Tattoos And The Artist ; Rocking The Client

Tattoos and the Artist: Are you Rocking the Client?

It’s funny how some things have changed in today’s society. It seems as though a lot of people just don’t care about the next person. Please don’t misunderstand, that doesn’t mean everyone, but a good majority. One of the biggest things you can notice is a lot more rudeness that people are not afraid to show. It’s almost as if it’s OK to be that way.

In the business world where you deal with people face to face, it seems to have become a way of life for either the client or the employee to be rude and nasty. I’ve seen some pretty nasty battles take place between a customer and an employee that made my jaw drop.


Online shopping has really taken over. Many major retail stores have closed because clients just are not walking through the doors anymore. I’ve asked friends why they online shop and they tell me that they just don’t want deal with rude customers and employees.

One thing for sure is that the only online shopping you can do for tattoos is either for supplies or an idea for your next tattoo. So obviously a client must continue to go to a tattoo shop to get inked, but is the artist rocking the client? So grab your beverage and let’s rock this conversation.

That first impression

I couldn’t count how many times I’ve walked into a tattoo studio and stood at the counter waiting as the counter person in front of me made their phone more important than me. Is that phone paying your bills? I’ve had artists act like I was bothering them when I would want to talk about a tattoo I wanted to get. Like most people, this first impressions deciphers if I will want to do business there or not.

How are you Treating a Possible Client who Walks Through the Door?

I have an amazing artist, Mikey, who is not only fantastic for the work he does, but in how he treats me and other clients. When I first met him, I walked into the studio knowing what I wanted, but not sure where and how. It had been many years since getting my first tattoo and I was ready to start my journey with ink.

I had walked into the studio impressed with how clean it was. I was greeted right away by the young lady at the counter and asked what could she do for me. I let her know what I wanted to get, but that I wasn’t sure how I wanted it. This is when she introduced me to Mikey.


After meeting and talking to Mikey, he handed me his portfolio and said, “Why don’t you have a look at some of my work and I’ll draw something up?” He came back after a bit and showed me what would be my next tattoo, the word courage. He had suggested it would look good on my inner bicep and I thought perfect.

I asked when he was available to do it and he replied “My next client isn’t for another hour and a half and it’ll take an hour if you’d like it done now.” So we rocked it.

The Nervous First Timer

Getting that first ink job can be a nerve racking experience. When the client has the thought to get one done, all the questions begin to swarm in their head. Remembering times I would be with a group of friends and they would share their tattoo experiences with the friend who wanted their first one. They would make it sound so horrific; the pain of the needles and all the blood. Almost like the Texas Chainsaw Massacre.

The first timer should be treated with a lot of love and guidance through the process. They’re walking into the unknown and really don’t know what to expect. Lots of artists I know explain things in quite some detail to really make them feel like they belong there.

I’ve seen great artists suggest choosing a less painful spot for the first time client. Always remember this is potential income for the future, so you want them to have the best first time experience as possible.

No Matter What You Do, They’re Not Happy

In every business there are always clients that no matter what you try to do for them, it’s not good enough and in the tattoo world It’s no different. I remember a time when no matter what Mikey tried to do for this customer, she was not happy. She wanted a rose on her arm she and had no picture and could not find anything on the walls that even lit a bulb in her head.

Mikey is a very down to earth kind of guy and he wants you to be happy. He talked with the woman for an hour and must have drawn five different sketches until she finally agreed on it, but it didn’t end there.

She wanted to know the price. Now mind you he’s very fair on his prices, but she still wanted to negotiate. So Mikey being who he is, knocked off a $100. It’s up to the artist if they want to deal with this kind of client. I agree 100% it’s up to you as the artist who you accept.

The comfort of the Session

There always needs to be a comfort level for your client when they’re getting the tattoo done. One of the first things a customer wants to know when they sit in that chair is that it’s going to be safe.

The tattoo sterilization will really ease the mind right away by pulling the needles out of the package in front of your client. Also, showing that equipment which is exposed to fluids will be wrapped in plastic and maybe even showing how other equipment is sterilized.

The interaction can be a tough call. I know lots of artists that love to talk with you and others that don’t say too much because they get in their zone and focus on the art at hand. There are the clients for some reason want to share their life and all its problems to the artist. I don’t know, maybe they feel like they get a two-for-one deal: a tattoo artist and a psychiatrist.

