A layman’s guide to understanding how tattoos are priced in India

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One of the most important things about getting tattooed in India has to be how much will my tattoo cost. In this article, I’m gonna try to break it down and put some clarity into how pricing is usually determined in today’s Indian tattoo scene.

So let’s start by talking about a term called ‘minimum charge’

Most places you go to will have a minimum charge. It will vary depending on which studio/artist you approach. Some have a minimum charge as low as Rs.500, and some can be Rs.5000, or even more. This basically means that is the cheapest you can get a tattoo for at this particular artist/studio.

It could either be a dot or something simplistic, it’s just the charge put forth for the new needles, ink and other supplies used for the tattooing process, everything that you see on the setup, electricity and of course the artist’s time is also taken into account.

Prices also vary depending on whether the studio is more established; the quality of equipment used and the artist’s experience is also taken into account. You’re paying for the years of experience they have to pull off the kind of work you want, and do it flawlessly.

Artist unkown

Think of it this way; you wouldn’t pay the same amount for some food you get from a guy off the street than you would for at a fancy restaurant, right? The quality of food would also be justified for the amount you’re paying… so you guess the same logic applies when getting tattooed.

Now studios also charge differently: either per square inch, hourly or as simple as you’d be charged as per the design. Some, who specialise in mainly large-scale work, charge per session too. Different artists and studios charge in different ways for whatever they find works for them. Per square inch came from a necessity for the client to put an amount on the size of the design they wanted tattooed. A lot of artists are willing to work with this method purely for the comfort of the client’s comprehension. But, the problem with this is why would you charge the same for a 2×2 inch square and a 2×2 inches square with a lot of detail in it.

 

 
 
 
 
 
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Oh, I’ll be there haha. Can I just pay the deposit the day of the appointment? 🤡 #danktattoomeme

A post shared by Robert Paulson (@danktattoomeme) on

Hourly rates depend on how much time the artist feels it’s gonna take to tattoo your design. Usually, the designing part, breaks or stopping to have a consultation with another client isn’t included. Sometimes, this method is used for big pieces like a back piece or sleeve as it’s unreasonable to ask how much it would cost if it’s a large design and to pop a price out of nowhere.

Charging as per design would be an artist estimating the time, effort and the amount of supplies needed to pull it off, and then quoting you an amount. This can vary a bit here and there if the artist underestimated the kind of work he would need to put in, or if it’s your skin texture that demands the need to put in more work.

Deposits are usually taken by professional artists/studios to make sure their time and effort isn’t wasted on someone who isn’t serious about getting a tattoo from them. Deposits are usually non refundable as that time is reserved for you, so if you don’t show up, they could have put in that much of an effort and time into someone who was serious about getting a tattoo by them.

Also, know that artists are self-employed. There is no standard for how an artist will charge you. Some work on commission as well, and a portion of the quoted amount is given to the main artist for his/her space, supplies and/or utilities used. It’s just something you need to respect if you really want to get tattooed by that particular artist, keep an open mind, do your research, and please don’t bargain! You’ve not come into a vegetable market asking for a discount on tomatoes. This puts off all artists, as they feel you don’t hold a value to their work so they mostly wouldn’t entertain you.

What you might want to do is inform the artist about your budget and most of them would be happy to work around it. If you’re confused about their pricing, it’s always a good idea to ask, and the artist should be happy to explain it to you.

That’s about it. These are the basics you need to know about how tattoos are priced. So, next time you send that DM asking Iska Kitna (how much for this design?), know that most likely you’ll be blocked.


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