Why My Shop Minimum is $500: A Thoughtful Shift Towards Larger Scale Tattoos


I’ve been doing tattoos for a long time. I’ve seen trends, tools, and client expectations evolve. A few years ago, I made a significant decision to increase my shop minimum to $500.

While this might seem like a substantial jump from the $50-$100 minimums of the past, I want to share the reasoning behind this change and how it aligns with my commitment to providing high-quality, large-scale tattoos.

The Evolution of My Shop Minimum

When I first started, my shop minimum over the years ranged between $50 to $100. It was accessible and allowed for a broad range of clients to get tattooed. I also offered walk in services 5 days a week. However, as I honed my craft and recognized my passion for larger, more intricate designs, it became clear that the traditional minimum wasn’t sustainable or conducive to the type of work I wanted to focus on.

Why $500?

1. Catering to Tattoo Collectors

My primary focus has shifted towards catering to tattoo collectors—clients who come in for extensive sessions, ready to spend several hours getting tattooed. These clients are typically more seasoned, with a clearer vision of their designs and a higher level of trust in the artist’s process. This results in a smoother, more efficient experience for both parties.

2. Efficiency and Preparation

Small tattoos, while seemingly quick, often require more time in preparation than execution. Clients new to tattooing tend to be unsure about various aspects of the design, placement, and size, leading to longer consultations and preparation times. Removing and adjusting a stencil 5 times only to go with the first placement is truly a test of patience. In contrast, clients opting for larger tattoos are usually more relaxed and comfortable, allowing me to focus on creating without extensive back-and-forth.

3. Cost of Supplies and Time

The cost of tattooing has increased dramatically, especially since COVID-19. The price of essential items like gloves and needle cartridges has skyrocketed. Additionally, the shift from traditional needles to cartridges has added to the expense. Given the setup for a $100 tattoo uses nearly the same amount of equipment and preparation as a $500 or $700 tattoo, it made sense to adjust my minimum to reflect the true cost and effort involved.

4. Sustainable Business Model

Running a tattoo shop involves more than just the art. Rent, insurance, utilities, advertising and supplies all add up. Then there is your take home pay. To maintain a high standard of service and cover these operational costs, a higher minimum is necessary. This ensures that each tattoo I create is not only a work of art but also a viable contribution to my business’s sustainability.

5. Focusing on My Passion

After years of doing small, walk-in tattoos, I realized my passion lies in creating larger, more detailed pieces. These projects allow for a deeper creative process and result in tattoos that are truly unique and representative of my style. By increasing my shop minimum, I can dedicate my time and energy to these larger works, providing an all-day, immersive tattoo experience.

The Client Experience

Clients seeking larger tattoos are generally more relaxed and trusting. They understand and appreciate the process, which makes the appointment more enjoyable and efficient. This shift not only benefits my workflow but also enhances the client’s overall experience, turning it into a memorable and significant session rather than a quick in-and-out procedure.


Increasing my shop minimum to $500 was a thoughtful decision aimed at aligning my business model with my artistic goals and the evolving landscape of the tattoo industry. This change allows me to focus on what I love most—creating larger, complex tattoos for clients who appreciate and understand the art form. It’s not just about the money; it’s about fostering a space where high-quality, meaningful tattoos can flourish. There are over 50 tattoo shops in Vermont offering smaller tattoos and giving the next generation of tattooers the opportunity to work. So there are plenty of suppliers to meet the demand of small and walk in tattoos.

Thank you for understanding and supporting this evolution. If you’re interested in a unique, large-scale piece, I’m excited to work with you and bring your vision to life.