How to Make Money With Tattoo Business: 14 Ways to Get Paid as a Tattoo Artist

Share this:

If you’re here right now, you’re probably a tattoo artist, either beginner or experienced, looking for how to make money with tattoo business. If that’s the case, this post is written to help you make money as a tattoo artist.

While tattooing has gained popularity in recent times, being a professional tattoo artist still holds prestige. Tattoo professionals are typically sought out for their expertise and experience.

But as a tattoo artist, whether beginner or experienced, how do you get more than prestige and honor for your work? Here is a list of 14 proven ways to make money with tattoo business.

1. Get Paid for Tattoo Designs

Did you know that you can get paid for your tattoo designs if they are good enough? There are many people that want to get a tattoo but they do not have anyone to design one for them.

Tattooing is a time-honored form of body modification. And those who choose to get some added ink are always on the lookout for new and exciting designs to express themselves.

If you are good at creating artwork, you can use the internet to find people in need of your services. You could also advertise in your local area in newspapers or bulletin boards.

In addition, you can sell your tattoo designs online. Some of the best tattoo design marketplaces online include:


2. Open Your Own Tattoo Parlor

Ever thought about opening up your own tattoo parlor? Doing this could be a great way to make money with tattoo business, while also gaining the satisfaction of watching customers walk out with 1-of-a-kind ink that they will be proud to show off for the rest of their lives.

No matter how you might feel about tattoos, there is no denying the art form they represent. These artistic images can be seen on everything from someone’s bicep to the neck of an elderly grandmother.

Now you can open your own tattoo parlor to help people get inked with their favorite design or to pay tribute to a loved one who has passed away. However, there are tattoo shop requirements you must meet before you can open your own tattoo shop.

SEE: Ideas For Shops

3. Start Your Own Tattoo Blog or YouTube Channel

Tattooing has maintained its place as an art form throughout the centuries and it is here to stay for a very long time. The number of people getting tattoos and the frequency with which they get these body art is growing by the day.

If you are looking for a good business idea, starting a tattoo blog or YouTube channel is a great way to make money with tattoo business. Some of the most popular channels on YouTube that focus on tattooing and related topics such as piercing, tattoo designs, and even topics like better tattoo aftercare have millions of subscribers.

Some of the best ways you can monetize your blog include:

  • Affiliate marketing
  • Selling ad space
  • Offering services
  • Advertorials and sponsored content
  • Sponsored social media posts
  • Guest posts for media outlets
  • Information products

Some of the best ways you can monetize your YouTube channel include:

  • YouTube Ad services
  • Crowdfunding or donations
  • Amazon Affiliate
  • Set up an AdSense account
  • Join the YouTube Partner Program (YPP)
  • Use affiliate links on YouTube
  • Sell merchandise

SEE: How to Create a Website for Your Blogging Business in Few Minutes

4. Sell t-shirts

Make money with a tattoo business by selling t-shirts. If you have a custom tattoo design, it can be printed on shirts for others to buy to show your designs off.

You sell the shirts at flea markets, concerts, and anywhere else people want to be seen in a creative and offbeat way. Even better, you decide to sell your t-shirts online. And for that, eBay is a good place to start.

T-shirts are one of the easiest business ideas. The t-shirt business has been around for years and is popular with everyone, including teens, kids, men, women, and everybody in between. With custom t-shirts, you can make more money from your tattoo business.

SEE: Best Things to Sell on eBay for Profit

5. Get a Job at a Tattoo Studio

If you are somewhat artistic and have an eye for detail, the best way to make money with a tattoo business is to get a job at a tattoo studio.

Working in a tattoo studio can be fun and exciting. You’ll meet many different people each day. You will also make money every time you work. Although pay is generally not great when you start out, you will gain experience and training.

Often these studios are looking for an artist who can create custom artwork that will hopefully become popular. If it does become popular, the studio will only take the portion of the profits that they contributed to your idea.

6. Sell Artwork & Jewelry

Do you have some artistic flair and want to earn extra money while putting your skills to good use with tattoo business? Sell artwork and jewelry. In addition to tattooing, many successful tattoo artists also sell artwork and jewelry. If you’re known for a unique design or a signature look, this can be a great way to earn extra income.

Artwork and jewelry are two products that can be adequately merchandised for retail, or marketed online to interested buyers. Some people have found great success in selling t-shirts, jewelry, and stickers among others with their art on them.

For example, selling your work in a gallery not only gives you the opportunity to make more money but also allows for investment in more supplies and equipment. You can sign up to sell your work in a nearby gallery and make cash. And you can sell on Etsy too.

SEE: How to Make Money with Art

7. Sell Ink (bottles)

Ink is where the money is. All artists need ink, and most artists buy it wholesale. Selling ink to tattoo artists can be a very profitable business, and it’s also easy to start — no storefront needed. Ink is cheap to buy and cheap to ship; once you’re set up, you’re ready to go.

