The Tattoo Artist Career Path: Ins& Outs
If you have an immense passion for tattooing, than a career as a tattoo artist can be one of the most rewarding choices you could ever make, aside from the great pay that you could earn; thanks to the rise in tattooing trends that seem to be taking place globally. Tattooing gives you the power to grow your technical ability’s and the freedom to adopt one of many decorative styles that’s fitting to your personality. This freedom of choice in your own personal growth will only increase your talent and that wonderful sense of pride when you finally finish an awesome design.
Despite the visual allure of a tattoo artist practicing in their studio, flaunting their technical know-how, it can be easy to forget the sheer amount of effort and determination that the individual has put into his craft to enable him to create such beautifully elegant pieces of art. Most of these tattooists have initially studied under a proficient tattoo artist for at least two years before embarking on their own ventures and assuming sole responsibility over clients. The beginning of the path to becoming a professional tattooist is fraught with twists and turns that represent the many hardships you will face, but when has anything that is easy to obtain, been worth having.
Maybe you already understand that the road to becoming a professional tattooist is fraught with hardship and this fact doesn’t faze you. Maybe you are already on an apprenticeship or on a training school course and you want to plan ahead and set a clear path to success. If you stick to this article, we will go through the most important aspects of a tattooing career path. And quite possibly after you finished reading this article, you will have a new sense of clarity that will see you through your current training circumstances and continue to drive you to the end of your career.
In It, Purely For the Money; Than Tattooing Isn’t For You
The global tattoo market has been growing exponentially and people have a new renewed hunger for tattoos, but this doesn’t mean that the market growth will be easy to benefit from. Remember, you won’t be the only one with the idea of tapping into this market. With an increase in demand, there will be an increase in competition.
The problem with increased competition will mean there will be a reduction in your service charges, great for the customers, not so good for you. This effect can be seen in places like Bangkok where the sheer number of tattoo shops have completely over-saturated the market, purely aimed at tourists visiting for their one to two week stay, these parlors offer cheap tattoos as a souvenir, perpetually combating their neighbors in a price war.
There are generally only two options to overcome this, the first one, the hardest option; is to become amazing at the technicality of tattoo work. Sounds easy, but unfortunately it isn’t, although for those of you who are exceptionally gifted, this gives you the perfect platform to differentiate yourself from the crowd. You can compete in areas with high foot fall and the high competition that come with it and come out on top. The second option is easier, and the most realistic option for those tattooists that are talented but no more talented than their counterparts. This option is to do your research and relocate to an area that needs a new upcoming tattoo parlour, eliminating competition and allowing you to set your prices in accordance to your ability. Even with these advantages, the road to becoming a successful tattooist and eventually a tattoo parlour owner is long and arduous and you can expect the first couple of years to be financially difficult.
You’re In the Service Industry, so provide a Great Service!
It should be rather obvious by now (if you have read the other articles), that tattooing is a service industry. From the very moment the customer steps into your parlor, you should have them greeted warmly by your receptionist or even by you if you are the first person they see. You should provide an insightful solution to their needs; whether they are just enquiring about the estimated cost of their tattoo idea or if they are asking to see your design portfolio; each person is a potential long-term customer and if they have a positive experience, they will most likely go on to tell their family, furthering your parlors reputation and ultimately the businesses profit.
But the customer service doesn’t just end at the front door and by the reception desk. You have to keep in mind that you will perform a painful and uncomfortable procedure on a person for an extended amount of time. If you were in the same position as the customer, would you like to be stuck with a tattooist that had a rude and inconsiderate manner, who wasn’t empathising with your situation; especially if it was your first time getting a tattoo and you may be apprehensive. These negative experiences can be the quickest way to damage your reputation and lose repeated book-ins with new customers, or even having people dissuaded all together by family and friends through their social networking profiles for all to see because of their experience.
Effective customer service isn’t just for protecting your job security and preventing the loss of customers, it can also improve your overall performance as a tattooist and allow you to deliver tattoo designs that your clients can truly appreciate. You can achieve this by striking a great rapport with your customer and allowing this person to truly divulge and articulate what they would like in their design. Don’t deprecate their idea if you do not believe it to aesthetically pleasing, work with them and help them achieve a compromise that represents their design but retains your beautiful style.
Remember, your service ability and interpersonal skills can be one of your most effective tools to advancing yourself in your tattooing career and creating a good reputation or a reputable establishment.
No Strings Attached, As Far as Tattooing Is Concerned
One fact that should be established right away about your tattooing career is that you, as a tattooist are considered by governing authorities, self-employed.Tattooists are associated as freelance contractors, regardless of your working circumstances.
This fact has great significance towards the management of your finances and where your pay is concerned. This means that you’re responsible for recording and accurately paying your own taxes annually, it also means that you will not get any perks that employers of other job descriptions may benefit from. If you fall ill or decide that you want vacation time, then you are losing out on potential money that can be made. Although this can be balanced by the fact that you can generally work the hours you want to work; by choosing available booking times with your clients.
As a freelance contractor you won’t get paid according to the standard hourly rate of the city you are working in, but you will most likely abide a commission based system where you will contribute to the tattoo parlor that hosts you. A common commission percentage among artists and tattoo parlors is a 50% commission charge, although businesses can be flexible; depending on your skill and experience and even your reputation (that’s if you have started to establish one).
Tattoo businesses are also susceptible to seasonal demands and other factors that may have a direct impact on the demand of your services. This will mean that in various months, most commonly around summer, you will have an extremely high demand for work and be kept very busy, but in the colder months you will have the opposite effect. This will require some shrewdness on your part to correctly budget your finances for the year.
It’s About Your Drive and Ambition
The career of the tattooist knows no bounds, you are free to develop and improve yourself continuously; growing your talent and advancing your reputation in the tattooing community. By searching for perpetual improvement within yourself, you will only be awarded with impressed clients and a stellar reputation. The tattooist career is at your very whim, nothing is holding you back, yes there is a lot of pressure, because your career progress rests on your shoulders alone, but it also allows you the freedom to grow and become successful at something you love.
And that is the key; you have to have an innate unbeatable passion for tattooing. This is the thing that will drive your ambition. Yeah you may not get to always ink the designs that you would like or their will days be days that you will lose form and ink a bad tattoo, knowing a client is going to be upset about your work. But as long as you have passion for what you do, you will keep going and make a success of it.