How to Start a Tattoo Business

Now more than ever, tattoos are hot and trendy in the fashion industry.How to start a Tattoo Business

With the increased acceptance in mainstream America, it’s no wonder that the tattoo industry is growing at an incredible rate and people all over are wanting to start a tattoo business.

There are, unfortunately, still those that believe they can create a tattoo on anybody at any time, without any training or certification.

Many may still not know that there are laws in place that restrict who can create or receive a tattoo in America.

I hope to provide you with a quick guide to information to avoid getting yourself or your family and friends into trouble.

Tattoo Law

I am no lawyer, but if you stick with the basic understanding listed below you will avoid a lot of headaches down the road.

  • It is illegal for an unlicensed person to provide tattoos in a licensed tattoo parlor.
  • It is illegal for an unlicensed tattoo artist to create a tattoo on another person.
  • A licensed tattoo artist is not allowed to provide the service within an unlicensed location.
  • Most states or regions do not allow minors from getting tattoos
  • Please be aware that providing a tattoo to someone even without payment or compensation is still breaking the law in many states and regions.

Those are just some of the basic rules to know before you adventure in starting your own tattoo business.

Along with all the other rules related to starting a business, you will also see rules related to public health and safety.

Now don’t let all these laws and rules put you off from starting your own tattoo business.

Like any business, you need to know what you can or cannot do.

Tattoo License

As indicated above, having proper licensing is a huge factor in getting your business off the ground.

Depending on where you live, you may need both a tattoo artist license and a separate tattoo parlor license.

Which means the licensed tattoo artist may only work in that specifically licensed tattoo establishment.

Get your Tattoo License

Check with your local county or municipality for licensing requirements for your area.

It would also be wise to contact your local public health unit to understand the requirements for public health and safety rules.

In many states and regions, tattoo artists are required to get various certifications or complete apprenticeships in order to be licensed.

Certifications may include completing a bloodborne pathogen and communicable disease course.

Tattoo Talent

Now all these laws and licensing will do you no good if you don’t have the talent.

Sure you may be able to make nice drawings on paper or canvas but that doesn’t necessarily convert over to the skin with an inking machine.

The Alliance of Professional Tattooists suggests a 3-year apprenticeship to fully understand and become a competent tattoo artist.

Some areas require over 2000 hours of apprenticeship, where others only a couple hundred hours are required to be eligible for a tattoo or business license.

You may not have any artistic talent but that doesn’t have to stop you from opening your own tattoo parlor. You can hire licensed tattoo artists to work in your parlor.

Tattoo Equipment

The total cost to start your tattoo business will depend on a wide number of variables.

It will depend if it is only you provide the service or do you have a dozen of artists working out of your parlor.

Either way, you will need to have the basic equipment at each station to have a functional business.

You can check out my list of recommended items on my other blog “Top 13 Tattoo Tools”.

Tattoo Business Location

You may think that finding the perfect spot for starting a tattoo business is easy.

It may be easy to find the best spot but your county or municipality may not allow you to open a tattoo business in that spot due to zoning regulations.

Again, you will need to visit your local county or municipal office to find out which areas have the proper zoning to open a tattoo business.

If you find the perfect spot but the zoning isn’t specifically zoned for a tattoo business then you may need to make a few visits to the county office and/or present your arguments to the people of the community.

Tattoo Business Marketing

In the past marketing was as easy as putting up a sign, send out some flyers, get your name in the yellow pages and maybe have some radio or local tv commercials.

All fairly easy but can get quite costly with no guaranteed results.

Today you can use the internet for websites and social media to get your tattoo business name shared.

You can go ahead and set up a free website on sites like Wix or GoDaddy but those services are not my preferred place to create and manage websites.

Even the general population accessible services from Wix and Godaddy can become quite expensive as your business grows and your online presence grows.

My #1 web hosting or you can also call it my #1 web-builder site is Wealthy Affiliate.

Not only can you create 2 free websites, without banners at Wealthy Affiliate, you also get loads of support and marketing training, the ability to host up to 25 websites for a one monthly or yearly fee.

Wealthy Affiliate has shown me how to build this website and online business.

Steps to a successful Tattoo Business

  1. Have artistic talent or know an amazing tattoo artist
  2. Get proper licensing for you, the artists and the tattoo business
  3. Find the right location that allows you to set up a tattoo parlor in your area
  4. Setup your tattoo parlor with the greatest and affordable tattoo equipment
  5. Market your business, with social media, websites, branding, and signage.

You can have a successful tattoo parlor in no time!

Have a comment or question? Please leave them below we love to hear from you.



Paul from pbworkfromhome author

About the Author Paul

My online journey started in 2008 when I was tired of working for somebody else. I searched the internet for years trying to find out how to make a living from home with an online business. In 2015 I finally found the information and support from a website just like this one

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