Should I Open a Tattoo Shop After Finishing Tattoo School?

A book on a desk with title Starting a Business.

Has it always been your dream to open your own tattoo shop? If so, now might be the perfect time to do it.

There are already more than 20,000 tattoo shops scattered throughout the country. This might lead you to believe that there wouldn’t be enough room for yet another tattoo business.

But in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic, Americans are getting tattooed like crazy. So if you’re able to get a tattoo parlor up and running within the next couple of years, it could turn into a very lucrative business.

Before you try your hand at running a tattoo shop, though, you should try to attend the best tattoo academy around. From there, it’ll be very important for you to take the right steps to ensure you set yourself up for success as a tattoo artist.

Here are the steps to take prior to throwing your hat into the ring and opening up your own tattoo shop.

Begin by Finishing Tattoo School

If you have a genuine interest in running a tattoo shop one day, you’re going to need to get the proper schooling. Ideally, you should sign up to attend a reputable tattoo school so that you can learn everything there is to know about tattooing.

Florida Tattoo Academy is one of the very best schools in the country when it comes to teaching talented artists how to become tattoo artists. They’ll be able to teach you all about the tattoo industry as a whole when you take their courses.

Secure a Tattoo Apprenticeship

Once you’re finished taking courses at a tattoo school, you might feel like you’re ready to work as a tattoo artist. You might even feel as though opening a tattoo business wouldn’t be out of the question.

But you’re going to need to gain experience before you can begin working as a full-fledged tattoo artist and eventually opening your own tattoo shop. You can do this by securing a tattoo apprenticeship.

The tattoo academy that you attend might be able to get you an apprenticeship with one of the tattoo shops that they have a relationship with. But you might also be able to earn a tattoo apprenticeship on your own by forming relationships with tattoo shops in your area.

Either way, you’re typically going to have to start at the bottom at a tattoo shop and slowly work your way up from there.

Learn the Ins and Outs of the Tattoo Industry

There are some young tattoo artists who get frustrated about having to work as apprentices at first. They feel as though they deserve to be tattooing people, not working under established tattoo artists and doing a lot of their grunt work.

Instead of looking at things like this, you should view a tattoo apprenticeship as an opportunity for you to learn all about the tattoo industry. You can learn both how to tattoo clients better and how to run a successful tattoo shop.

Running a tattoo shop is about way more than just welcoming clients into your establishment and setting them up with tattoos. You also need to know:

  • Which business licenses and insurance you’ll need to carry
  • How to come up with fair and competitive prices for your tattooing services
  • What to do when it comes to keeping tattoo clients safe and healthy

You should commit to being like a sponge the whole time you’re serving your tattoo apprenticeship. It’ll put you in a much better position when it’s time for you to branch out on your own.

Research Your Local Tattoo Market

In some cases, those who serve tattoo apprenticeships find they don’t want to open their own tattoo shops. They’re able to work their way up at tattoo shops and get jobs at them. If you want to take this approach, that’s perfectly fine.

However, you will also have the option to start your own tattoo shop at some point if you want. You’ll just need to do the necessary homework before you attempt to get it off the ground.

As we alluded to earlier, there are about 20,000 tattoo shops operating throughout the country right now, which means that some markets are more saturated than others. You will need to research your local market to see if there is room in it for you to open a new tattoo shop.

If there is, great. If there isn’t, you might want to consider either opening a tattoo shop in a neighboring community or, at the very least, doing what you can to make your new tattoo shop different from all the others in your city or town.

Obtain the Necessary Funding to Open a Tattoo Shop

Many younger tattoo artists are under the impression that it won’t cost all that much money to get a shop up and running. But this couldn’t be further from the truth.

A conservative estimate for how much it’ll cost to open a tattoo shop will be about $25,000. But it isn’t that uncommon for tattoo shop startup costs to climb to as high as $50,000 or sometimes even $100,000.

If you’re fortunate enough to have money like that sitting in your savings account, you won’t need to worry about where you’re going to get the cash you’ll need to start a tattoo shop. But if you don’t have that kind of money, you’ll need to either take out a business loan or spend some time saving up money for your shop.

Look for a Good Location for a Tattoo Shop

Just like almost any other business, the success of your tattoo shop is going to rely heavily on where you open it up at. If you open your shop in a location that’s off the beaten path, you might struggle to drum up much interest in it.

In a perfect world, you’ll want your tattoo shop to be in a place that gets a ton of foot traffic. It’ll increase the chances of people stopping by your tattoo shop early and often to inquire about your services.

Spend some time sifting through the different locations available in your area to see which one would be best for a tattoo shop. You should be able to track down a location that will be ideal for your shop in no time.

Invest in the Right Tattoo Equipment and Supplies

After you’re able to lock up a location for your tattoo shop, you’ll need to start filling it with all the equipment and supplies you’ll need to tattoo clients. Some of the things you’ll have to buy will be:

  • Tattoo machines
  • High-quality tattoo inks
  • Furniture, including tattoo chairs, tables, etc.
  • Good lighting options
  • And so much more

A big part of the reason why you’ll need to get your hands on so much money to start a tattoo shop is that you’ll need to purchase lots of equipment and supplies. You shouldn’t be shy about spending a little extra to get the best-quality equipment and supplies you can find.

Come Up With a Tattoo Shop Marketing Strategy

In order for your tattoo shop to be a big success, you’re going to need to market it, market it, and then market it some more.

Interestingly enough, you should actually be able to begin your marketing push long before you even think about opening a shop. You can set up social media accounts on platforms like Facebook and Instagram and post photos of tattoos that you like as well as tattoos that you’ve done.

By taking this step, you should be able to start to build a following online. And when you finally get around to opening your own tattoo shop, it’ll be great to have this following since you can market your services directly to them.

After opening your tattoo shop, you should also set up separate social media accounts for it. They’re going to be one of the many keys to your success. They’ll help you connect with potential tattoo clients and give people a much better idea of what your shop is all about.

With a little luck, your marketing strategies will work, and you’ll have people lining up to get tattoos. It’ll make all the hard work you put into becoming a tattoo artist well worth it.

Try Not to Rush Right Into Opening a Tattoo Shop After School

When you’re all done with tattoo school, it’ll be easy to get caught up in the excitement and want to open your own tattoo shop. But it’ll be important for you to practice patience and work your way through the steps listed here.

These steps will help you build a solid foundation for both your career as a tattoo artist and your tattoo shop. They’ll greatly improve your chances of turning yourself into one of the best tattoo artists around, which will benefit you as you seek to open up a shop.

Would you like to learn more about how the Florida Tattoo Academy can put your career on the right path? Contact us now for more information about our courses. We’re currently accepting students from all across the country.