7 Factors that Impact the Pricing of A Tattoo

Tattoos are more than just ink on the skin; they are a form of self-expression, a piece of art, and a lifelong commitment. The decision to get a tattoo involves various considerations, and one of the most crucial aspects is the cost.

But what determines the price of a tattoo? In this article, we explore the seven key factors that can influence the cost of your next ink.

Whether you’re a tattoo enthusiast or someone considering their first piece, this guide will provide valuable insights into the world of tattoo pricing.

1. Size of the Tattoo

The size of a tattoo plays a significant role in determining its cost. It’s a simple equation: the larger the tattoo, the higher the price. But why is this the case?

Time and Effort

The larger the tattoo, the more time and dedication it requires from the tattoo artist. Tattoos that span large areas of the body, such as a full sleeve or a back piece, can take multiple sessions to complete. This extended time commitment naturally results in a higher price.

Equipment and Resources

Larger tattoos require more ink, more needles, and often a variety of different tools to achieve the desired effect. As the tattoo increases in size, so does the cost of the materials used, which is reflected in the final price.

2. Design Complexity

Complex Tattoo Outline

Not all tattoos are created equal. The intricacy of a tattoo’s design can greatly influence its cost. Let’s explore why complex designs come with a heftier price tag.

Skill and Precision

Realistic, portrait and other intricate designs demand a high level of skill and precision from the tattoo artist. These designs often involve detailed shading, fine lines, and a deep understanding of light and shadow.

The expertise required for such designs justifies the higher cost.

Time Intensity

Complex designs take longer to execute. An artist must pay close attention to detail, often working slowly to ensure accuracy.

This extended time commitment, combined with the skill required, makes complex tattoos more expensive than simpler ones.

3. Color and Special Inks

The choice of color in a tattoo can make it pop and stand out. However, adding color or using special inks can also add to the cost.

Variety and Quality of Inks

Colored tattoos require a range of different inks. High-quality inks that are vibrant and long-lasting tend to be more expensive.

Additionally, special inks like neons and UV-reactive inks come at a premium due to their unique properties.

Application Technique

Applying color, especially multiple colors, requires a different technique than simple black ink. Blending colors smoothly and ensuring they stand out requires skill and often takes more time, leading to a higher cost.

4. Consultation and Customization

HOW TO_ Create Your Custom Tattoo

A tattoo is a personal statement, and many individuals desire a design that is unique to them. Custom designs and consultations can influence the final price of a tattoo.

Artist’s Creativity

Crafting a custom design involves the artist’s creativity, effort, and time. They need to understand the client’s vision, sketch out ideas, and make revisions until the design is perfect. This process is time-consuming and requires a lot of skill, to justify the added cost.


A custom design means that you’re getting a tattoo that is one-of-a-kind. The exclusivity of having a design that no one else has can come with a higher price tag.

5. Artist’s Skills and Experience

The expertise of the tattoo artist is a major factor in determining the cost of a tattoo. An experienced artist can command higher prices due to their skill and reputation.

Reputation and Demand

Well-known and experienced tattoo artists often have a higher demand. Their reputation, built over years of delivering quality work, allows them to charge more for their services.

Quality of Work

Experienced artists are more likely to deliver high-quality tattoos that stand the test of time. Their understanding of techniques, skin types, and ink application ensures that the tattoo not only looks great when it’s fresh but also ages well.

6. Tattoo Style and Technique


The world of tattoos is diverse, with various styles and techniques. The method an artist uses can influence the cost of the tattoo.

Traditional Techniques

Some techniques, like traditional bamboo tattooing, are labor-intensive and require a unique skill set. These methods often take longer and, due to their specialized nature, can cost more.

Modern Styles

Styles like watercolor, geometric, or dot work require a specific approach and expertise. Artists specializing in these styles might charge more due to the unique skills and techniques involved.

7. Tattooing Equipment and Hygiene

The tools and equipment used in tattooing, along with the emphasis on hygiene, play a role in determining the cost of a tattoo.

Quality of Equipment

High-quality tattoo machines, needles, and other equipment come at a cost. Artists who invest in the best tools often produce better results, and this investment is reflected in the price of the tattoo.

Hygiene and Safety

Ensuring a sterile environment is crucial in tattooing. Single-use needles, aftercare supplies, and the thorough cleaning of equipment and furniture add to the overall cost.

Reputable tattoo shops prioritize cleanliness and safety, and this focus on hygiene can influence the price.


Why do larger tattoos cost more?

Larger tattoos require more time, dedication, and resources from the tattoo artist. They often need more ink, and multiple needles, and can take multiple sessions to complete, leading to a higher price.

How does the complexity of a design affect the price?

Complex designs demand a high level of skill, precision, and time from the tattoo artist. Detailed designs like realistic portraits involve intricate shading, fine lines, and a deep understanding of light and shadow, justifying a higher cost.

Why might colored tattoos be more expensive?

Colored tattoos require a variety of inks, and high-quality, vibrant inks are more expensive. Additionally, the technique of applying and blending colors smoothly is different and often more time-consuming than using just black ink.

What’s the benefit of getting a custom-designed tattoo?

A custom design is unique to the individual, ensuring exclusivity. The design process involves the artist’s creativity, effort, and time, understanding the client’s vision, and making revisions until perfection.

How does an artist’s reputation influence the cost?

Well-known and experienced tattoo artists often have higher demand due to their reputation for delivering quality work. Their expertise allows them to charge more for their services, ensuring tattoos that look great and age well.

Why is hygiene important in tattoo pricing?

Ensuring a sterile environment is crucial for safety in tattooing. Costs associated with single-use needles, aftercare supplies, and thorough cleaning of equipment and furniture add to the overall price.

Reputable shops prioritize cleanliness, which can influence the tattoo’s cost.

Final Words

Choosing to get a tattoo is a significant decision, one that comes with both excitement and responsibility. While the cost is a crucial factor, it’s essential to remember that tattoos are a lifelong commitment.

Investing in quality work from a reputable artist ensures not only a beautiful piece of art but also a safe and pleasant tattooing experience. As you navigate the world of tattoos, keep these pricing factors in mind, and prioritize value over cost.

After all, a tattoo is one of the few things you’ll carry with you for life, making it worth every penny.