There are many reasons why tattoo prices vary so much in the UK. From the skill and experience of a tattoo artist to the average tattoo prices of an area, several factors affect the overall cost. To give you an idea, in London, the average hourly rate for a tattoo is around £150 whereas in Leeds, the cost is between £80 – £100 per hour.
Artists also work out the prices of tattoos based on size, detail and complexity of the design, and although it’s impossible to give an exact tattoo price guide, we can roughly explain how much tattoos cost in the UK and why they differ considerably throughout the country.
Hourly and daily rates
A lot of artists will charge an hourly rate as they find this to be the easiest and most fair way to charge clients. Generally, there will be a minimum cost for one hour’s work, so, regardless of how small your design is, you will still need to pay the minimum fee.
The reason artists need to charge a minimum fee is to cover the equipment they will use. For instance, the tattooist will need to use a brand-new needle as well as sterilisation tools, all of which of course cost money.
Some artists do choose to charge daily rates, however, this can sometimes become difficult as some clients can’t manage to sit through an entire day.
Tattoo price in the UK per piece
If a design is already drawn up and the tattoo artist has a good idea of how long the piece will take, they may charge an upfront price.
Charging per piece can benefit clients if they struggle with the pain of a tattoo as they won’t be incurring cost every time they take a break. However, this isn’t always ideal for the artist.
How much is a tattoo?
Simply put, the longer the piece takes to do, the more it will cost. Let’s say you want a small tattoo on your wrist, ankle, fingers or thumbs – it’s going to cost a lot less than a detailed back piece or a full sleeve. Just don’t forget about the possible minimum charge.
However, don’t let the fact that a tattoo is small lead you to believe it will be cheap. If a design involves small and intricate details and the placement of the tattoo is more difficult to tattoo, like an armpit for example, it will take a lot longer overall and the cost will therefore increase.
Even bigger pieces, like a sleeve or a back piece, will take multiple sessions so if you’re worried about costs at all, start smaller. Generally most tattooists will say the most annoying question they get asked is ‘How much does a tattoo cost?’ because every situation, tattoo and person are different.
Location and tattoo prices in the UK
Tattoo costs in the UK vary massively depending on the area or location in which the tattoo artist is based. This is because the artist or studio will adjust their rates accordingly to suit the average prices for the area.
Take the north-south divide for instance. In London, hourly rates tend to be around £150, however, in Leeds, you’d be looking to pay between £80 – £100 an hour for a good tattoo. The average daily rate in the north of England is around £500 and in the south, it can be anywhere between £600 – £800.
Artist’s skill and experience
The experience, skill and popularity of a tattoo artist will be a huge contributing factor when it comes to pricing. Obviously, an artist who is in demand or someone who may have been tattooing for years will be more likely to charge whatever they like (to a certain extent), so it’s possible they will charge more for a design. That said, there are a lot of amazing artists who have plenty of experience and stick to the average cost for their area.
Though it’s not compulsory, tipping your tattoo artist is something you should consider. If you are happy with the work and have enjoyed the experience, it’s courteous to leave something extra to say thank you.
If you’re looking for your next tattoo and are curious about how much it will cost, try not to lead with ‘How much will a tattoo cost?’ when you contact a tattoo artist. As we’ve discussed, there are a lot of factors to consider when pricing up a design, so help the artist out where you can. Send a detailed email explaining what you want with examples and explain where you want it.
We understand that the price of a tattoo is important, but we would always advise to choose a tattooist based on how good the artist is and how much you admire their work.
Ultimately, you get what you pay for, and you can’t put a price on a good-quality tattoo that you’ll live with forever.
If you have you are about to get an appointment with a tattoo artist, you should have a read in our Advice Hub article on “When is the Best Time to Get a Tattoo?”.