How to Start a Tattoo Shop at Home

Now more than ever, having a Tattoo is increasingly accepted by mainstream American culture and fashion. With this trend, more and more people are looking at how to start a tattoo shop at home.

How to start a Tattoo shop at home

Take a look at Tattoo trends vs. Perfume, Cosmetics, and Fashion over the past 5 years. (Trends provided by Google Trends)

Other than a few spikes in cosmetics, Tattoos outperform 3 of what would be thought of as being the highest trends in the beautification of people.

There is no wonder that the demand for talented Tattoo Artists is greater than ever in America and around the world.

If you have the talent, why not start your Tattoo shop from home where you can make $100 hour or more.

Offering the service from home can provide you with some advantages but will also include some disadvantages or roadblocks.

Let us start with what you will need to do before you start your Tattoo Shop at Home

Tattoo Artist Talent and training. If you do not already have the training to perform Tattoos then it is recommended that you complete an apprenticeship so that you receive the proper training. You can still start a Tattoo shop without the training and talent by hiring a Tattoo artist. It would be difficult to start a home-based business by hiring an artist and may be better suited for a Tattoo shop in the retail or commercial building.

Contact your local health unit or county health department to understand the health regulations and required certifications to start a Tattoo Shop. The rules vary from one area to another so do not assume you know what is required. Once you have your shop setup you will require an inspection and approval before you can start tattooing.

Check with your municipality about zoning restrictions and requirements about starting a tattoo shop in your area. Attempting to start a shop in your home will have several challenges to overcome. In many areas, there may not be any option for allowing a tattoo shop in your home. Then you will have no choice but to try and find a place to open a shop that meets the zoning requirements.

The truth is…the idea of having a tattoo parlor at home may not be an option in many North American areas.

Regulations in America generally state that it is illegal for a licensed tattoo artist to do their work in an unlicensed location and it is also illegal for an unlicensed tattoo artist to work in a licensed tattoo business.

That said you may be fortunate enough to live in a home that is located in an area with the proper zoning for a tattoo business or have an apartment or home that has a storefront type business zoning below your apartment…which would be just like having a tattoo shop at home.

Do you or can you live somewhere like this?

Tattoo Shop Below your apartment

-Create a Business Plan. Creating a plan will provide you with goals to meet at dedicated times. There is nothing worse than jumping in a business with 2 feet first not knowing where you want to end up. A business plan on how you will start and manage you Tattoo Shop will allow you to check in on your progress as your business grows. A business plan is also an important tool if you need to secure some financial assistance to start up or manage your business.

Here is a free sample template provided by BDC –  Example Business Plan

Training and Paperwork all complete?

If “yes” then continue, otherwise read and follow the steps above.

How to get customers to come to your…uhmm basement to get a Tattoo.

To most Tattoo customers, the idea to go to someone’s private home, in most cases in a basement Tattoo shop is not exactly an easy sell.

Going to a private home for a haircut is not so bad. Getting a bad haircut is something that we can live with for a few weeks.

The idea of getting a botched Tattoo is another story.

It will be even more important to show that you are an artist with talent and follow safe techniques. It is one thing getting a botched Tattoo job, but to get an infection or disease would be the worse.

Marketing your Tattoo Shop

Inspection Certificate – If you followed the earlier directions you would have received a “Pass” or permit from your health department to run your Tattoo shop. You would be instructed to post that permit to be visible, but it is recommended that it be emphasized for your customers to see it as a sign to comfort their concerns. It will show them that you take the necessary steps to ensure optimum infection precautions.

-Business Permits- Along with the health inspection certificates, it is wise to place your business permits in a place that you can emphasize to your customers that you are running a legitimate Tattoo shop. They will have an increased comfort knowing that you are not trying to hide anything and that you are registered the same as any Tattoo shops found in any strip mall.

-Customer Service- If possible, create have a reception area for your customers. Create a scheduling system where you do not have people waiting too long for their turn. An advantage of having your own Tattoo shop is the flexibility you have with scheduling -take advantage to have breaks between customers.

