BUSINESS PLAN FOR Tattoo Artists, Tattoo Shops And Parlors

Tattoo Industry is over $2 billion a year.

It is a great industry to be in. The problem is that the majority of tattoo artists rarely make money.

This business plan will give you a solid plan to make money and grow your tattoo business.

The biggest skill you need to become a financial success in the tattoo industry is not your tattoo skill but the skill to draw customers and make them get a tattoo from you.

You may be the best tattoo artist on this planet but if people cannot find you or get a tattoo from you, you are not going to make much money.

So let’s teach you how to build a tattoo business and make money.

STEP 1: Create A Signature Style

In general, I am not a fan of limiting business to one signature style because it diminishes your market.

But when it comes to art and especially tattoos having a signature style is a massive asset.

All displays at your parlor, promotional media and social platforms should show your unique style.

This will draw a specific crowd to you because of your signature style.

This will reduce competition.

This will also limit your client base but don’t worry by the end of this business plan we will have a solid strategy to draw all kinds of clients.

STEP 2: Identifying Your Audience (Rich Or Poor)

The next step is to identify who you will be catering to. Do you want to start a daycare for low-income parents or rich parents?

You need to know this in advance because this will help you decide your daycare design, curriculum, marketing material, teacher dress code, and almost everything else revolving around your daycare.

I would recommend that you create a brand for elite and wealthy parents but accommodate mid and low-income families.

This strategy gives your daycare the best shot at growing fast. Everyone wants to be part of an elite institute.

I have a worksheet called 5X Customer Avatar. I make all my clients fill this.

When you fill this worksheet you will get an in-depth understanding of your clients and you will be able to create a daycare that appeals to them.

You can download it here:


STEP 3: Get A Store And Tools

Once you have your customer avatar ask yourself where do most of them live?

For example, if you find that most of your clients will be young professional you probably want to set up your business in downtown around the business district.

If you think it will be young artists then you want to set up your tattoo shop around the art district.

The interior of your store, the tools, should appeal to your clients.

If you cannot afford to rent your own space, find a tattoo shop in the area where your clients are and work there.

You will pay between 30-50% of your earning as rent to the shop owner but that is ok.

We will gradually build enough clientele so you can soon have your own space and not have to pay.

Once you have your own space, you can start charging other tattoo artists to work from your shop.


STEP 4: Build A Website, Social Media Pages And SEO

Use keywords that new clients type. And keywords that custom clients type for a specific style of tattooing and even tattoo designs

The next step is to find your competitors and look at their websites, social media and SEO strategy.

There are tools like Spyfu and Semrush that can help you find competitors who are doing good.

But if you are a beginner you are probably on a low budget.

You can do a little extra effort.

Start by going to Google Trends or Google Adwords Keyword Reseach tool.

Type a few different topics in your industry until you find a few keywords that are trending well on Google trend.

Here is an example:

I started my search by typing “get tattoo”.

I see the search is growing for this term.

This is good news.

This means I am in the right industry.

The demand to get tattoos is growing.

When you scroll down in the search results, you see a list of related queries.

These are the topics people are searching for lately.

You can take advantage of this topic and write articles and create videos.

Get them ranked on Google and now people will begin to find your website.

Make sure these articles somehow draw a bridge to getting a tattoo from you.

But I know that “get tattoo” is a very generic term.

People who want to get a tattoo are researching for tattoo shop or tattoo parlor or tattoo artist in their local area.

So my next search will be more specific.

I researched “get tattoo miami”, “tattoo shop miami”, “tattoo artist miami”, and “tattoo miami”.

Of all these keywords “tatto miami” had the best results so I know that this is the first keyword I need to rank for.

But I notice that all of these keywords were decent.

So I need to rank for all these keywords to get traffic.

This information will help us a lot to build a strong business as you will see shortly.

But first I want to search on Google Keyword Planner.

I type “miami tattoo”. Google suggests multiple keywords.

I sort the results by page bid cost.

This is because if people are spending a lot of money for some keyword it is because this keyword is making them money.

I am also looking for the level of competition.

Since tattoo artists are not big marketers it is hard to find strong competition.

This is good news.

Because if there is low or medium competition, it will cost us less to run ads and we can also rank easy for those keywords.

Now I can pick these keywords to rank for or run ads for.

Once I choose the keywords I like, I will type them in Google and find who ranks for these keywords.

Let’s say if I type “tattoo shops in south beach miami” in Google.

I see a list of tattoo shops listed in Google Places. This means I need to get listed high on Google Places.

I see that Yelp is the next listing so I need to get listed on Yelp as well.

And finally, I see that “Empire Ink Lifestyle” is the first competitor.

I can look at their website and create a website similar to them.

Whatever they are doing is working.

They are listed on top because Google knows that people are spending time on their website.

So I need to create a website similar to theirs.

Show images similar to theirs, use headlines similar to theirs just replace everything with your content.

Now you have a website proven to work for you.

Now you have a winner website, articles, videos, and images.

Make a little SEO effort to get ranked for these terms and you will begin to make money.

Step 5: Show Work + Use Money Making Hashtags

You do the same thing for Social Media.

You look for the social media of your competitors and see what kind of images they are posting and what type of ads they are running.

Here is an instagram account for a tattoo shop. They are big in Miami.

They get most of their business from Instagram.

They post a lot of photos to excite prospective customers. We will discuss this more later.

I would create Instagram just like theirs because it is proven to work:

You will create a social media account similar to theirs.

Meaning post images similar to them.

Post as frequently as they do.

This where you post your work or work from your crew member.

If you have a signature style show it as much as possible.

