We would like to take a few moments to talk about some things that should be basic common sense, but more than often is not. It is called Tattoo Etiquette. Etiquette is defined as: conventional requirements as to social behavior; proprieties of conduct as established in any class or community or for any occasion. Or in more layman's terms it is the rules that govern social behavior. For instance, it is considered good etiquette to tip a waiter, to not be late, to have a good work ethic, to be polite even in un-polite company, ect. There are some certain common sense things to keep in mind when stepping into a Tattoo Studio. Unfortunately it seems that many people leave their common sense outside, so I am going to take these things and discuss them. First: Before you come to the tattoo studio have some kind of idea what you want. Tattoos are for life and impulse buying is not normally a great idea. You might settle on a tattoo today and six months later you will probably decide you don't like it. Plan your tattoos ahead of time. Think about what you want your tattoo to say to everyone you meet. If you have some idea of what you want and can communicate that to your artist then he can work with you to design something just for you, but one of the most frustrating things we have to deal with is someone who comes in and starts asking questions about the cost with no idea of what they want. Your artist can not answer any of your questions until he learns what it is you want from him. The clearer you can be in describing what you want, the easier it is for us to work with you. If you have a picture, don't bring it in on your phone. Get it printed out or email us a copy of the picture with an idea of the size. We can print it out and size it for you but if you want an accurate price, we can't do that off a phone. Second: Strongly consider tipping your artist. Contrary to popular belief Tattoo Artists are not financially well off. They rely heavily on tips. Your artist only gets a percentage of the price of your tattoo work and the more remote a studio is in relation to a large city the less volume of work they do. They do not get paid on an hourly wage. You would not go to a good restaraunt and not tip the waiter unless the service was just real bad, isn't your tattoo artist more worthy of a tip than your waiter? Your waiter is bringing you food and insuring that your drinks remain filled for the half hour you are there. Your artist is spending a lot of time putting artwork on you that will be there forever. As a general rule, 10% is considered a low tip, 15%-25% is considered a good tip, and anything more than 25% is considered a heavy tipper. This is something you can believe, if you tip your artist he will spend more time and put more attention into your tattoo, and that should be reason enough to tip him. Third: Do not try to bargain with your tattoo artist. Most tattoo studios use a set guideline for pricing tattoos and what you will find is that most artists have already cut that price. If you try to bargain with him to cut the price even more, you will not be kindly recieved. Most tattoo artists receive 30% to 50% of your tattoo price, if it is not worth his time to do the tattoo not only will you not get the best quality work, but you will end up making your artist angry before he does your tattoo. Definantly not a good idea when you consider that you will be wearing that art for the rest of your life. Is it worth what you might save? Some people act like they MUST get that $10.00 or $20.00 off the price. They think it makes them good bargain shoppers. You might get away with that with a used car salesman, but it is considered very bad form in a tattoo studio and is subject to get you a very rude response. If you do not have the money to afford the work you want see if there is a way you can do it in multiple settings so that you CAN afford it. Remember that good tattoos are not cheap and cheap tattoos are not good. Tattoos are expensive and if all you want is cheap then a tattoo studio is not for you. Fourth: Do not go into a tattoo studio if you have been drinking. We don't want to deal with you while you've been drinking and its against the law for us to tattoo you while you've been drinking. Come back when you are not. Fifth: This is one of my personal pet peeves and it goes along with #3 above. DO NOT brag about how cheap your other tattoos are, especially if you got them in a house by your friend Joe who charged you a case of beer and a BBQ. Your artist does not care, he will not be polite about it and he will tell you exactly what your cheap tattoo looks like and you will not be happy with what he tells you. You come into a tattoo studio and you will be charged studio prices. We have bills to pay, and the studio only sees about $20 out of every hundred dollars in profit and sometimes not even that. We have to pay State Sales Tax, County or City Tax, Income Tax, Unemployment tax, Medicare and FICA on the employees, then we have to pay for insurance, rent, Utilities, Internet, Phone, C.P.A. fees, ect. We don't care that you only payed $20.00 for $200.00 worth of work that came out looking like my 11 year old son did it. If you are happy with it, fine, to each his own, but it isn't going to make you any friends. go back to your friend Joe with the case of beer and a BBQ or pay the price you are quoted in the studio. Complaining about the price will not decrease it, if anything it will increase it. We charge $10.00 to listen to your complaining about prices. Sixth: Listen people. BATHE! If you stink, go home and clean up before you come here to get tattooed. We have to get close and personal to do tattoos and if you stink we will get it over with as fast as we can. Cleanliness and personal hygeine should be a given, but it isn't. Treat your tattooist like you would treat your family doctor or gynecologist. If you come to a tattoo studio be clean. If you are having stomach problems and can't control the issue then wait til that condition is over before you come to get tattooed. Seventh: Don't try to force your artist to make social conversation. Many artists have to concentrate on what they are doing. Asking him questions or forcing him to talk to you breaks his concentration and may create problems you don't want. If he isn't talking to you, he isn't trying to be rude, he's trying to concentrate on giving you the best work possible. If he is comfortable talking then he'll talk to you. If not, he won't, let him decide that. Associated with that is your cheering section. Many people want a friend with them to share the experience with or to hold their hand, or whatever, that is fine, but the artist must be able to concentrate, bringing four or five friends that hover over the artist is distracting, so don't do it. Also associated with that is the issue of children. Tattoos typically take an hour at minimum including paperwork, consent forms, payment, tattoo preparation, and set up, and can go for 4 hours or longer. Children have short attention spans and are easily bored. Bored children quickly become a distraction. Either bring someone to watch your children in the lobby away from the tattooing area, or leave them with someone at home. Eighth: If you suddenly do not feel well during a tattoo; nausea, dizzyness, queasiness, or anything like that, tell your artist immediately. Don't try to tough it out. Your artist is trained to recognize what is going on and deal with it. Even if you have no history of medical problems, the tattooing procedure puts a huge strain on your body and rapid drops in blood sugar are common even when you do not have Diabetes or Hypoglycemia. Eat something with a sugar content and drink a soda before the tattoo begins and you can usually stop these symptoms before they occur. Ninth: Be loyal to your artist as much as you can. If you like his work, come back and get more work from him often. The more you come to the same artist, the better deal you will get on your tattoos from him. Bring people in to get work done by him. Believe me, if you do these two things you will see that you get more work for your money than anyone else does, which leads me to the final point of Etiquette here. Tenth: Don't brag to your friends about the price your tattoo artist gives you if he cuts you a deal. He might not cut your friends the same deal he cut you. The artist has some small leeway with the pricing guidelines, but he doesn't cut his price for everyone. If you come in three or four times and he decides to cut your price by 20%, he might not cut your friend's price when you bring him in. So if you tell your friend you got $300.00 worth of work for $200.00 and your friend comes in expecting the same deal, they probably won't get it, and if they tell your artist "Well Sally only paid $200.00" you might find that you don't get that kind of deal again. Okay, so we've gone through ten rules of etiquette for tattoo studios. This certainly does not cover everything, but it covers the biggest issues. You might think this is all common sense, and truthfully it should be...but its not. These are the issues we constantly have to deal with in our studio. Remember that a little common sense and courtesy to your artist will go a LONG way to making this choice the most pleasant and rewarding experience you can have. Your tattoos last forever. Remember that when you go to any studio.