You Hold the Key

Are you rocking your clients? Lets face it, the tattoo business needs clients to make money and how you go about treating your clients can make or break you. They are what pays your bills and as the saying goes: one bad word of mouth and you could lose a hundred potential clients. Now mind you, one does not have to put up with a nasty customer. I definitely agree it’s not worth it.

The client could be spending a few hours with you during any given session, so it’s up to you as the artist to rock the client and make them want more. It’s a lot easier to sell to a regular client then it is to a new one. Take time out for your client and make them feel like a rockstar.

I hope you enjoyed our chat, and as always never hesitate to leave a comment.

Rock your Journey,


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22 Replies to “Tattoos And The Artist ; Rocking The Client”

  1. David, you’re so right with all of this! This is key information for any business, not just the tattoo business. I’m with you about cell phones and how salespeople and artists are far too married to their cellphones. They need to “stop drop and roll” when a client approaches as they’re who pays the bills.

    I’ve been hesitant to get a tattoo, as I’ve seen so many bad ones done. At the same time, I’ve seen some completely breathtaking ones as well. It would be great is there was a way on how to identify a good artist from a bad one.

    1. Hello Dave. Thank you for taking the time to reading my article. Yes customer care is important in every business. The best way to find a great artist is check reviews and visit their studio and talk with them you’ll know if they are right for you. Thank you for visiting and hope you will return for future articles.
      Best Wishes,

  2. Hi, I love the content in this post! Being a tattoo customer Many times over I have also seen a Lot of what you’re talking about here. From sitting four hours at a time without one single word from the artist to the desk guy who takes Forever to even look up from his phone. Tattooing is still a business and clients are still clients, you be good to them and they’ll nine times out of ten come back to you for their next tattoo. My favourite place to get ink was at a friends studio, as it was So laid back there (all the artists) in general, it was that much just like general hanging out that I almost forgot I was being stabbed repeatedly with a needle lol! The setting definitely contributes to a clients experience and comfort so i agree whole heartedly with what you’ve said here.

    1. Hello Louise. Thank you for taking the time to read my article. Agree it is a business and the client is what pays your bills. There are many shops today like your friends and they really make their clients feel welcome and appreciated. A great setting keeps the clients coming back. Thank you for visiting my website and hope you will return for future articles.
      Best Wishes,

  3. What a great and well written article. You have made me be inclined to get a tattoo from your tattoo artists because customer service like this is very rare and I do agree that at this age people are not good at customer service at all. I think going online for most businesses will help them in this regard since they will avoid many complications.

    1. Hello Thabo. Thank you for taking the time to read my article. Yes Mikey is a great artist and a great guy. There are many wonderful artists out there who really take care of their clients and really treat them like rockstars. I think as a whole in all businesses they need to get back to the customer service aspect. Thank you for visiting my website and hope you will return for future articles.
      Best Wishes,

  4. Hi David, OMG I could not have said it better myself, people no longer value servicing clients, its simply all about their financial gain. Its really hard to find people with your values so I really admire you and I am so grateful that I found this post. Customer service should always be a priority in every industry, if the customer enjoys his experience with you he/she will always return. Thanks again, i will be on the lookout for future posts so please do keep them coming.

    1. Hello Evelynn. Thank you for taking the time to read my article. A client in any business should always be top priority. Your absolutely right If a client has a great experience they will always come back wanting more. Thank you for visiting my website and look forward to you returning for future articles.
      Best Wishes,

  5. This is a great article about customer service and how to retain future clients! It’s so important to develop a relationship with your client based on their needs and your expertise (placing the tattoo in a less painful spot for a new comer, etc). Awesome suggestions!

    In my business, I have found that if I can establish clear, up front expectations for them, how they will be treated, what they can expect and delivery consistently on it, I usually have a client for life.

    Some people you just can’t make happy (I had one who wanted what I could not provide and I just should have referred her to a different business, but you learn). Love the information here, keep share awesome stuff!