-Online Presence- Create a website that not only showcases your Tattoo work but also have it setup for customers to interact, comment and provide feedback on your Tattoo shop and works. You can set up a scheduling system on your website where people can choose dates and times that you are available for a consult. This will free you from having to take a number of calls for booking and schedule while you are doing Tattoos.

You can create a website on hosting sites like Wix. …Not my choice or recommendation.

When you can host websites and learn everything there is to know about online business by visiting and trying out Wealthy Affiliate. I chose Wealthy Affiliate as my hosting site for this website you are on now and for 3 other websites that I manage.

Click here to learn more about Wealthy Affiliate==> Start Your Online Business Website Today

Time to open your Tattoo Shop.

List of what you will need to open your shop.

Tattoo artist equipment. If you have the training and practice then you likely already have your Tattoo Machine Gun and related tools. If you need more you can get terrific prices at Amazon as shown below.

Tattoo Machine:

Shader Tattoo Machine: Shaders are used to paint ink and pigments onto the skin. Shaders are set up with more needles and in a straight line. Shader guns run slower but require more power having to move more needles. A higher coil count is suggested for shader machines which will increase the weight of the Tattoo gun.

Liner Tattoo MachineLiners are used to outline of the image on the skin. Liner guns generally run fast and require less power as they use lesser needles, 1 to 7 placed in a circular configuration. A lower coil count makes these guns lighter than a shader gun.

Tattoo Machine Needles:

Tattoo machine needles come in various configurations for Liner or Shader Tattoo guns. They come in sterile individually packaged disposable or as stainless steel reusable. Always check with your local health unit or department about the type of needles or tips to be used. In most cases, sterile disposable needles are recommended for Tattoo shop owners.

Tattoo Machine Grips:

Tattoo machine grips help the Tattoo artist avoid getting hand cramps. Generally, larger grips are used by those with larger hands and smaller grips for people with small hands.

Tattoo Ink:

All the other tools would be useless if you didn’t get ink. Many brands and colors exist and of course, you have the endless variations when you mix and shade your colors. It is also recommended to get ink cup caps and a cup cap holder to place your ink in so you can dip your Tattoo needles.

Tattoo Stencil Transfer:

Unless you are a truly gifted Tattoo artist most will transfer a stenciled image of what they will Tattoo onto the skin first. They will draw or print an image onto a transfer paper then that specialty paper can transfer the image onto the skin.

Bacitracin Zinc Wipes:

To avoid infections after a Tattoo job it is recommended to use a Bacitracin Zinc wipes to disinfect the skin post-tattoo. I’ll repeat the importance to get the appropriate training and information from your local health department in regards to pre and post-tattoo care.

Green Cleaning Soap:

Green Cleaning soap can be used for pre-tattoo skin preparation, stencil application, cleaning post-tattoo. It can also be used for cleaning surgical or tattoo instruments before sterilization.

Ultrasonic Cleaner:

To disinfect equipment between clients you will need to disinfect your equipment. Again, your healthy unit or department will provide you with the recommended information for ensuring proper sterile techniques are followed in your shop.

Seating, tables, and lighting:

Both the customer and artist must be comfortable while the Tattoo is being applied. The customer may be seated for hours and the artist may need to place themselves in awkward positions to get the job done. It is important to have comfortable chairs and support with excellent lighting. If budget allows, a recliner chair resembling a dentist chair would allow the customer to be placed in a comfortable position no matter where the Tattoo is being applied. It will also allow the customer to be elevated to a comfortable height for the artist. Room lighting should be set up to ensure the least amount of shadowing occurs and adjustable pinpoint lighting can also be used to highlight the work area.

Surface protection and cleaning solutions:

You will want to protect the surface your client is placed on, whether it is an armrest or reclining chair. It is recommended to have a disposable and non-permeable surface protection. You will likely be instructed by your health unit/department to clean all surfaces where your client may have contact. Check with your local health department for specific instructions.