Some buyers are professional tattoo artists, while others are hobbyists looking to save money. There is a large market for bottled ink. If you want to make money with tattoo business, start to sell ink.

8. Become an Affiliate

If you want to make money with tattoo business, one of the easiest ways is to register as an affiliate with one of the high-paying affiliate programs. As an affiliate, you’ll earn a percentage (%) of each sale that you send to them. It’s that simple.

To succeed as an affiliate, you either sell your own products or promote someone else’s. Research the product you want to sell before you post your ad so that you know if it would be of interest to potential readers.

SEE: How To Make Money With Affiliate Marketing

9. Earn Money From Apprenticeships

It may seem odd to think of apprenticeships as a source of income, but they are the secret behind many of the most successful artists’ success. Artists who have taken on apprentices understand the importance of investing in new talent–not only for their skill but also for their marketing.

It is a way for you as a tattoo artist to pass on your skills, develop your own reputation as a mentor, earn some extra money at the same time, plus gain loyal fans that may be able to help build your business.

You should carefully screen apprentices and do background checks to avoid taking on apprentices that will just cause problems or be a liability and cost you more than you will earn.

10. Hire Out Your Machine

Once you’re established, clients will of course want to book shop time with you, but if you’re still establishing your business then you probably need the money more than the extra time—so why not hire out your machine?

You can rent out your machine to other tattoo artists who may not have one, or you can even rent it out to people on holiday (yes, some people get tattoos when they are on holiday) but on smaller objects like hands, feet, wrists, etc.

Your tattoo machine is a valuable and fairly expensive piece of equipment. Hiring it out to friends and fellow artists is a great way to make extra money and will allow you to make some extra cash while you’re out of town.

11. Win a Tattoo Competition

A tattoo convention or convention is an event where tattoo professionals, enthusiasts, collectors, and other related groups meet to display their artwork. These events feature entertainment, seminars, fashion shows, trade show booths, and tattoo competitions.

Tattoo competitions are a great place to make money. They are like the Olympics of tattooing in which artists battle for honor, glory, and cash prizes.

You can even enter online. Some of the sites you can get amazing competitions are Great British Tattoo show ( and Hell City Tattoo Fest (

12. Write a Book

As a tattoo artist, there are many things that might have occurred in your life that could be worth writing a book about. You may want to share tips, tricks, or tactics that you have learned over the years.

Perhaps you have had successful results with different business strategies and you want to share them with others so they too can succeed.

By writing a book, you open the door to opportunities for personal growth, networking with potential partners or employers, and long-term income.

13. Get Paid to Teach Others

Looking for a way to make money with tattoo business? Teaching others by doing seminars or workshops, for both experienced and new artists, the art of tattooing is a fun and creative way to make a living.

You can start teaching classes at a local tattoo shop, festival, or community outreach. This is a great way to help upcoming tattoo artists learn the necessary skills and also earn some extra money on the side.

There are a lot of tattoo art instructors who work with tattoo firms and teach artists how to use machines. As an instructor, you can make a reasonable salary.

14. Get Paid to Talk at Tattoo Conventions

Tattoo business is always an interesting topic to talk about. If you’ve made a name in the business, you can make money to talk tattoo designing trends and other related things.

Tattoo conventions are opportunities for you to connect with other tattoo business owners, tattooers, designers, and enthusiasts. At conferences, you can give seminars or presentations and get paid for it.

There are hundreds of tattoo conventions and shows held in the United States and around the world every year. In addition to making money, this is an opportunity to network with people who might be able to help you continue to develop your business.

SEE: How to Make Money as a Motivational Speaker


Is tattoo business profitable?

Yes, with no doubt, tattoo business is profitable and is increasingly growing in popularity. After a few years of establishing your clientele and honing your craft, you expect to be making $50,000/year.

How do tattoo shop owners make money?

A tattoo shop owner can offer more than just tattooing. It can also make money by offering laser tattoo removal, laser hair removal, spray tanning, piercing, makeup artistry, consultation, or advice for people who are having trouble with their current tattoos. From any of these tattoo shop owners may also charge for classes, workshops, seminars, and other events.

How much do tattoo owners make?

The average first-year income of successful tattoo artists is $15,000 or less. However, once you establish yourself and your tattoo business, you may be able to earn $50,000-$85,000 on average, per year.


The tattoo business is a lucrative business and if one is able to do it in a way that is really unique and has something that nobody else does, then you can definitely earn a lot of money.

If you’re a beginner, the best place to start is to get a job at a tattoo studio. You will be able to learn the ropes and also make money in the process. But if you’re experienced, you can open your own tattoo shop, speak at conventions, write a book, start a blog or YouTube, or teach others.

There are various ways to make money with tattoo business but I have only discussed the reliable ones and you can choose one or more of the above options.

Finally, if you’re talented and have exceptional artistic skills, here are some art business ideas you may want to check out.

I hope you found this post helpful. Thank you for reading.