What tattoo artists wish clients knew about their trade

Tattoo artists struggles

Your local tattoo artist is just like any business owner – they work hard to please their clients, come up with fresh marketing ideas to grow their business and try to keep everything under control. However, there are days when not everything goes according to plan and customers can turn them into a living hell. After interviewing a number of tattoo artists and studios, here are some of the things they wish their clients knew about their trade.

The price

No matter what industry, prices are always a hot topic, and tattoo shops aren’t left out of the discussion. Potential customers walk in, show a printout of what they’d like done and are astounded to hear that they’re going to have to pay a deposit for a sketch! What customers don’t understand is that creating a sketch is itself a part of the tattooing process, as it requires the tattooist to come up with a design closest to what the client is looking for. Additionally, they need to take into account what part of the body is going to be tattooed and how much workspace they’ll have.

Besides paying for a sketch of your desired tattoo, it is worth knowing that your tattoo artist isn’t up for negotiating on their prices. In fact, it’s flat out rude to ask them to do so. What customers don’t realise is that every tattooist has their own style of tattooing and their work is unique. Just like with any other practice, if you expect quality work, expect to pay a fair price for it! A tattoo is forever, so it is best to invest wisely. It is often the case that customers simply don’t know what they’re paying for. Sure, they know that your work is one of a kind and all, however, clients aren’t familiar with the fact that most tattoo artists go through tedious training as apprentices, take courses to improve their art and have to pay for needles, ink and instrument maintenance.

Tip: To inform new clients about what goes into their pricing, tattoo studios can send a bulk newsletter from their Versum system or pricing cards, which can also be shared on social media.

Disruptive clients are not well-received

Working with customers can be difficult – working with difficult customers can be a nightmare, especially in the body art industry. Although you’ve mentioned to them multiple times to not distract you, they do so anyway. For the first-time customers, the most often asked question is “Is it going to hurt?”, followed by “Can we stop?” or “I need a break”. As for clients who have had tattoos in the past, the most commonly asked questions tend to be about your experience or if you’ve tattooed any celebrities. Some tattooists don’t mind being asked these questions, in fact, they might even prefer to have a discussion, but if they ask not to be bothered during the process, it’s best to respect that. What really bothers tattooists is that one client who brings their entire family tree with them, keeps constantly fidgeting around or has second thoughts.

Everyone gets excited about their first tattoo, but bringing your whole family not only causes stress for the tattoo artist but also increases the chances of mistakes being made. Fidgeters are another group of clients that can really ruin a tattoo artist’s day and even reputation. They move around, complain about feeling uncomfortable, which increases your chances of making a mistake. Lastly, by far one of the more disruptive clients are those who are having second thoughts or are just not feeling a connection with the tattoo they just got. Imagine standing hunched over a client for hours, working on an intricate tattoo. They loved the concept you’ve sketched out and were excited from the start. You take a ten-minute stretch break, only to have your client say “You know what, I’m just not feeling the tattoo – can you add some extra designs or something”? These types of customers can truly make the body modification industry a challenge to work in. However, tattooists who use Versum make use of detailed client records for managing and storing their information – along with descriptions. The next time Fidgety Frank wants a tattoo session, your system will inform you of what to expect when he comes in!

Attracting clients can be difficult

If you own or work at the only tattoo studio in town, then you’re lucky. In some cases, when there is a high concentration of tattoo artists who have similar tattooing styles and designs, they have to compete with one another. And sure, having a prestigious artist rent a chair in your salon is great for business, but once they leave, it’s back to the drawing board. It’s also important that tattoo artists form bonds with clients – customers not only want their tattoos to be unique, but also to have a memorable time getting them done. Clients who feel a bond with their tattooist will gladly help to promote their work.

The fact is, every review counts! With Versum, review requests are sent to customers after they’ve paid, which increases the number of customer feedback, resulting in more clients and better reach. These reviews appear on your online booking page, but can also be shared on your social media fan pages. Additionally, the system has a built-in Loyalty Program, which can be utilised to reward clients with points for their referrals. With the points they’ve earned, customers can pick up prizes from your studio!

All of the health hazards

As noted above, standing hunched over a client for hours at a time can be tiring for most artists. Not only that, but working on a highly detailed tattoo requires unbroken focus and steady hands – which can prove to be hard, especially when dealing with difficult clients. One thing most customers probably don’t know is that tattoo artists have to deal with physical health problems like back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome and others caused by extensive work in uncomfortable positions.

Running a tattoo business is no walk in the park, and not every customer realises this. Thankfully, with the help of Versum, you can inform clients about your trade and inform them about what goes into every tattoo. Grab your free Versum account below!

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