How to Pick the Right Tattoo Shop


They Are Not All the Same

Thinking about getting some new ink? Congratulations! You’re about to get a beautiful piece of art on your body that’s unique and helps to tell the world your story. If you are new to the world of tattoos or are simply looking for a new place to get tattooed, there are some considerations you need to make when it comes to how to pick the right tattoo shop.

  1. Cleanliness is Everything ­– When it comes to picking the right tattoo shop, the importance of cleanliness cannot be overlooked. You will be able to tell if a tattoo shop is clean almost immediately after walking in. If everything looks clean, organized and conveys the fact that management cares about how the shop looks, you’ve found a likely candidate for the right tattoo shop. If not, turn around and go someplace else. It’s also good to note that every reputable tattoo shop has an autoclave certificate (“autoclave” is fancy word for electric sterilization mechanism), so don’t hesitate to ask to see it.
  2. Paperwork is in Order – If you’re wondering about how to pick the right tattoo shop, the second item to consider is paperwork/licensure. Every reliable tattoo shop is made up of artists who are well trained and licensed to tattoo. Artists must also have bloodborne pathogen certificates verifying they know how to work with bodily fluids (e.g., blood) in the workplace and are aware of the proper protocol to follow in order to prevent the spread of bloodborne pathogens (i.e., the bad guys in the blood that can cause illness and disease).
  3. Choosing the Right Artist – Tattoo shops employ multiple artists, so it’s important to find one who can give you what you want. Artists have their own unique styles and oftentimes specialize in one or a few particular styles. Do your research to be sure your prospective artist can carry out the style of tattoo you desire. In case you’re not sure about what you want, look through the artists’ portfolios—either online or in person—to see if you like what they can do.
  4. Word of Mouth – Another important thing to consider when thinking about how to pick the right tattoo shop is word of mouth. Ask people who have gotten tattooed at your prospective tattoo shop to see what they say about it. You should also check out the shop’s online reviews on sites like Yelp! or  Google Plus; you may be interested to hear what people have written. Just keep in mind that some people out there are never satisfied with their experience anywhere and use these sites simply to bash various establishments and their employees. That being said, look for patterns in the reviews; if something is wrong, you’ll notice multiple people commenting about it.
  5. Proceed with Caution – Be weary of any type of specials, like “$30 Tattoo Tuesday,” “Buy One Get One” or anything resembling a sale. Remember, you get what you pay for, so a cheap tattoo is definitely not what you want. It’s also important to note that a good tattoo shop gives good customer service. The artists and personnel don’t have to have a bachelor’s degree in communication or even be overly personable. However, they need to have a general sense of how to treat people and know how to follow good manners. If you run into any attitude or if your prospective artist seems annoyed or put out by interacting with your or answering questions, head for the door.

Wondering how to pick the right tattoo shop? Just be sure to follow the tips we’ve outlined above. It’s also helpful to use your best judgment. Say you walk through the door of a local shop, talk to someone, get a tour and something just doesn’t feel right. Simply trust your gut instinct and look for a different tattoo shop.

If you are considering getting some new ink, we invite you to look through our gallery and schedule a consultation if you like what you see. We’ll be more than happy answer any questions you have about how to pick the right tattoo shop!