how much does a tattoo cost?

A question that tattoo shops get asked a lot is ‘How much does a tattoo like this cost?”  It sounds like an easy question and sometimes it is, but for a majority of custom tattoos we are unable to give an exact cost until meeting you and covering a few areas. We need to make sure that we understand what you want and estimate this accordingly.

Size Matters!

Do not let anyone tell you size does not matter. For pricing a tattoo, the larger surface area the tattoo covers, the more ink will be needed.  If your tattoo design is particularly intricate, this will require more time per square inch than a tattoo and it could therefore take more time to complete.

Where would you like your tattoo?

Placement of your tattoo can affect the overall price. If your tattoo is placed in a sensitive area this may require the tattoo artist to be more careful with pain levels of a client.  This in turn lengthens the time it takes to complete and if it is a big piece the cost will increase.

Detail in a tattoo design.

Detail is one of the main factors that determine the price of a tattoo. The more detailed a design, the more ink and time will be needed to complete. Custom tattoos will always be more expensive than a stock tattoo that can be chosen from a book.  These require more time, patience and sometimes skill than using a template that an artist can complete quicker.

Application of Colour.

A tattoo with four colours might not necessarily cost more than a tattoo with one colour. But applying the colours could well be a delicate process that is a skill in itself. Mixing colours and ensuring the correct shades are achieved will certainly take time adding to the cost of larger tattoos that re more colourful.

Hourly rate and Minimum Charges.

Tattoo artists need to eat too! Most tattooists will have an hourly rate and possibly even a minimum charge.  Disposable tattooing equipment such as needles are changed after each client with sterilisation equipment needed on other items, all adding costs to a tattoo artist in time and operating expenses.

Locations of tattoo shops

If your tattoo artist is located in one of the most expensive parts of London, their overheads for renting a space in a studio, or operating their own premises could be significantly higher than a tattoo shop located in the outskirts of Leeds. This might not always be the case and we will not go into every possible scenario. You could find the cost of a tattoo higher if the tattooist is located in a prime location.


A tattooist with a solid reputation and a 3-month waiting list may well be able to charge a premium price for their tattooing services. Not every tattoo artist will increase prices the more recognised they become.  As with any industry and profession, a tattoo artist will have invested many years of training and made many sacrifices to get to the top of their profession. This will often be reflected in the amount charged for a tattoo.