Some of the best prices for the above listed and related equipment can be found at Amazon

I can’t emphasize enough the importance of contacting and following the instructions from your local health unit or department along with getting the required business and zoning permits for your Tattoo shop.

I hope the above list encourages you to follow your dreams and your artistic creativity. I have heard of some local Tattoo artists that charge in the order of $100 / hour. I would love to become a Tattoo artist but unfortunately, I do not have the artistic abilities to be a Tattoo artist.

So I will stick with my current online business as blogger and affiliate marketer. You can read more on  how to become a blogger /affiliate marketer here==> How to become a blogger from scratch

Have any comments or questions? Place them below I would love to hear from you.

Cheers

Paul

pbworkfromhome author alternate

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36 comments on “How to Start a Tattoo Shop at Home
  1. Dowlehead says:

    My mate tattooed me about 11 years ago. He bought himself a tattoo gun and made a few designs for me. I put a design and he transfered it onto my back… and tattooed away.. I was literally his first guinea pig!! The tattoo still looks great today but could do with a bit of a touch up…. but he now runs his own little tattoo business from his home and makes a really decent amount of money ontop of his job. He loves it.

    • Paul says:

      That is so cool! You were brave…or maybe just young and crazy, but am pleased your tattoo all worked out. Your friend is fortunate to have such talent and being able to run his tattoo business from home. It is double benefit as he also enjoys doing that as a side business beside his regular job. There is decent coin to be made doing tattoo artwork.

      It is wonderful to hear another work from home success story.

      As a member of Wealthy Affiliate (WA) I see so many of this type of success stories. Whether it be people that have at home tattoo shops and use the knowledge from WA to leverage their business or people just using WA to create an online business from scratch.

      I always suggest people to at least check it out. It costs nothing to sign up and try all their features for 7 days, then after 7 days you can continue on as a free member forever without having pay a dime or provide any credit card information.

      Why not read my review and decide for yourself. Click Her for Wealthy Affiliate Review

      Cheers

      Paul

  2. Jodie says:

    This article was a great read. I am very interested in the idea of tattooing and one day getting some training in it being an artist already. This was a very informative read and gave me some great ideas. Thank you! You have covered every question I needed answers to. Here’s hoping one day tattooing will be another business I can run from home.

    • Paul says:

      It’s great to hear that the information provided about starting a Tattoo Shop at home answered all your questions.

      If you do decide that opening a Tattoo Shop you are wanting to do in he future please let me know. I would love to help you in any way that I can and I would love to write about your experience in running a Tattoo Shop from your home.

      Cheers

      Paul

  3. Eric says:

    Hello Paul, this is a very informative article. I have five tattoos myself, but because it is a challenge for me to draw a straight line, let alone becoming a tattoo artist, so I doubt I’ll ever be a tattoo artist!

    However, I love your article, you covered everything possible to get a tattoo studio going, and I like how you tied in an intro to Wealthy Affiliate!

    I too am a member, the training and support are the best around! Good affiliate links for tattoo supplies also.

    I hope your article inspires people to become tattoo artists, the info you give is thorough, and will help to get aspiring artists up and running!

    • Paul says:

      Thank you,

      It is a pleasure to see a fellow Wealthy Affiliate member as you know how much the support and training you get at Wealthy Affiliate can help anybody interested in starting any business.

      Keep in touch. I’m sure we will be crossing paths at some point within the Wealthy Affiliate platform.

      Cheers

      Paul

  4. JelenaBB says:

    Currently, the tattoo business on the rise.

    Here, where I am, almost every other person has a tattoo on his or her body.

    I’m not a big fan of tattoos myself, and I would reflect on it much further before putting a tattoo on my body.

    I think it is very important, other than having a fantastic talent for drawing that the tattoo artist has really good tools.

    Excellent post for someone who is considering to move in the direction of opening a tattoo shop at home.

