how everything is priced in a tattoo shop and how artists work out the prices per tattoo. Then, just when you think you have the hang of it, they talk about the minimum charge!

We’ll do our best to walk you through the pricing of tattoos and how the tattoo artist or studio sets their prices. We’ll also let you know what the elusive minimum charge is and what it includes.

Tattoo Pricing: How It Works

Tattoo studios all now charge a minimum price, this is before you start with the cost of your tattoo. The minimum price includes what is needed to run the shop and do the tattoos.

This would include the tattooing equipment, disposable tools and sterilizing tools to keep everything clean. It may also include studio rent, insurance, work surfaces and certifications.

You then need to add the design cost if not using a pre-designed tattoo and the cost of the actual tattoo. 

It all adds up but you generally get what you pay for so keep this in mind when checking out prices of different tattoo studios.

Why Do Tattoo Shops Have Minimum Prices?

Tattoo shops and studios all have overheads to pay to make sure that their studio runs properly. This is the reason for the minimum charge. 

If you are looking for a small basic tattoo, the cost of doing this would be minimal. However, the tattoo artist still has to use the same equipment and be licensed the same way as if they were doing a full arm sleeve. 

By adding the minimum charge it allows them to complete any kind of tattoo with the same professionalism and hygiene standards.

What’s Included in the Minimum Price?

The minimum charge generally includes the equipment to do the tattoo and disposable tools that will be discarded after each use, for example; needles, gloves, etc. It also includes sterilizing tools to keep everything hygienic and clean for both yours and the tattoo artist’s safety. 

The tattoo studio may also include studio rent, credit card transaction fees, insurance and certifications in the minimum charge. This will make sure that the tattoo artist is properly insured and trained to a high standard.

The Tattoo Shop

Every tattoo shop has overheads that need to be paid for in some way. This includes the rent, electricity, fixtures and fittings and equipment to complete your tattoo. The minimum charge helps to cover these costs before even looking at the type of tattoo that you are having done.

The minimum charge allows them to have the best equipment available and that this can be sterilized after every use. It also makes sure that the tattoo artist is licensed correctly and has all training needed to do the job well.

Consultation With Your Tattoo Artist

Before you get your tattoo you should have a consultation with the tattoo artist. This will allow you to speak to the tattoo artist about what you are looking for and look at designs.

The consultation will allow you to understand how it will work and the cost of the tattoo. This should all be agreed before any work on your body is started.

The Tattoo

The cost of your tattoo will depend on a number of factors. If you are asking the tattoo artist to design a tattoo this will cost more than a pre-designed tattoo.

The size of the tattoo will cost more as will the intricacy of the design as this will take longer than a small, basic tattoo. Also, if you are using colors in your tattoo rather than a black and white design this will add to the cost.


There are a number of elements that affect the cost of a tattoo and sometimes it’s easier to have the minimum charge so that you don’t have lots of additional costs to add on later.

You should make sure that you always attend any consultation appointments with the tattoo artist. This will allow you to check out the studio initially to make sure that it’s hygienic and has what you need. 

The consultation appointment will also allow you to discuss all the details about your tattoo with the tattoo artist. This includes the costs associated with getting the tattoo and will enable you to decide before actually taking the plunge.

We hope that this has answered your question and you found it useful. Any minimum charge should be clear and not hidden from the customer so that you know what you are paying for.