Tattoo Tipping Around the World
All over the world there are people (it’s true – I checked!) and many of those people have tattoos. Some countries are heavily inked (Hello America) and some…not so much…(Saudi Arabia – cough cough). But it appears tattooed people and those considering joining our colorful ranks have questions. One of the most popular questions has to do with tipping a tattoo artist and whether or not it is expected and if so how much.
People ask this question because most are generous souls who are excited to get a tattoo and don’t want to look like a dick in the tattoo shop. The tattoo world thanks you for this. Tattoo artists work hard, deserve to be paid and are grateful for your show of appreciation. However some countries Do Not Tip. No matter what. And trying to tip in those countries can not only prove to be awkward – it can even be seen as offensive!
So what to do? Well – for starters read this unofficial guide and when in doubt consult a travel blog or The Lonely Planet – I’m pretty sure they have more, ahh researchy guys on their staff than I do! Also this wiki article is pretty good. And if I got a country wrong or skipped one tell me in the comments and I’ll correct it. But be nice – I’m a sensitive soul.
United States of America
Yes – tipping is accepted and appreciated. Expected? Not 100% as many feel tattoos are too expensive to warrant a tip BUT tattoo artists fall under the category of “service” (like hairdressers , massage therapists and nail techs) and those folks get tipped. Standard tip is 10% – 20% Read more about it here
Like the USA but with better manners and ahhh Maple Syrup? Tip? Yes. 10% – 15%
Central America and South America
Tipping is accepted and very much appreciated in these countries. Very likely you are getting your tattoo for a bargain so this might be a good place to leave a generous 15%+ tip if you can afford it and you are very happy with your work
Probably not. Tipping for salon services is not expected because the price is all inclusive. Tattooing falls under this category so…be an excellent client and offer a sincere thank you. If you just feel like you have to throw in a tip, however, you are unlikely to offend and 3%-5% is probably fine. When in doubt – ASK THE ARTIST – they will set you straight.
Tipping for salon service is not common but is allowed and appreciated (who doesn’t like making extra money for a job well done?). Follow the same rule for England.
Austria and Germany
Yes. Service people receive tips although generally a smaller % – perhaps 3% – 5%
Spain, Italy, Scotland, Ireland
Tipping is not traditional in many circumstances. Probably OK to skip it. If your artist was amazing and you feel compelled to leave something extra 3% – 5% is probably fine – but make sure they are OK with taking it and if they refuse then be gracious about it.
Nope. Don’t do it. Don’t even think about it. Just be a good mate and don’t cry and whine during your tattoo.
Tipping is not required but tips for exceptional service can be offered – it us up to you. 5% – 10% would be more than adequate
Allowed but not expected – use your judgement
Good luck getting a tattoo here. But tipping is not required or expected
Nope. Don’t do it. Especially in Japan* where it could potentially be offensive
* Ok – where I have said NO bear in mind a few factors. Many of the artists in these countries work with an international clientelle and also travel around the world to tattoo. Tips may have been given to them under varying circumstances.
When in doubt ASK THE ARTIST.
Keep it simple and polite. “I understand The tattoo is 300 (insert foreign currency here) – may I add extra money as a thank you to the artist?” Accept whatever the response is without an argument – especially if it is a NO. Americans are known for our (occasionally) excessive tipping culture but that is not the standard globally.
Hopefully the tattoo artist you are working with is being paid well for their efforts. First and foremost be polite, respectful and follow their instructions about sitting still etc. And offer a sincere “thank you” when the work is done.
all right let’s here it in the comments – what did I get wrong?