How Much Does It Cost To Open A Tattoo Shop in 2023
Tattooing has been a popular form of body art for centuries, and with the increasing acceptance and mainstreaming of tattoos in society, it's no surprise that many entrepreneurs are considering opening their own tattoo shops.
However, the question that arises for many is, how much does it cost? Today we'll explore the essential elements to consider when opening your own studio and provide you with an estimate of the costs involved in launching your own tattooing business in 2023.
Main Factors To Consider
Opening a tattoo shop can be a rewarding experience, but it comes with its own set of costs that are influenced by the following factors:
Location and size of the shop: Tattoo shops in prime locations with higher rents may charge more for their services. Larger shops may also have higher overhead costs, which can result in higher prices.
Quality of equipment and supplies used: The use of high-quality equipment and supplies increases the cost of providing tattoo services.
Level of experience and skill of the tattoo artists: Highly skilled and experienced tattoo artists may command higher rates due to their expertise and reputation.
Type and amount of advertising done: The cost of advertising, such as social media promotions or print ads, impacts the cost of tattoo services.
Opening a tattoo shop requires a significant amount of initial investment that you won't have to repeat, such as the initial material. In the US, they can range from $30 000 to $100 000 for a mid sized studio. It is essential to carefully plan and budget for these costs to ensure the success of your tattoo shop. Below we provide an estimated based on our own experience from opening a shop in the midwest:
Rent Or Purchase Payments
Finding a location and leasing is usually the most significant initial cost. We advise leasing (renting) instead of buying, as you never know how the business will go. Buying is an option if you're been in the same place for >5 years and plan to stay another 10.
In the United States, the cost of leasing or purchasing a space can vary significantly depending on the location and the size of the property. A small 500-800 square foot retail space in a suburban area can cost anywhere from $500 to $2000 per month in rent, while a larger space in a prime location can cost upwards of $5000 per month.
Renovations and equipment also determine how much it costs to open a tattoo shop. You can rent a shop that already has all the equipment, but you're doing so, consider why isn't the previous owner still operating the shop. Were they bad artists? Or the potential clients in the zone were not enough?
A basic tattoo shop requires tattoo chairs, sterilization equipment, lighting, and other essential tools, which can cost around $15,000 to $20,000. However, if you plan to create a high-end tattoo shop with custom-designed workstations, the cost can go up to $50,000 and even more.
Permits And Licenses
Depending on the state and county regulations, you may need a tattoo artist license, business license, and zoning permit. The cost of obtaining permits and licenses can vary from $500 to $4000, based on the location and type of permit required.
Insurance And Legal Fees
These are also essential costs for opening a tattoo shop. Liability insurance is a must to protect your business and clients from accidents and injuries. The cost of insurance varies depending on the coverage, but it can range from $1000 to $5000 per year. Legal fees for drafting contracts and lease agreements can also add to the initial costs and can range from $1000 to $3000.
Ongoing Tattoo Shop Expenses
Ongoing costs to maintain a tattoo shop typically vary depending on the size and location of the shop, as well as the number of employees and the level of marketing and advertising efforts. Here are some of the ongoing expenses to keep in mind when opening a tattoo shop in the United States.
Utilities and maintenance costs: These include monthly expenses like electricity, water, heating, air conditioning, and trash removal. On average, utility bills can range from $500 to $1000 per month.
Payroll for employees: If you plan to hire employees, you will need to consider the cost of payroll, including wages, taxes, and benefits. The average hourly wage for a tattoo artist in the US is around $30, but it can be higher in larger cities. You can also invert this element and have the artists pay you to use the studio, which means that they don't have to buy the material and can access your walk-in clients.
Supplies and equipment for tattooing and cleaning: Tattoo supplies include needles, ink, machines, and other equipment that are necessary for the tattooing process. Therefore, it is wise to have a budget of around $1500 to $3000 per month.
Advertising expenses: The cost of marketing can vary widely depending on the strategies used, but it is recommended to allocate at least $500 to $1000 per month.
Opening and maintaining a successful tattoo shop requires careful planning and budgeting, including consideration of both initial costs and ongoing expenses.
We advise you to make a business plan and prepare $20k to $50k for the initial material and setting up the studio and around $20k for the first year ongoing expenses, such as material, ads and lease - not including potential salaries.