How to Choose the Best Tattoo Shop: Important Factors to Consider

17 March 2023 / By FirmeCopias

How to Choose the Best Tattoo Shop: Important Factors to Consider

If you're ready to commit to a tattoo it is important that you make sure you're getting the best inking experience possible. It may seem like an intimidating process to pick a tattoo shop, but if you keep the following factors in mind it doesn't have to be a struggle. We'll run through the details of how to choose the best tattoo shop so that you can get the body art you want, in the best possible way.

Location Is Key

Location is one of the most important factors to consider when choosing a tattoo shop. Being able to evaluate the cleanliness, professionalism, and clientele of a shop in person can help ensure that you get your desired results and have a positive experience. If a shop is close to home it becomes easier to research the shop’s reputation and return for touch ups or further visits if necessary. While it may be convenient to choose a closer shop, it is important that you take all factors into consideration such as quality and safety standards rather than just proximity. By taking the extra time to drive further distances, you can be sure that your artist adheres to the proper techniques, best practices and after-care of the tattoo in the industry. Furthermore, experienced shops usually do not cut corners because they understand how critical the workmanship is to their success in an increasingly competitive industry. On the flip side, good shops located in remote areas may not be easily accessible due to limited public transportation access or lack of parking options. Some shops charge higher rates for customers who are farther away from the city centre, cutting into potential savings. Additionally, some artists prefer to attract only local clients due to familiarity and loyalty developed through repeat visits and referrals, which may narrow down your choices even more if you live outside of the local area. A study conducted in 2018 found that almost 40% of those who had tattoos done chose their artist solely based on reputation.
  • According to a survey conducted in 2019, the most important factor for people when selecting a tattoo artist was portfolio quality (92%), followed by sanitation (91%) and price (90%).
  • A study published in 2017, found that people were willing to pay up to 30% more for their desired artist, than they would have paid for an artist with lesser credentials.

Research The Shop's Reputation

Researching a tattoo shop’s reputation is essential when trying to decide on the best one. After all, it is your body, and you will be carrying the artwork around for life. It is entirely reasonable to make sure that you are going to a shop with experienced staff and top-notch safety standards in place. When looking into the reputation of a potential shop, consider first if there have been any health code violations reported against the premises. There is typically available public record about these types of things if you are willing to perform some digging into the local health department website. While it is not likely that a functioning establishment would have many (if any) health code violations, it is better to be safe than sorry. Also, double check that they maintain proper sterilizations techniques like single-use needles and clean stations between customers. Another key element of investigating a shop’s reputation is finding out whether their artists are experienced in the type of tattoo that you are looking for. Reviews from previous customers can be extremely helpful in this regard; read through them as much as possible to ensure that you are making a sound choice. It is not enough for a shop to just have a license these days; ensuring that they use established sanitary practices and well-trained staff should always be priority number one when it comes to selecting a tattoo parlor.  

Reviews and Testimonials

It’s always wise to review the ratings and testimonials of a tattoo shop before making a final decision. Clothing stores and restaurants alike have reviews online that allow customers to quickly get an idea of what their experience will be like. Tattoo shops are no different – many customers are willing to share their experiences with others. Typically, reviews consist of feedback from previous customers about: 
  • Safety
  • professionalism
  • quality of work
  • customer service 
  • aftercare/follow-up services. 
The more detailed that reviews are, the easier it is to make an informed decision about which shop to choose. It’s important to note that even the most reputable tattoo shop won’t get a perfect score or glowing reviews every single time.  Popular shops may see occasional complaints or criticisms, so it’s important to read reviews carefully and consider how the shop responds if any issues arise. Responsive customer service can go a long way towards addressing concerns and offering solutions. Testimonials on social media can also provide insight into the quality of a shop’s work and customer service. Professional photographs of tattoos will showcase artist abilities as well as offer ideas for potential designs.  

Artist's Portfolio

The artist's portfolio is arguably the most important factor to consider when choosing the best tattoo shop. A portfolio of tattoos the artist has done speaks volumes about the quality of their work, as well as the range of designs they specialize in. Looking through an artist's portfolio allows a prospective client to get a visual representation of their style and technique, and decide if it is suited to their own personal aesthetic. On the one hand, this should give you a good indication of the standard of work they create and their creative abilities. It can also provide insight into how well established the tattoo artist is; this is particularly important for those seeking realistic or advanced designs.  On the other hand, while it is vital to take into account an artist’s prior works before selecting them, it cannot be relied upon solely as an indicator of how good your tattoo will be. Every design is unique, so it’s important to discuss with the artist about your exact vision for your piece.

