How to Know When to Say “No” To Your Tattoo Customer


Being a tattoo artist is one of the most rewarding jobs in the world; after all, you have your artwork permanently on the body of a variety of different people, sometimes all around the world! That is a pretty incredible feeling, and we know that many tattoo artists wouldn’t give up their job for the world.

We’re always told that the customer is always right, but in the tattooing industry especially, it’s important to let your customers know if you don’t agree with what they are asking of you. Your work is permanent, so it is important that both you and your client can agree on the design and subsequent care of the tattoo that they want.

We’ve already covered sticking to your personal and professional policies on our blog before, but here’s a quick guide to help you recognise when it’s perfectly okay to say no to your client.

If They Are Drunk

We’ve all heard the horror stories of drunken people heading to their local tattoo studio after having a few too many and getting the world’s worst tattoo and regretting it the next day.


However, a professional tattooist will never tattoo someone who is under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Not only will their judgement be impaired and they may ask for something that they would have never asked for if they were sober, it also puts them at risk of bleeding too much during the procedure.

Alcohol is widely known for thinning your blood, so even if they are adamant that they don’t bleed much, it is still highly possible for them to bleed a lot more than you are used to. This will obscure the stencil as you work, and can often mix with the ink, making the lines fainter and less vibrant, too.

If you consider yourself a professional tattoo artist, never ever agree to tattoo a drunk person.

If Their Idea Simply Won’t Work

You are the tattoo artist and you’ve probably had years of experience behind you; you’ll know what will work and where it will be best placed, and what wont and can’t be changed to fit what your customer wants.

Although they might know what they want, it’s always important to voice your concerns whenever they arise. If you really believe that the tattoo that they want can’t be done exactly in the way they want it, try to offer some advice on how you might be able to adapt it to make it work.

If there is definitely no way that you can see the design fitting or working in that position - tell them. There’s no point in trying and then failing, leaving your client with a tattoo that they aren’t happy with.

Yes, it might come as a shock to them, but they aren’t the one with their reputation on the line if the tattoo doesn’t live up their expectations.

If They Want An Exact Replica of Another Tattoo

The beauty of a tattoo is that it is unique to the person who is getting it. If a customer comes in with w picture of an existing tattoo that they want “exactly like that”, it’s always best to advise them that copying someone else’s artwork isn’t very professional, and try to suggest a design which is similar, but not exactly the same.

Tattoo artists are very protective over their work; after all, it’s all for their portfolio and they have spent time custom designing it for a single particular customer.

Even if it’s obvious that the work was from a flash card, it’s always best to change and tweak the design to your style and the desires of your customer – that way you won’t be treading on another artists toes by copying (and in some people’s eyes, stealing) their artwork.

Tattooing is an incredibly rewarding career path, and although the majority of the time your customers are happy to take on board your advice, it’s important to remember that you are the expert and only you can decide if you can tattoo a person with a specific design,

For more information on how Body Shock can help you with industry standard, reliable tattoo supplies, don’t hesitate to contact us today.