    • Paul says:

      It has certainly become quite popular in many areas of the world right now. If someone has the talent it is possible to have a successful business in that field right now. My nephew recently started to get a full arm tattoo and the artist is charging over $100/hour. The first phase took him about 6 hours and he has about another 12 hours before it is complete. The the tattoo artist is so busy the earliest my nephew could schedule his next phase on this tattoo was a 5-6 month wait time.

      That is nearly the rate of a good dentist but being able to run it from your home saves you all those overhead costs increasing your profit that much more.

      Cheers

      Paul

  5. Bob says:

    I have a friend who has artistic skills since he was a kid. He always wanted to open up a tattoo shop. Problem is that he is a bit eccentric (like most of the artists) and no one wanted to be his first try. So, what he did was brilliant – he went ahead and bought a pig in the butchery and practiced on it till perfection. later on he did some tattoos on himself and that was enough to earn trust for a few first customers customers. his bussiness is well developed now and he works what he likes the most 🙂

    • Paul says:

      It does take some inventive ways sometimes to earn people’s trust. If he continues to do exceptional work, the word will get around how good and honest he is.

      I would say the same with online businesses. Although this blog is about starting a small business from your home, this site does have many blogs about starting an online business that you can manage from home.

      One of the key aspects of starting a successful online business is to maintain that personal touch. People look to having a connection with the person writing the blogs.

      The most successful sites are those that write from personal experience or know people close to them that have the experience.

      Brenda and I have various work from home experiences but certainly have not, nor could not do them all. That is where we count on the stories from our friends and close acquaintances to provide feedback on our content.

      We also greatly value the comments form personal or friend experiences like yours.

      The personal touch is something that is taught through Wealthy Affiliate. They are strong advocates to teaching people to provide quality content, be honest and true, show that you are a real person helping real people.

      I hope you can take the time to view what Wealthy Affiliate has to offer by trying their free membership offer, build 2 free websites. Then you can use that knowledge for any type of business you want to start.

      Sure you can build just as nice websites through Wix and GoDaddy but where can you get an online personal community to help you through any business process…only at Wealthy Affiliate.

      Cheers

      Paul

  6. BobbyCorno says:

    Hi, Paul! Great article and commentary about becoming a tattoo artist! I have always wondered what the tattoo equipment looked like, having never had a tattoo myself, so it was great that you included pictures of the equipment you describe, and even places to buy it! I appreciate the chart about tattoo popularity, I had no idea! Best wishes for your success! Do you know of a website where I can see really good tattoo art?

    • Paul says:

      I too haven’t any tattoos myself but I appreciate a well done 3D tattoo as seen on the following site.

      It is amazing to see how much tattoo art has evolved and how popular tattoos have become. Back in my younger days the only type of tattoos out there were the iconic boat anchor or the infamous bunny rabbit.

      Cheers

      Paul

  7. Joanne Hakaraia says:

    Great read, thanks!
    It’s very refreshing that you have gone into great detail about tattooing at home, eliminating health and safety concerns. I’ve heard and personally seen some horror stories about home-done tattoos so your article is perfect for people wanting to set up in a safe way.
    Also very interesting statistics about the rise in tattoos vs perfume, fashion and cosmetics!

    • Paul says:

      There is nothing worse than not taking the proper precautions to ensure the safe delivery of services. It only takes one incident in the region to ruin it for everybody else. Starting a tattoo business from hoe should not be taken lightly. Always check with your local health and regulatory bodies to ensure you are following all the local laws and precautions before starting your business.

      Cheers

      Paul

  8. Martin says:

    Starting a tattoo shop can be very challenging and if you know how to tattoo someone well, then this site can show you the key elements. I like how you prove step by step ways on starting a tattoo business and if someone is wanting to get in this field, then shouldn’t have a problem doing so. Its all about following the guideline and not skipping a step as you provided on your site and I’m sure anyone can follow this method if they want to start a tattoo business. Great job.

    • Paul says:

      Starting a tattoo shop out of your home when you have the artistic talent can be quite rewarding. Having minimal overhead costs can increase the overall profits.

