Tattoo 101 :: Customer Deposits


Tattoo 101

Customer Deposits

By: Rochelle Alvarez


A common question I receive a lot from various people, (both clients and not), is “Why do tattoo artist need to take (nonrefundable) deposits?”. Simple answer: Because we’re greedy and just love holding onto your money… totally joking here...mostly.

Deposits are a way for many artists, such as myself, to assure that the potential client and the date that they are requesting is a “for-sure” deal. History in this industry has taught me quite a few lessons. One of the main issues being that, sometimes, when potential clients come in, they don’t always show back up for said appointment date. Despite how enthusiastic and determined they may initially appear. There could be various valid reasons for this, but, ultimately, as an artist who makes a living off of this craft, it’s best to lock in times and dates by taking deposits.  This gives an artist a small sense of security that all of the work that they are about to put into drawing and preparing for your custom piece is worth their time and efforts. Ultimately, if a client does indeed flake, and no deposit was made… the artist is left with absolutely nothing in return for all their hard work, materials and time.


As tattooing is not my hobby, but a means to earn a living and care for my family. If a client does not show up, I lose out on quite a bit of anticipated income. This is because once a deposit is made, the date reserved is no longer available to any other clients. Thus, all I have to show for the time I prepared, set up, wasted materials, child care (for some artists are indeed parents), travel etc. is all-for-not. The only income made at that point, is the small deposit left by the no-show.

Every artist and shop vary on how much of a deposit is required. For myself, the amount I request depends on if the client would like to book a weekend or weekday (I charge extra for weekends, as they are in high demand and require longer sit times for larger pieces/ projects), and how long they would potentially like to sit for in said session.

So, when your artist asks for a deposit, consider it as a sort of insurance for both parties. For that small fee, you get the date you requested without someone else popping in and stealing your spot, an amazing well-thought-out custom piece, not to mention all of your artists creativity, dedication, and time reserved just for you. The artist benefits in a sound mind while prepping for your appointment and, possibly, a small consolation, if you don’t show up.