Don’t just show tattoos but show personality and lifestyle as well.

Show happy clients.

This is your advertising platform.

Show people what they can get by coming to you.

The most important step here is to use the right hashtags.

Research popular hashtags around tattoos and use them.

See what your competitors are using and use them.

If you are unsure there is a great site called hashtagify.

This site will help you identify popular and relevant hashtags around your industry.

Step 6: Run Ads To Get Sales For Clients + Apprentice

Now it’s time to start driving traffic and get some customers.

Start by advertising your social media and get more followers.

You know it very well that most people need to see your work and build some trust in you before they come to you.

This is why you have them follow your account and show them your work regularly.

The more they will see your work, the more they will want to come to you.

Next, you start running ads to your followers to get a tattoo.

There are several things you can offer in your ads to motivate them to take action:

1. Free Signature Killer Tattoo Design

2. Quiz: Which Celebrity Style Tattoo Will Work For You Or What Tattoo Is Right For You Etc.

3. Free Consultation To Discuss Tattoo Design Or Price.

4. Offer A Tattoo Slot. Say Something Like I Am Booked For Next 9 Months But Have An Opening Next Month. Write A Comment Or Post A Photo Or Share The Post And I Will Pick The Most Voted Post Or Random Winner For The Slot

5. Write Creative Headlines: Tattoos That Will Get Stand You Apart Or Tattoos That Will Make You Look Great When Naked Or Get Rid Of Your Ex Finally Or It’s Time To Move On

6. Run Ads To Make Them Join Your Facebook Group. Then Post Images And Invite For Tattoos Or Social Evenings At Your Studio.

Then retarget the visitors who visit your website but do not complete the booking.

Facebook™ has a great article that gives you additional ideas on tattoo ad campaigns. You can read it here: Facebook Ads For Tattoos

Create 2 different Ad Campaigns:

1. To get customers who want to get tattoos.

2. To get apprentices. You will charge them to train them and then have them work for you where you charge them a commission for every work they do under your umbrella.

You can either outsource your advertisement funnel or learn how to build a funnel and run an advertisement to get sales

I have a great course that teaches you how to build your own sales website, pages, and content and then how to create ads and drive traffic to get sales. You can get it here: https://bigmoneycourse.com

Step 7: Have A Strategy For Walk-Ins

A lot of your clients will be walk-ins.

These are people who had an impulsive desire to get a tattoo or they are traveling to your city and want a memory to take back.

You need to be prepared for the walk-ins.

Have your design book ready for them to look through designs.

Have a FAQ for the first-timers that gives them an idea on pricing, pain, risks, and etiquettes.

Display testimonials, health certificate and tattoos you have done in the past.

Have a nice sitting and design books for them to go through when they have to wait for you to finish tattooing your client.

Your job is to educate and make the walk-ins feel safe and confident in your ability to give them a good tattoo especially if this is their first tattoo.

Step 8: Go To tattoo Conventions And Network

Go to as many tattoo conventions as you can afford.

Conventions are a great place to learn from your peers what is working for them.

More importantly, you make connections and can send clients to each other.

Don’t just stick to tattoo conventions.

Find tattoo artists and shops on social media and google.

Reach out to them and create a connection. Appreciate their work and show them your work.

Discuss cross-promotion with them.

Step 9: Get Repeat Business

Getting repeat business is a big part of the tattoo business. Some tattoos can take up to 6 months and even longer to finish.

Many clients want to return because they like what you did for them.

As you know forming a strong bond during your session is a big part of your work.

But there are other things you can do to incentivize their return:

1. I am not a big fan of giving discounts but you can if you like. You can start a competition. Ask your clients to share their tattoos and tag you. The one who gets the most likes will get a free touch up or discount.

2. Ask your clients to post a review in exchange for limited FREE touch up. This will help you because their review will get you more business and once they get something for free they are more likely to visit again

3. Offer them a FREE custom design for their next tattoo

Step 10: Increase Revenue By Diversifying

The big limitation of tattoo business is that you can only earn as long as you work.

Tattooing is also taxing to your body. Many people develop back pain and carpal tunnel after doing tattoos for a long time.

This is why it is important to safeguard earning for life by diversifying your business.

Here are a few things you can do to ensure your income comes from other sources and not just tattooing:

1. Hire apprentice. Train them and charge them a commission when they start to get clients.

2. Start Tattoo Academy. Run a class on the side and make money by teaching people who want to learn to do tattoos.

3. Rent Space to other tattoo artists and charge them rent for space or even a cut of their earnings. It is common to charge between 30%-50% commission to artists who are using your space.

4. Turn your tattoo shop into gallery and event space. You can charge local artists to use your space to host events. You will make extra money, get a free promotion because they will advertise your location and even get new customers.

5.Sell local art from your location. Display work or local artists and charge commission when you get a sale.

6. Sell Tattoo Design. Most tattoo artists do not want to sell their designs unless they tattoo it themselves. This is an extra income source. Someone in China may like your designs or wants you to design something unique for them but cannot afford to fly to you in New York. Use this opportunity to make extra money. If your designs make it all over the world you will become a bigger celebrity which will allow you to increase your rates for tattoo and will get more business. This is in addition to the money you will make from selling designs.

7. If your designs are good to have on the body for life, they are good to have on clothing and other merchandise. I love the tattoo designs of my friend and tattoo artist Marta from Italy. Every time I look at her designs, I feel they should be turned into clothing, posters, shower curtains and mugs for people who are not ready for a tattoo but still want to enjoy your creativity.


Now you have a solid plan to make money by starting or growing your tattoo shop.

Hope this helps and wish you all the success!

-Magic Leone

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