      Cheers

      Paul

  9. Mike Mahaffey says:

    Hi Paul
    This is some article about how to start a tattoo shop at home.
    I don’t have a tattoo myself because I’ve never been able to commit to something quite so permanent as a tattoo.
    I do know that Tat shops are springing up everywhere, and your post certainly enlightened me as to why this is happening.
    The graph you presented really opens my eyes to the vast number of people’s interest in tattoos. 

    I think I’ll stick to internet marketing and skip starting a tattoo shop at home, but thanks for the info.

    • Paul says:

      Hahaha…yes although tattoos are very popular right now doesn’t mean it is everyone’s cup of tea. I certainly hope that you take advantage of the information, teaching, and resources available at Wealthy Affiliate to help you with your internet marketing adventures. Once there don’t hesitate to contact me if you have any questions on how online or affiliate marketing works.

      Cheers

      Paul

  10. Carol says:

    I am not a tattoo fan, but I can see that they are really popular. Based on the stats it seems like a great opportunity to start a business whether from home or other location. Lots of info here for those who want to give it a try. While stencils can be used to transfer tattoos on the body, what about removing  them? Does this require training to do so safely?

    • Paul says:

      Tattoos have shown significant popularity over the years. There are cleaning products as listed in my blog available to remove the stencil ink from the surface of the skin. If you were referring to having the actual tattoo removed there are significant procedures available but may not be 100% successful, can be painful and leave permanent scars. Fortunately, if it is a matter of removing a tattoo because you would like to replace it, most talented artists will are able to cover the current tattoo with a new one really well.  It is recommended to follow an apprenticeship program if you are interested in becoming a tattoo artist although the technique goes back to ancient times using very rudimentary tools and questionable types of inks back then. The tools and ink used today to make it much easier to create tattoos.

      Cheers

      Paul

  11. Nico says:

    This article is amazing. I was attracted by this topic when I searched. I didn’t believe someone can start a tattoo shop at home.

    Now, I understand. Start it at home first, then work it out step by step. The steps are explained clearly and I can follow it and buy some equipment through Amazon too.

    I can start a tattoo shop easier now!

    • Paul says:

      Amazon is one of the most convenient way to buy tattoo equipment to start your business. I always believe there are 2 ways at starting a business. Start small and slow while you learn as you go or make a huge investment, go big but only when you already know the business well enough and have awesome people to help you manage it.

      Cheers

      Paul

  12. Doug says:

    Paul,
    What a great way to start a business at home as a tattoo artist. Never would have thought about this idea, but anything is possible.
    I can see the marketing situation, to get people to come to your home to have it done. You would have to have a gallery I think for people to look through.
    I think wealthy affiliate is a great place to start your online business site. First if you need help, training and some feedback, I have never found a site that offers so much.
    Great information, thanks for the insight,
    Doug

    • Paul says:

      Hey Doug,

      If you have the talent to create tattoos then why not do it from home…you can save a bundle on overhead.

      As mentioned in my blog there are limitations and regulations whether you could do it from your home. You will also need to consider whether the location of your home is easily accessible by your customers. If you live 30 minutes out of town you may not have such a large customer base. That may be okay as your living expenses would be lower and your overhead would also be quite low.

      Happy to hear you are familiar with Wealthy Affiliate and the amazing amount of resources that is available from their site.

      The information and training they can provide will be a great asset when starting any business whether online or brick and mortar type business.

      Best of luck

      Paul

  13. tom says:

    Hello, I love your website.

     I found it to be very informative. I was looking at options on what type of business I could start from home and starting a tattoo shop peeked my interest. 

    I have been trying to make money online for awhile with no success but reading your articles has given me more hope. 

    I am currently trying to learn email marketing. What is your opinion  on email marketing? Is it worth learning?

    • Paul says:

      Email marketing is one way of making an income online. It is not the way I prefer to work online but it is an option or an added method to earn an income.

      Ideally, I prefer to create an authoritative website to provide good content and guidance to my audience. If they like what they see they can sign up for a subscription and provide me with their email. 

      The important part is to only use their email to provide content they were interested in getting when they signed up.

