So you’re looking to book your first (or next) tattoo session and you’re filled with excitement.
If it’s your first encounter with a tattoo shop, you might be wondering how tattoo deposits work.
Nowadays, most parlors in the US as well as abroad require a deposit before they start inking you. This is especially common for big projects that will take multiple sessions to complete.
Many people just beginning their tattoo journey are quick to oblige, not really knowing what their rights are when it comes to this type of policy.
So let’s take a look at what a tattoo deposit policy really means.
How Do Tattoo Deposits Work?
In short, a tattoo deposit policy is an agreement between you and the artist that outlines the terms of your tattoo service. This document will usually include things like the total cost of the project, how many sessions it will take, the length of each session, etc.
Most importantly, the deposit policy will also state how much money you will need to put down upfront in order to secure your spot. This is where things can get a bit tricky, as the amount required can vary greatly from artist to artist and from parlor to parlor.
Some will only ask for a small percentage of the total price (usually around 10-20%), while others will want the full amount before they start working. It all depends on the individual shop’s policy.
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Most tattoo shops treat the deposit policy as a form of insurance. In their eyes, if you’re not willing to put any skin in the game (so to speak), then you must not be that serious about getting the tattoo.
Before deposit policies became widespread, some customers used to book appointments and then simply never show up. This obviously caused big problems for the artists, who would then have to turn away other paying customers.
The deposit policy is meant to deter this type of behavior and protect the artist’s time and livelihood.
Does a Tattoo Deposit Go Towards the Tattoo?
In most cases, yes. The deposit you pay will be applied to the total cost of your tattoo.
However, there are some situations where this might not be the case. For example, if you cancel your appointment or don’t show up, you are likely to forfeit your deposit entirely.
Additionally, some shops have a policy where the deposit only goes towards the first session of a multi-session tattoo. So if you need to book additional appointments to finish the piece, it’s possible you will need to pay another deposit each time.
This is why it’s important to ask about the shop’s specific policy before booking an appointment and putting down a deposit. You don’t want any surprises later on down the road.
Can You Re-Book an Appointment Without Another Deposit?
If you need to cancel or reschedule your tattoo appointment, most shops will require another deposit in order to re-book.
This is especially true when you cancel the appointment at a short notice or if it’s a multi-session tattoo that requires multiple appointments. In this case, the shop may not even allow you to reschedule unless you pay another deposit.
Of course, there are always exceptions to the rule. If you have a good relationship with the artist or shop owner, they may be willing to make an exception in your case.
It never hurts to ask, but don’t be surprised if they say no.
Do All Appointments Require a Deposit?
No, not all appointments require a deposit. In fact, many shops will only require one for larger projects that will take multiple sessions.
Especially for smaller tattoos or under-1-hour sessions, the artist may not ask for a deposit at all. They may simply take your word that you’ll be back to finish the job.
Of course, this is a bit of a risk for the artist. If you don’t show up, they’ve essentially just given away their services for free. So it’s always best to ask about the shop’s policy before booking an appointment.
Does the Tattoo Deposit Policy Include Any Customer Rights?
The deposit policy is designed to protect the artist’s time and livelihood. However, it’s important to remember that you as the customer have certain rights as well.
For example, the artist should never ask for more money than what was originally agreed upon. If they do, you have the right to walk away and find another artist.
In case it’s the artist or parlor that changes the upon-agreed tattoo date, you may be able to get your deposit back in full.
The fact is, there are no universal laws governing tattoo deposits. So it really depends on the individual shop’s policy. That’s why it’s important to ask about the specifics before booking an appointment.
In general, though, you as the customer should always be treated fairly. If you feel like you’re being taken advantage of, don’t hesitate to speak up or walk away.