Man Asks If He 'Stiffed' His Tattoo Artist For Only Tipping $200 For A $4000 Piece

Many people believed that "stiffing" the artist would be not leaving him a tip at all.

tattoo artist, tattoo Studio113 / Shutterstock

After a man got a tattoo that took nearly an entire day to complete, he believed he was being generous with the tip amount he left.

However, he later learned that he may have “stiffed” his tattoo artist with the tip, and is asking others if he should have given more.

The man asked if he should have given his tattoo artist more than a $200 tip for a $4,000 tattoo.

Sharing his story to the subreddit r/AITAH, the man revealed that he recently had his arm tattooed.


“[It] was a little more expensive than I would’ve liked, but the artist is really good,” the man wrote. The tattoo took 20 hours to complete, and the artists charged $200 an hour.

“My arm is mostly black, so no other colors were incorporated. It looks really good,” he shared. 

tattoo, arm tattoo Olena Yakobchuk / Shutterstock


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The man gave his artist a $200 tip, believing that it was more than generous. However, his cousin, who recommended the artist, believed that $200 was a “terrible” tip.

The man said that the artist is an independent worker and pays for all of his own supplies. All the tip money goes to him directly.

“Did I stiff him? New to tattoo etiquette,” the man asked. 

Most people argued that the man did not stiff the artist, despite what his cousin believed.

In fact, many people believed that the man’s tip was more than fair, given that the artist was an independent worker who set his own prices.


“Tip what you want to tip. You paid him an agreed-upon amount and then gave him an hour’s more worth of money,” one Redditor commented.

@benshawarchetype 🙌 Show Some Tattoo Love! 💕 Hey ink enthusiasts! Let's dive into the art of tipping your amazing tattoo artist. 💪 It's like a high-five for their hard work, a way to say "Hey, your talent rocks!" Tipping isn't a one-size-fits-all deal – it's all about the vibe and your experience. 🌟 The amount can vary, reflecting factors like tattoo complexity, hours invested, and your ultimate satisfaction. While a common guideline suggests around 20% of the total cost, feel free to tweak it based on your unique journey. 🧐 Think about the big picture. How mind-blowing is that tattoo? Did they invest time and heart into it? If it's a multi-session masterpiece, that deserves a nod too. And don't forget the whole experience – did they rock in professionalism and service? 🎉 Remember, it's not about stretching your wallet thin. 🤑 Tip what feels right for you, aligned with your budget. A heartfelt thank-you note or a small gesture can mean the world too. 💌 Tipping speaks volumes about your respect and admiration for their craft. 🙏 Let's honor their dedication to your stunning ink! Now, rock that fresh tattoo with pride! 🤘 #tattootips #TattooTipAppreciation #InkLove #RespectTheArtist #TattooCommunity #ShowSomeLove #TattooAppreciation #InkAdmiration #TipWithGratitude #tattooartist #tattoocommunity #benshaw ♬ sonido original - Ben Shaw

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It's awfully nice of you to tip at all. The artist is self-employed, and you had a contract with an agreed-upon rate. I don't see why you had to tip at all,” another user wrote.


“My daughter is a tattoo artist and owns her own studio. As she says, tips are great, but her salary, cost of materials, rent, the whole nine yards... is worked into the agreed upon price,” another user shared.

“$4,000 is an incredible amount of work and a huge amount for the average customer to pay. He wasn't expecting any tip at all, so an extra $200 probably made his week.”

While all tattoos vary in price range, typically larger pieces and ones that take a longer amount of time to complete cost more. 

Sleeves, or tattoos that cover the entire arm or leg, can cost up to $8,000, depending on the design and artist.

tattoo artist Ivan Dudka / Shutterstock


Giving your artist a tip is certainly not required. However, many tattoo artists still appreciate tips. Since independent artists are responsible for all aspects of their business, from supplies to marketing, tips can help support their livelihood.

However, independent artists should not solely rely on customer tips to make a living. If they are seeking more money, they should adjust their set prices.

A generous tip is usually 10% of the total bill. Given that the man tipped $200 for a $4,000 tattoo, he gave half of what is deemed 'generous'. 


If you’re planning on getting tatted and are unsure about tipping etiquette, you can always ask the artist and agree on a fair tip. However, it is important to note that it is never an obligation.

RELATED: Barber Admits He Expects At Least A 40% Tip From Clients Once The Service Is Done

Megan Quinn is a writer at YourTango who covers entertainment and news, self, love, and relationships.