how much does a tattoo artist make in a year

How Much Does A Tattoo Artist Make In A Year

It’s normal for people to ask barbers, mechanics, or anyone else offering their services about their income. As you know, tattooing also become a profitable business with the growing trends of getting tattoos. Whether you are a tattoo enthusiast or a tattoo artist or want to start a tattooing business. The first question that arises in your mind is how much does a tattoo artist make in a year. 

Tattoo artists’ earnings depend on various factors. We will discuss the elements here in detail. These factors are the tattoo artist’s skill set and expertise, the tattoo artist’s location, and competition in the area. If you want to know about tattoo artist consultation and booking appointments check out a recent article about methods of writing an effective email to a tattoo artist.

How much does a tattoo artist make in a year?

In most cases, tattoo artists in the USA or any other country charge an hourly rate. The customer pays them according to their tattoo size. A large tattoo requires more time to design than a small one. A tattoo artist’s average annual salary is 50k$= per year. The lowest amount earned in a year by artists is around 30k, and the highest is 150k per year. The average income of a new artist remains between 25k$ to 30K$, and an expert tattoo artist earns 100k$ to 110k$ per year.

It depends on the skill level and area competition. An artist in the USA is making more than other small towns tattoo artists. Location and area trends also impact tattoo artists’ salaries.

How Much Does A Tattoo Artist Make In A Year

Factors that decide tattoo artist salary

Artist experience

The tattoo artist’s salary depends on the artist’s expertise level. An excellent, experienced tattoo artist is paid the most due to their working experience. A beginner tattoo artist is paid less. Comparatively, they earn 2,0000 to 25,000 per year.

A highly skilled tattoo artist has more demand; while a person wants a tattoo, he prefers a professional artist. A pro artist has so many clients in a single day with a busy schedule that he charges a considerable amount due to his demand. A beginner artist captures a low amount because he needs clients to gain his trust.

Number of clients

The income of the tattoo artist depends on the number of clients. If you serve more clients daily, you will generate more revenue. While with a small number, you will make less income.

Artist popularity

It is common practice in every business that popular businesses charge a high amount due to popularity in a specific industry. An artist with many pending appointments charges a high amount due to demand. Any famous company charges an amount according to their reputation. A beginner artist charges little to build his reputation and portfolio and attract more customers.

Clients tip

Most of the time, a satisfied client gives a tip to the artist. The tip amount is almost 10 to 15% of the tattoo price. It also adds to the annual income of the tattoo artist always. In tattoo shops in elite areas, artists make much money from tips because leaving tips is a trend in select neighborhoods. 


A strong portfolio attracts the maximum number of clients. When you display your previous work in a portfolio book or on your business website, the customers check out the portfolio and get appointments without checking prices. It’s only possible due to a considerable number of satisfied clients. We advise you to display your portfolio in your tattoo station, design, portfolio book, and website.

Certification or degree

A man with a degree or certificate gets more clients because he has better knowledge of art and design. Nowadays, various institutes empower people with tattoo art skills and issue a certificate for assurance. 

A certified tattoo artist has many clients, so he charges a reasonable amount with the high demand for quality work. An accredited artist knows the sensitivity and all types of precautions compulsory for tattoos.


The tattoo artist’s location is also an essential factor. If he has a station in the elite class area, he charges a considerable amount to meet his other expenses. In most elite societies, people never bargain on price; this practice makes a tattoo artist highly paid.

An artist in big cities or towns with many clients charges a lot, while an artist in a small village with fewer clients charges much less comparatively.

Speed of work

An artist’s monthly or annual income also depends on the working speed. For example, one artist makes tattoos for 15 clients daily, and the other makes 10. The payment for the first one will be more than 2nd one.

Work speed is only possible with the proper equipment and top-level expertise. With this experience, an artist can attend to the most significant number of clients, which will give pushback to his annual income.

Tattoo size and time

For example, if someone is an expert in small tattoos, he will make less money, attracting many customers. On the other hand, an artist with significant tattoo expertise will make a considerable amount with 2 or 3 clients. Some large tattoos take more time and pay less comparatively.

Tattoo station ownership

The shop ownership also makes an impact. The artist who owns a station works extra and makes much more than the hired artist. The owner artist tries to attend to more and more clients. Artists worked only in specific hours on daily or monthly wages, serving fewer clients. 

Tattoo style

Few tattoos need more concentration due to the complexity of design. Complex tattoo artists charge more due to design complexity and body sensitivity. A tattoo with a unique style also requires a high-quality skill, so the artist with that skill demands more and makes much more income than casual designers.

People also ask

Scott Campbell is currently the highest-paying tattoo artist in the world and also from the United States

Yes, tattooing is profitable and becoming more and more profitable with the advancement in the fashion industry

Yes, you can adopt tattooing as a full-time profession. It will help you to generate a considerable income as other businesses. 


Tattoo artist income is not fixed; it may fluctuate due to various factors. You will get paid a lot if you have experience as an employee or owner of a tattoo station. Location and artist reputation with a strong portfolio also matter a lot.
A beginner tattoo artist can earn 25k to 30k per year. A tattoo artist with a good experience can make 100k to 110k per year. In this article, we guide you on how much a tattoo artist makes in a year, whether a beginner or a pro artist. If you need clarification on artist income and rates, please get in touch with us. Thanks for reading!

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