How To Open A Tattoo Shop?

Tattoos are a great way to express your personality and show off your uniqueness. However, it can be difficult to know where to start if you consider opening a tattoo shop. There is so much that goes into the process, and it’s important not to overlook any steps for everything to go smoothly. 

Below is the whole process of how to open a tattoo shop. Do not hesitate to give us a check if you desire to have a successful and profitable business shortly.

How To Open A Tattoo Shop?

Image Credit: Bang Bang Tattoo


Step 1: Learn The Industry & Craft

If you’re looking to set up a tattoo shop, the first step is understanding what it takes. Familiarize yourself with all aspects of business management and training. This way, when prospective customers ask about prices or designs, they will receive proper care from an expert customer service person.

It’s easy to get caught up in the hype and think that you’re a great tattoo artist, but without completing significant research or partnering with an experienced mentor, it will never be possible.

Step 2: Plan Your Business

Image Credit: Bang Bang Tattoo

It can be not easy to know what your next move should look like when you’re an entrepreneur. Although the path is never completely clear and unsuspecting pitfalls might lie around every corner, some important topics you should consider in any decisions:

  • What are the startup and ongoing costs?
  • Who is your target market?
  • How much can you charge customers?
  • What will you name your business?

Step 3: Find A Location

By settling on a location with high traffic, you will attract more customers who want the best of what your business has offered. The staff should be well equipped, and all state-required permits have been acquired before any rehabilitation work begins so that everything runs smoothly from beginning until the end.

Step 4: Manage And Handle Legal Act

Image Credit: Bang Bang Tattoo

Research Local Regulations

Before you start a tattoo parlor, it’s important to know the laws in your area. Contact local health departments and find out what requirements exist for businesses like yours so that everything runs smoothly when customers come through those doors. 

The AAA Tattoo Directory is your go-to guide for understanding which states have the most tattooing regulations. With this information, you can determine where to get a permit to operate legally when you’re an entrepreneur and what types of body art are banned or restricted by law within each jurisdiction.

Form A Legal Entity

Starting your tattoo parlor is a big responsibility. You must establish the right business structure – something that will protect you from being held personally liable if anything goes wrong with it. There are three most common legal entities: partnership, sole proprietorship, corporation, and limited liability company (LLC).

Running an LLP entails minimal in-state fees, but hiring one professional for this task could be cheaper than establishing multiple S-corporations across various states.

Register For Taxes

When you’re ready to start a tattoo studio, one of the first steps is registering for taxes. To do so effectively and ensure that everything runs smoothly from day 1 with little fuss or headache – all it’ll involve is an EIN (Employer Identification Number). The best part? It’s completely free.

Image Credit: Bang Bang Tattoo

There are many different ways to structure your business, and the tax implications will depend on what form is chosen. For example, some LLCs could be taxed as an  S corporation (S-corp).

Obtain Necessary Permits And Licenses

It is important to ensure that all necessary permits and licenses are in order if you’re trying to start a tattoo studio. Failing to do so can result in hefty fines or even cause your business to shut down! The health department of each state regulates where these shops should go.

Additionally, there may be other regulatory requirements for local licensing depending on what city/state they operate out of (check with code enforcement):

A suggested way to increase legal liability and transparency is by ensuring that clients know the risks of tattooing before they consent. To do this, certain shops may want to register an intellectual property for designs with US copyright office fees which are minimal in cost at only $25 per year.

The Certificate of Occupancy (CO) is a government-issued document that meets all building codes, zoning laws, and regulations. This means your business can operate without restrictions in any location with this certificate.

Get Business Insurance


A business without insurance is like a car with no driver’s license and registration. A company can’t operate safely or legally, so it needs Business Insurance to protect its financial wellbeing in case of an unfortunate covered loss such as fire damage from equipment failure caused by neglectful maintenance on your part as well as theft during open hours.