      You can learn more by signing up for free at Wealthy Affiliate and follow their affiliate program.

  14. Anfernee Clark says:

    Your blog post intrigue me 🙂 haha! I was interested with tattoo a couple of months ago. I think that having one is cool especially if a tattoo has a deeper meaning. I do have a neighbor whose business is tattoo and he had his shop right at their home. most of our neighbors particularly young adult male go to their house to have a tattoo. This blog post of yours gave me an insight of how to establish a tattoo shop at home (even though now I am not a fan of tattoo anymore) I would suggest this to some of my friends who are interested by having a tattoo shop. Great blog post! 🙂

    • Paul says:

      Opening a tattoo shop is certainly not for everyone. 

      There are 1000s of other opportunities out there. It is a matter of finding something you can be passionate about. I encourage anyone interested in starting a business to try out Wealthy Affiliate to see if blogging and affiliate marketing is something you can get into doing from home.

      Cheers

      Paul

  15. Dom says:

    I’ve actually had some ideas along these lines but more in the piercing area. If I had the talent, like you mentioned, I would be pursuing this type of business. The amount of regulations and training is pretty extensive, which is why I find it funny that there’s still somewhat of a stigma surrounding tattoos and piercings. As far as cleanliness and all that goes.

    • Paul says:

      Unfortunately there are always a few bad apples that don’t get the appropriate training and certifications. It’s when those that don’t follow the rules and something severely negative happens all the good tattoo artists get put into the same basket as the bad ones. Granted even those shops that have the licencing and training can still be some bad apples too. Following health regulations, posting your licencing, maintaining a clean environment and marketing are all key to ensuring a successful tattoo shop.

      Cheers

      Paul

  16. Aldane says:

    For someone who says they don’t have the talent to do tattoos themselves you still know so much about it. You really went into detail and covered every topic I could think of touching on, the only thing I would like to know is a ballpark figure of how much money it would cost to get started.

    • Paul says:

      Of course the cost will vary depending on licensing costs in your region. That is, If you can get the licensing for it as many regions do not provide licencing for tattoo shops at home. Unless you are fortunate to be living in a region that already has the proper zoning. The cost for supplies can be found on one of my other blogs here, that lists all the supplies you would need to start a tattoo shop.

      Cheers

      Paul

  17. Dan says:

    Hey Paul. 

    Man the list of things you need to have to be prepared seems daunting. 

    I never thought of all the things that were required in order to have a tattoo business up and running. 

    I though that all it required was a safety and heath inspection. 

    Thanks for explaining all the things necessary for running a tattoo business from home.

    • Paul says:

      It may sound daunting but once you start taking the necessary steps it will make sense.

      Unfortunately, a tattoo shop at home may not be an option for most tattoo artists. 

      There are many regulations in place, many for good reasons, to keep people safe.

      I’m sure we all know somebody, or know someone that knows somebody that has done tattoos in their home without all the required training and licensing.

      There may be even other steps required in certain regions. So it is important to meet with your local health departments as well as your municipality or county that all necessary steps are taken to ensure safe tattooing.

      As I mentioned in my blog, I am not talented enough to be a tattoo artist so I haven’t gone in that direction at all. 

      Instead I preferred to try out the online marketing business. 

      This option also has much fewer steps to get started. It actually can take as little as 30 seconds to have your new website up and running. 

      You can read more about what I do by ==> Clicking Here

      Cheers

      Paul

  18. Corey says:

    I don’t tattoo and I’m certainly no artist but WOW was this site informative. I have a few friends who are into tattooing and I believe they would benefit greatly from the content on this site. They want to start up their own business but have no idea where to start. I do believe this will be the best place and I will be referring them to check out your content 🙂

    • Paul says:

      Tattoos have really become main stream style over the past few years and no sign of it slowing down. Although it is quite difficult to open a tattoo business at home there are some close alternatives and exceptions depending on where you live.

      I appreciate you sharing this information with your friends and tell them to leave a message or ask a question anytime.

      Cheers

      Paul

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