How Do Tattoo Deposits Work?

Written by: Pete

You walk into the studio feeling a mix of excitement and nerves about getting your first tattoo. But when the tattoo artist asks you for a deposit before they start the work, you may feel a little taken aback. In fact, a tattoo deposit is a common practice to ensure that the client is serious about getting the tattoo and to compensate the artist for their time composing the tattoo and readying supplies in case of a no-show or cancellation. 

The Usual System

A tattoo deposit is a standard industry practice that ensures a client’s commitment to getting their tattoo. It’s a fee that a client pays to a tattoo artist or studio in advance of their appointment. All too often, people are initially very excited about a tattoo but then seem to chicken out at the time of their appointment. A deposit helps compensate the artist for their time and materials in case of a no-show or cancellation.

The deposit amount varies depending on the artist and the size and complexity of the tattoo. Typically, the deposit ranges from 10% to 50% of the total cost of the tattoo. The deposit is usually non-refundable, as well. This emphasizes the need to commit to your tattoo appointment.

The deposit is typically paid at the time of booking the appointment, either in person or online. The artist will provide the client with a receipt or confirmation of the deposit. The deposit amount will then be deducted from the total cost of the tattoo at the time of the appointment.

If the client cancels or reschedules their appointment without giving sufficient notice, the deposit may be forfeited. This is because the artist will have spent time preparing for the appointment and may have turned down other clients to hold the spot, leading to a loss of income on their behalf.

How Do Tattoo Deposits Work?

Tattoo deposits are generally collected at the appointment booking for a tattoo. The tattoo has likely already been discussed through a consultation with the artist, and a fee for this tattoo has been agreed upon by both parties.

The amount of deposit that is collected by the artist or studio depends on their own policies, but it generally ranges from 10% to 50% of the tattoo cost, depending on the size and complexity of the design. This amount is usually deducted from the overall cost of the tattoo following the completion of a session. 

Tattoo deposits may be forfeited for any of the following reasons:

  • Missing a tattoo appointment (no-show)
  • Canceling or rescheduling without adequate notice
  • Arriving late to your appointment
  • Rescheduling an appointment multiple times
  • Failing to reschedule a canceled appointment
  • Showing up to an appointment drunk, high, or without government-issued identification

For more information about tattoo consultations, check out our article, Tattoo Consultations: How Do You Prepare? What Advice Do You Need To Know?

Frequently Asked Questions

Does a Tattoo Deposit Go Towards a Tattoo?

For most studios, yes, the deposit will be deducted from the overall fee of your tattoo. Some studios have a practice of using the deposit to pay for the artist’s design time. In addition, if your tattoo requires multiple appointments, you may be required to pay multiple deposits to secure those appointments.

Can You Re-Book an Appointment Without Another Deposit?

This depends on the specific policies of the tattoo artist or studio. Some may allow clients to reschedule without requiring an additional deposit if sufficient notice has been given, while others see this cancellation as a loss of income and will choose to keep the deposit. Be sure to ask the studio what their policy is regarding rescheduling tattoo appointments. 

Do All Appointments Require a Deposit?

Again, the answer to this question depends on the individual policies of the studio or the tattoo artist. In some cases, a deposit is only required for the first session if you have a multi-session tattoo design. In other cases, the tattoo shop may require that you put a deposit down for every appointment. And you may also find that the more often you frequent a specific shop, the more you’ll be trusted to show up for your work and may get to bypass a deposit, altogether; loyalty to an artist can have its perks!

Does the Tattoo Deposit Policy Include Any Customer Rights?

The tattoo deposit policy does not affect the customer's basic rights, such as the right to receive quality service, to be treated fairly and with respect, and to be protected against discrimination. However, it's important to note that the deposit itself is typically non-refundable. In addition, the artist or studio may have specific policies around rescheduling appointments or changing the design of the tattoo. It's vital for the client to be aware of these policies and any associated fees or requirements.

Overall, while the deposit policy may affect the client's financial obligations, it does not impact their basic rights as a customer. It's essential for both the client and the artist to communicate clearly and have a mutual understanding of the policies and expectations surrounding the tattoo appointment.

Can I Get a Deposit Back? Why Should I Pay a Deposit?

In most cases, no; tattoo deposits are generally non-refundable and are implemented to ensure your commitment to the tattoo appointment. Some studios may have policies around deposit refunds if your cancellation is due to an emergency or other extenuating circumstances. It’s important to read the deposit policy contract and ask any questions you may have prior to signing and turning over your deposit. 

You should pay a deposit to emphasize your commitment to getting your tattoo and working with a quality artist. It communicates your dedication to the process and your value of the work your artist will do in advance to prepare for your appointment. 

Our Final Thoughts

A tattoo deposit protects not only a tattoo artist or studio but also protects the client. For the shop, the deposit helps ensure that the client is committed to the appointment and compensates the artist accordingly. For a client, the deposit helps ensure that their appointment time is reserved and that the artist will prepare quality work. A tattoo deposit policy helps establish a professional and respectful relationship between the artist and the client.

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