Insurance is a complicated topic. If you are unsure of the types of risks your business may face, it’s best to start with General Liability Insurance – this coverage will cover most small businesses needs.

Step 5: Handle Accounting Issues

Open A Business Bank Account & Credit Card

It’s important to have a separate business account for your personal assets. Mixing the two accounts puts their safety at risk, which can lead to them being seized if you are sued in court because of something related to your company’s operation or any wrongdoing on behalf of yourself as an individual owner/partner.

It’s no secret that having good credit can be a major boost to your economic success. When you’re in debt and want an easy way out, there are plenty of people who will take advantage by using someone else’s money just because they know it’s easier than making their hard work pay off with real rewards.

Set Up Business Accounting

The more you know about your finances, the better. Understanding how much money comes in and goes out will give you a clearer idea of where changes can be made. Keeping records on what you spend will help with accounting, as well as tax time next year.

Step 6: Furnish Your Space

A tattoo shop workspace

It’s time to get artistic! Get your place ready with all documents in order, furnish and decorate the work area. Buy or install whatever is necessary for artists/clients – reclining chairs that can be tailored specifically for dentists’ offices are perfect examples of what you would want at this stage.

If you want your office area to be friendly and creative, not stuffy, you should have some art on display if possible, along with comfortable seating for clients or their loved ones at the reception desk. There are also file cabinets where important paperwork will go.

Step 7: Purchase Equipment And Supplies

Before opening a tattoo studio, make sure you have the supplies and equipment needed to be ready for business.  Equipment can include an autoclave used during the preparation of clients’ tattoos. Tattoo machines that ink skin into beautiful patterns using black or colored pigment-based inks depending on their desired look. 

You will also need needles and paper towels to wipe the excess liquid off the client’s arm once it has healed completely.

Step 8: Hire Qualified Staff

what are the tips for beginner tattoo artist

Hiring professional tattooists is the first step to running a successful business. Hire one or two depending on how much traffic your shop will generate, and you’ll be set for success! Be prepared before an opening day by deciding what number of these talented artists are necessary.

Step 9: Define Your Brand

Stand out from the crowd with a strong brand that will help you attract new clients. As an artist, it’s important to devote time marketing your work and developing online, and offline relationships – Word of mouth is often how prospects find tattoo artists for themselves.

Invest in getting artwork on display so people can see what kind of person they want their next ink job done by before committing (although not at all times). A portfolio should be seen as key evidence when showcasing yourself.

Noticeably, you can’t be a one-trick pony. You need to master the popular trends in your area and take risks and do something that no one else does if you want success.

Step 10: Create Contacts To Your Shop

Social Media Communication

Create Your Shop’s Website

If you’re a small business owner who’s been sitting on the fence about getting your own website, then it is time to take action. The internet has evolved so drastically in just a few years that even those without any technical skills can have an online presence with some simple tools.

Set Up Your Business Phone System

Business phones are important for keeping your personal life and work separately. Not only will they help you stay productive, but it also provides several other benefits including making the business more automated which allows potential customers to contact you easier.

What Are The Tips To Remember When Opening A Tattoo Shop? 

  • Don’t forget to check with your landlord or property manager about the liability limits required to operate a business in their building. Using an established tattoo-specific insurance policy will also help cover any mishaps you might experience.
  • Personal hygiene stations are a great way to keep your employees happy and healthy. They need special equipment, so you’ll want state-approved bins for their cleanliness. 

For the best results in sanitizing them and making sure they’re germ-free (not just emptied), use nonporous surfaces like tiles with no tears or rips in their seals. This will help avoid cross-contamination. 

Final Thoughts 

Opening a tattoo shop is not an easy endeavor. It takes careful consideration of the design layout, branding, and more before you can even think about opening your doors to customers.

In this post, we’ve given you some practical tips on how to open a tattoo shop successfully, as well as what goes into running one day-to-day. We hope these insights help you get started. Comment below if there’s anything else we could cover or what other topics would interest you most.

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