The Artist's Experience and Expertise

When deciding on a tattoo shop, it is important to consider the artist's experience and expertise. Experienced artists will have an extensive portfolio to show depicting their own style and level of skill. This can give a good indication of what kind of design will end up being inked into the skin.  Before choosing an artist, obtain references from previous clients or ask for pictures of completed work so that a thorough assessment can be made. Additionally, inquire into the type of equipment used during the tattooing process as this can influence the safety of the procedure and the quality of the results. It is also crucial to strike a balance between experienced artists who may have reached a certain level of skill but lack creativity, and innovative up-and-coming talent who may be willing to think outside the box but still need time to hone their craft and perfect their techniques.  Consider factors such as cost and conversation between artist and client when trying to determine which artist to choose. Each customer’s needs are different so it is important that these factors are taken into consideration in order to make an informed decision. Finally, using caution when selecting an artist is essential in order to ensure that the desired results are achieved with minimal risk of adverse effects on health or hygiene standards. All in all, assessing an artist’s experience, expertise and hygiene level before committing should be done carefully and with due diligence to guarantee satisfaction with both the final product and overall experience.

Custom Designs

When it comes to custom designs, many people seek out a tattoo shop that can meet their unique vision. It is important to find an artist who is passionate about their work and able to create a design that you will love for years to come. Researching the portfolio of the artist is a key factor in finding one whose style will bring your vision to life. Look online through the tattoos they’ve done, or visit the shop in person to check out their artwork before committing. Understanding what the artist's creative capabilities are will help ensure the design you have in mind is achievable. If cost is a concern when considering custom designs, discuss this with the artist before making a final decision. While it can be more expensive than picking from flash art, some artists might be willing to work within your budget by suggesting small changes or having you choose a smaller size for the piece. Or consider going for something simpler instead of overly intricate pieces; research what other options are available and feasible within your budget. It is also important to keep in mind that while getting a custom piece may take more time and money, it also has potential benefits as well. Knowing that your design is unique and created just for you can give you a sense of pride in your tattoo that pre-made designs may not provide.

Safety, Hygiene and Sterile Equipment

When selecting a safe and reputable tattoo shop, it is equally important to consider the safety, hygiene and sterilization practices of the shop. Tattoos are usually a permanent procedure and can have serious health and safety consequences if not done properly. Today's regulations require all professional artists and shops to utilize sterile equipment which are single service use. It is best practice to confirm that any needles or other medical grade instruments used by your artist are sterile and disposable in an effort to prevent infections and transmission of infectious diseases. In addition, ensure that the shop is regularly cleaned and follows proper sanitizing techniques during each tattoo session. The workspace must be kept clean and sterile at all times, and surfaces should be wiped down between clients. Asking around for referrals or reading reviews online can tell you what other customers think of the shop's level of cleanliness as well. Finally, single-use gloves should always be worn by the artist when performing your tattoo - it is essential to reduce contact with potential contaminants, hazardous chemicals or materials used in the shop. Overall, staying vigilant when selecting a tattoo parlor can help you choose a safe shop with superior aesthetics, hygienic standards, and safest possible services for you. Next we will discuss pricing and customer satisfaction; factors that tend to influence a customer’s decision making process when considering where to get their tattoo done.

Pricing and Customer Satisfaction

When it comes to the tattooing process, pricing is an important consideration that can make or break the customer’s experience. For this reason, it’s important for customers to find a shop that offers competitive pricing for quality services. That being said, focusing only on finding the lowest price is not advisable. When selecting a price point, customers should consider the amount of work involved in their desired tattoo and any safety protocols implemented by the shop (such as autoclaving/sterilizing all equipment). On the flip side, it’s equally important for customers to consider customer satisfaction when looking for a reputable shop. Reviews are a great place to start – not only for reading about the experiences of other customers, but also for gauging the overall reputation of the business. Additionally, if a particular shop allows in-person visits or consultations prior to getting a tattoo, this can be useful for seeing how attentive and knowledgeable the staff is and whether safety protocols are actively practiced. Finally, customers should also pay attention to how they’re treated when they make inquiries. A courteous team with helpful customer service can often attest to an attentive and reliable establishment – qualities that can ensure customer satisfaction in regards to both pricing and overall experience.

Wrapping It All Up

When it comes to choosing the right tattoo shop, there are a few factors to consider. The most important factor is the artists’ level of expertise and experience with the type of tattoo you are looking for. Make sure that they have a portfolio of previous work and speak to what they can do. Additionally, sanitation should be a priority; ensure that the tattoo shop is following all relevant safety guidelines and sterilizing their equipment after every use. Finally, pricing is another important factor. While it can be tempting to go for the lowest-priced option, this may not be the wisest choice if quality and sanitation are compromised. Ultimately, it is important to weigh all these factors against each other in order to make an informed decision about which tattoo shop is the best fit for you. For all your tattoo needs, look no further than Firme Copias. We offer premium solutions, delivering the highest-quality, vibrant, and long-lasting tattoo inks to help you achieve the perfect tattoo experience every time. Call us today!