Thinking about opening up a tattoo shop? Location matters!

All In

Opening up your first shop could cost you as much as 30 grand in most US cities. Even higher in larger cities like SF, NY, LA. But you could cut costs by hiring less staff, opening a smaller square footage spot and utilizing unconventional marketing. If you’ve got a few credit cards and apply for a small business loan or two, you may be able to gather the funds necessary.

Rent and Equipment

Cost of rent is the biggest hurdle to overcome. Hefty deposits, monthly rent and upkeep can scare the bejesus out of anyone. Utilities include: phone, internet, gas, electric, janitorial, garbage, just to name a few. On top of that, occasionally you will find that some landlords don’t want to rent to a tattoo shop. Starting a business is not for the weak of heart. But if you put your mind to it, and accept help where offered, you can persevere.

When you move in, you’ll have to furnish your new space. Chairs, counters, mirrors and an outfitted client waiting area. Also, good ol’ lights. Heck, you’ll likely want to paint the spot before you move in. There are a number of second hand sellers for all of the above items, you can contact InkLnk for names. Don’t forget phones, a computer and even some binders for portfolios. Additionally, you’ll need tattoo machines and various equipment for sterilization to get you out the gate. Don’t forget art for the walls, flash art, maybe a picture of mom.

Employees v. Contractors

Payroll costs can be as high as $150,000 per year in some states, or you could contract with licensed artists and skip the payroll, but the cons include high turnover and unreliable staffing, to name a few. Talk to an accountant before you decide on a business model for your region.


Here at InkLnk we spend a lot of time thinking about marketing. If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to see it, did it really fall? Don’t expect word-of-mouth to determine your success. There are several marketing channels to employ, from social media ads to SEO. Contact InkLnk for tips.

Business Admin

You’ll need insurance, licenses, permits and a dba. All of this requires weeks, if not months, to get taken care of. Start early with admin stuff. Every city/state has it’s own health codes and business requirements.


Suffice to say, owning your own business is both a challenge and a dream come true. If you have the will and the discipline, you can handle it. Contact support@inklnk.comwith any questions.