7 Things You Need to Know Before Opening A Tattoo Studio

A very common goal that tattoo artists have is one day owning their own tattoo studio. However, for a tattoo studio to be successful, you need to understand a lot more than just tattooing. 

In this article, we’ll break down the big things you’ll need to know before you open your own studio

Here’s what we’ll cover:

  • How to get the right experience
  • How much money you need to open a shop
  • Which health regulations you need to keep in mind

7 Steps to Consider Before Opening A Tattoo Studio 


Experience Matters - Get Into a Tattoo Shop

It is very difficult to open your own studio when you’re first starting out as a tattooer. Getting into another studio to learn how things run first will make sure you know how to run a shop before investing your money into opening your own. 

When you’re working at a studio, you’ll pick up a lot of valuable information about the tattoo industry and running a business. You’ll learn about everything from sterilization, taxes, and even simple things like writing and filing release forms. 

Getting into a studio will also help you build clientele, which you’ll need when you move to your own studio.


Save Up Money to Open Your Studio

You’re going to need to save anywhere between $5,000-10,000 for a custom studio or $30,000-50,000 minimum to open a studio where you have multiple people working for you. This will cover things like setup, construction, rent, water, trash, electricity, internet, biohazard pickup, etc. 

Write out a list of what you’ll need to pay for and create a schedule so that you know exactly what to do to keep your bills paid and your doors open. The last thing you want is to open your studio with a bad financial plan and have to close a few months later.


Don’t Tell Anyone You’re Opening Up a Tattoo Studio

When you first start tattooing and people ask what your goal is, simply say that you want to learn how to tattoo. You don’t want to lie, but opening your own studio creates competition for other shops around you, so you will probably burn some bridges when you go to open your own place.


This is one reason why you want to make sure your shop succeeds. Trying to go back to work in someone else’s studio after opening your own (and becoming their competition) can be difficult


Understand Marketing and Build Up Clientele

Marketing is extremely important to the success of your new studio. You’ll need to start marketing your studio before you open so that people know a new studio is coming. People will need to start following you and help you raise awareness about your studio. Print business cards as soon as you have your location with your address and contact information so you can start building clientele before you’re up and running.

One suggestion we have is to run a promotion on opening day where people can purchase tickets that will enter them into a raffle for tattoos at different price levels. For example, you can sell tickets for $5 and draw 3 of them, one for a $100 tattoo, one for a $200 tattoo, and one for a $500 tattoo.


Get Your Taxes Right

While we’re on the money subject, make sure you’re paying close attention to your taxes. Doing your taxes incorrectly - or trying to skirt around rules so they’re less expensive - can make it harder to get loans and destroy your business and your life. 

Paying taxes hurts, but you have to do it, and doing it right will help keep your business going.


Stay Up to Code - Health Regulations

To open your studio, you will need to know and understand the local health codes. Depending on your state, you’ll need to prove that everything is sterile and have things like properly painted walls, biohazard pickup, running water, and certain numbers of supplies at every station. 

The health department might even require you to sketch out your plans for the studio before you start construction so that they can approve it. 

Make sure you know exactly what your state requires, because some will require things that others don’t. You will need to be up to code for your state, or they won’t let you open. 


Understand How to Pass Spot Checks

Before opening, the health department's going to come out and check your stations. They're going to go through everything that you have and make sure it’s up to date. 

They will come out every three months, so you have to be mindful of that as an owner who will be held liable.

Make sure you have a good team working with you that understands the health codes so that you don’t rack up fines or get a poor rating when they come to inspect your studio. It helps to have other people do things like keep the studio clean, answer the phones, etc. so that you can focus on running the business.

Prepare for a Tattooing Career with the Artist Accelerator Program

Learning how to open your own studio is an important step for many tattoo artists, but it can also be pretty eye-opening to how difficult tattooing can be. Without the right knowledge, it’s impossible to level up your skills and become a professional tattoo artist. 

However, finding the straight-forward information you need to progress is difficult. And with so much out there online, it’s hard to avoid picking up bad habits from incorrect and outdated resources.

This is one of the biggest struggles new tattooers face, and too many talented artists have given up their goal of getting into tattooing because of the years it would take to unlearn their bad habits. 

That’s why aspiring artists are learning to tattoo with the Artist Accelerator Program’s structured course. As a student, you learn every step of the tattooing process from professional artists with the experience and advice you need to build your skills and create incredible tattoos. 

With the Artist Accelerator, you can stop wasting time searching through incorrect information. You just get the clear, easy-to-understand lessons you need to start improving fast… along with support and personalized feedback from professional artists in our online Mastermind group.

Over 2500 students have already gone through the course, with many of them opening up their own studios. If you want to join them and learn the skills you need to start tattooing full time faster…

Click here to learn more about the Artist Accelerator Program.

Looking for a tattoo apprenticeship?

Tattooing 101's Artist Accelerator 90 day program is the closest thing to a real apprenticeship

  • 500 video modules
  • Professional tattoo artist coaches
  • Private mastermind community
Nathan Molenaar

Nathan is a licensed professional tattoo artist with over 8 years’ experience working at studios across the globe, including Celebrity Ink, the world's largest tattoo studio chain.

When he's not tattooing, he spends his free time sharing his experience and knowledge with aspiring artists who dream of pursuing a career in the tattooing industry.

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