Most tattoo and piercing studios, if not all of them, take appointments for services. In this blog post, we're going to discuss consultations, deposits, and pretty much anything you've ever wanted to know about tattoo and piercing appointments.
Appointments vs. Walk-Ins
Tattoos and piercings can be done by appointment, or as a walk in. Walk ins are great for tattoos if you know exactly what you want, where you want it, and the piece is reasonably small (think palm size or smaller) with little to no drawing time or modification required. Walk ins are taken on a first come, first served basis, and are not scheduled in advance, thus the name "Walk In". If an artist has a time slot without anything booked, they'll usually take walk ins during this time, and it is very common for artists to book out their whole day early in the day, especially during the busy months (April-August).
This is where appointments come in! Appointments are scheduled in advance, and usually require a deposit. Artists will spend time in advance preparing for their appointment(s), which includes researching references and drawing images. Plus, the amount of time the tattoo should take is blocked off, so there isn't the risk of showing up to the studio and not being able to be fit in to our day. Large pieces, anything custom that will require a good amount of preparation, or tattoos and piercings for several people on the same day, usually are best by appointment.
While most piercings do not require much preparation beforehand on the part of the piercer, piercers can book up rather quickly with walk ins, and during the busy season it's not uncommon for a popular studio to have a wait of several hours or more. Appointments to get pierced guarantee a time slot, which means little to no waiting, and piercers can have time set aside specifically for more sensitive situations or clients, like young children.
Before Your Tattoo Appointment: Consultations, Deposits, and Drawing
Prior to your tattoo appointment, a consult is usually done with the artist or piercer to discuss ideas and to confirm that what you're wanting is within reason, and within the skillset of the artist. With some piercings, this is also necessary to assess your anatomy to make sure the piercing you're interested in will work with your anatomy. Consults can often be done on a walk in basis, but certain consults require an appointment, like those for piercing young children. Please be honest during your consult and let us know the extent of what you're wanting to have done, so we know whether we should be setting aside time for one or three piercings, or a palm sized tattoo or the start of a sleeve.
To book tattoo appointments, the industry standard as of this writing is for a client to put down a deposit to secure their spot in the calendar, as well as drawing time. Most reputable tattoo artists will not begin to draw for a tattoo without having a deposit. This is not because we're greedy or lazy, but because if we spent time drawing for every single person who came in and asked, there would be no time to tattoo. Generally speaking, deposits come off the total price of the tattoo, and they are nonrefundable. This deposit covers our time drawing and preparing for your tattoo. Even if you do not show up to your appointment, there was still time, supplies, and skill utilized to prepare for that day. This is our livelihood, and just as most people wouldn't work for free if asked, we feel the same.
We strongly suggest taking your time when choosing an artist, and browsing their portfolio to get a sense of the work they do and the style they tattoo in, so you feel confident in your choice and that your artist will make your tattoo amazing.
Reference photos are immensely helpful when explaining to your artist what you're interested in having tattooed. For example, if you asked 3 people to draw a flower, you'd probably get 3 different images. These do not need to be pictures of tattoos, and in fact, most people prefer they not be tattoos, as each tattoo artist has their own style and udon't want to copy someone else's work. If you have references, please feel free to bring them to your consult with you, or email them to your artist ASAP after scheduling your appointment.
The Day Of: Running Late & Cancellations
Tattoo and piercing appointments are no different than appointments for any other service: the person providing the service is setting aside time in their day to work on you specifically. If you are running late, or are unable to make your appointment, please contact your artist or the studio to let them know ASAP. If we spend time and effort putting something together for a client, and turning away other clients, for them to not show up, not only was there time wasted, but other folks are unable to get in to fill that time, which costs us money. Plus, it's simply common courtesy to let someone know that you won't be able to make it in.
Please try to show up on time for your appointment. We know that life happens, there can be traffic, etc. but please us know that you're running behind so we know what's up, and so we can notify other clients accordingly.
The Day Of: Last Minute Changes or Additions
Some things are very easy to tack on to a tattoo or piercing appointment. If you are scheduled for a helix piercing and decide you'd like a second, chances are we can accommodate. If you decide you don't want a name under a flower and just a flower, that shouldn't be a problem. But things like deciding last minute you want a portrait of your dog on your shoulder and not a heart on your wrist, or that you want to get a triple forward helix and change jewelry on all your piercings instead of only getting a nostril piercing, are a bit more dynamic and may not be something we are able to accommodate in the time allotted for your appointment, and in some cases may require us to start working on something new from scratch. If you change your mind before your appointment, please let us know as far in advance as possible so we can adjust your appointment time, and/or draw something new if needed.
The Bottom Line
We love our clients and our jobs, and are very lucky to do what we do! Staying organized via appointments allows us to both work efficiently and focus more attention on each of our clients, and not be rushed or spread thin. Help us help you have the best experience possible.