    1. Hello Christina. Thank you for taking the time to read my article. Yes in business if your up front and clear and also listen to the clients needs you will definitely have a client for life. Agree you can’t make everyone happy and you should always try to recommend them to someone who may be able to fulfill their expectations. Thank you again for visiting my website and hope you will return for future articles.
      Best Wishes,

  6. Hi David,
    A great post and so true.
    I see a lot more rudeness around these days, in shops and places where the people serving you are doing while talking or looking at their phone and not really paying any attention to you.
    I like you have a great tattoo artist.
    I’ve known him since school, but he’s only had his own tattoo shop and been doing it for around 8 years.
    I often pop into the shop to chat with him and the other artists who work there.
    They always talk and give you their full attention and whenever someone is getting their first tattoo they do their best to make them feel relaxed.
    I only got my first tattoo a year and a half ago. I knew what I wanted, but he suggested getting it on a different place to where I said as it was to be my first one and the place I wanted it could’ve been a bit tender.
    I now have a complete arm sleeve done by him and I love it so much.
    Now to decide where to get my next one.

    1. Hello Michael. Thank you for taking the time to read my article. My artist is is a great guy and I’m happy you have one as well. Full arm sleeve that’s really awesome. Thank you for visiting my website and hope you will return for future articles.
      Best Wishes,

  7. This is a great article, David. You make some very valuable points here. Taking care of the client is extremely important – especially in a field like this. There is so much to consider like if the client is anxious, etc. that the artist has to keep in mind.

    I think people sometimes forget the power of “word of mouth”. Customer referrals can certainly affect a business bottom line and that comes from how the customer feels when leaving that place of business. That is definitely something that should be kept in mind at all times.

    Thank you for sharing this great information.


    1. Hello Yvette. Thank you for taking the time to read my article. People really have forgotten what word of mouth can do for a business.
      In the ink business you really need to take care of your clients and there are many great artists who do make their customers a priority.
      You want your customer leaving your business feeling like a rockstar. Thank you for visiting my website and hope you will continue to return for future articles.
      Best Wishes,

  8. Hey David!

    I really agree with you about the customer experience. I’ve has some wonderful artists over the years and I’ve seen some really terrible ones. The terrible ones are just like you described, they are annoyed that you are even asking them questions or bothering them with your idea at all.

    What’s even worse is when you start to get inked by a bad one. You can’t really get away from them by that point. I had this bad one just digging in so hard that I was crying and you know I can handle pain. The worst part about that was the healing time. I had such bad scabs and it took much longer than most for it to heal. So by the time it did heal, some of the ink had come off and it looked terrible with discoloration. That was my second tattoo so I still didn’t really know what I was doing.

    After that experience I got much pickier about my artist. If I get even a hint of the “I’m too cool to be even talking to you” vibe off them I walk away.

    Thanks for sharing this post. I hope the bad ones see this. 🙂

    1. Hello Tina. Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I’m really sorry you had the really bad experience you did.
      I’ve shared with people when you walk into a studio and your treated like your not important you need to go else where. I hope you’ve found an artist that you can work with. Thank you for visiting my website and do hope you will continue to return for future articles.
      Best wishes,

  9. Hi David,
    I really enjoyed this article. Until this article, I thought I was alone in feeling the way you described, when going in and talking to a tattoo artist, and feeling as if I was bothering them by going over the details. It is important to be able to talk with your artist about a piece that is going to be on your body for the rest of your life. It is absolutely necessary to have good customer service.

    Thanks for the read, especially liked how you said to make the client feel like a rockstar.

    Donieal Louise

    1. Hello Donieal. Thank you for taking the time to read my article. No many have shared that same type of experience you have. A good customer relationship is important, the client wants to trust the artist knowing their having something permanent put on their body. There are a lot of fantastic artists that take very good care of their clients.
      Thank you for visiting my website and do hope you will return for future articles.
      Best Wishes,

  10. Interesting article, David I enjoyed your article. It actually made me smile…loved the imagery. Yes, when anyone is in the customer service industry, we have to be people-friendly and sensitive to people and their needs.
    Good job.
    Thanks for sharing.

    1. Hello Michelle Thank you for taking the time to read my article. I’m very happy it put a smile on your face. I agree anyone who has to work with the public needs to learn to be people-Friendly, I know sometimes it can be hard a lot of employees can be on the receiving end of a nasty customer. Thank you so much for visiting my website and hope you will return for future articles.
      Best Wishes,

  11. Customer service should be of utmost importance in the tattoo industry. It is so important to communicate a great design with the client. Also, you are dealing with needles and someone’s skin. Yikes! I wouldn’t want someone who is rude to be putting their artwork on me.

    1. Hello Melinda. Thank you for taking the time to read my article. Yes in any industry customer service should always come first. Lets face it without customers you have no business. Thank you for visiting my website and hope you will return for future articles.
      Best Wishes,

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