July 21, 2021 5 min read

If you’re searching for a local tattooer, your search results have probably brought up several different options. Instagram has become a breeding ground for tattooers to feature their profiles. Still, they can also pay to boost their profile. This means that even newbies can make themselves look like seasoned pros. With new tattooers popping up everywhere, how do you know who to hire?

In this article, we’ll dive into a comprehensive guide on finding and contacting the right tattooer for your next piece of art! 

How to Find the Best Tattooer Around

What makes the right tattooer for one person can be entirely different for another. So, while your friends may tell you that they have the absolute best in the business, there are some things to consider before making an appointment. 

1. Start with Recommendations

The easiest and best place to start your search is to ask a friend or relative. But, if you are going to take their word, make sure you love their ink. Chances are, if you love the art on your friends and family’s skin, they’ll be ready and willing to share all the deets on their tattooer. While word of mouth is incredibly helpful in the tattoo world, you need to make sure you like what you see. 

2. Do an Online Search

There are three elements to consider when you search for your ideal tattooer. Before you start, use these three elements to filter your online search:

  • Location- While you want to narrow down your search by location, you should consider how far you’re willing to go, not just where you are. If you want the best tattoo, you shouldn’t simply settle for the closest option. While your local shops might have thousands of followers online, you need to make sure they are professionals in the type of tattoo you’re looking for. If not, keep searching. 
  • Content- Whether you know what you want or are looking for some inspiration, you need to narrow it down before picking a tattooer. That’s the best way to get the best results. Check Pinterest, Reddit, Tumblr, and Google images to get some design inspiration. Look at different styles. For example, do you want a realistic portrait or geometric blackwork. The best tattooers specialize in unique styles. That’s why you need to find exactly what you’re looking for before you pick. 
  • Budget- In general, the more popular the tattooer, the more expensive the work. You can get a good idea of how popular someone is by looking at their social media profiles. For example, an artist with a million followers won’t have the same rates as someone with a few hundred. Most tattooers don’t make their rates public. Still, cheap is never the way to go in the tattoo industry. If you want quality, clean work, you need to be willing to pay. 
  • 3. Check Online Reviews

    When you’re looking for a local tattooer, be sure to do your research and check out their online portfolio. Look at their reviews and examples of their work. Individual tattooers promote themselves online and work hard to maintain a positive reputation. Look for their personal website and social media profiles, but look for reviews on their shop as well. If you’re concerned for any reason about a potential option, you’ll be able to learn a lot from the comments and reviews left by previous clients. 

    4. Ask Questions

    Once you’ve decided on a potential tattooer, you should reach out and ask questions. Whether you’re looking for a small piece or a full sleeve, you need to gather the answers to all your questions. Larger pieces often take multiple sittings, so make sure they have availability in their schedule. You can typically schedule a consultation to make sure you’re comfortable with your choice. During your consultation, talk through your ideas and be open to their insight. Make sure you find someone whose personality matches yours and who you feel comfortable with. Getting a tattoo is a personal experience, so you want to pick someone you have complete confidence in before you book an appointment. 

    5. Check Out Their Shop

    Getting tattooed comes with its fair share of pain. Still, it can be an even more painful experience if you don’t feel comfortable. Before you hire someone, check out the vibe of the shop where they look. Look through the tattoo shop’s online reviews on Google, Yelp, Instagram, and Facebook. Stop by for a visit and make sure the shop’s interior is clean, sanitary, and well-maintained. Check out the cleanliness of their facility and make a note of any red flags. If you don’t feel comfortable, move on to explore your next option. 

    Golden Tips to Pick the Right Tattooer

    Now that you know how to narrow down your search, we’re going to leave you with some golden tips to help make sure you pick the best option for your needs! 

    • If you think a particular tattooer is a good option, follow them on Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and other social media outlets. Keep your eye on their work to make sure you’re picking the best option. 
    • Competitions, fairs, gatherings, events, and tours can also be a great place to get to know tattooers and check their portfolios. Conventions are also a popular place to get tattoos because you can meet the artists, browse their portfolio, and see other pieces they're working on in real-time. 
    • Tattoo shops employ a variety of tattooers with very different styles. While a local shop may be the best in your city, it doesn’t mean every tattooer in there is suitable for your project. That’s why it’s best to search by the tattooer, not the shop. 
    • Take your time! One of the biggest mistakes clients make is rushing the process. 
    • If you don’t have the budget for your top choice, consider new artists and apprentices. They might not have the following or an extensive portfolio, but they can still do great work. 
    • Remember, tattoos are permanent. Laser tattoo removal is expensive and incredibly painful. Before you sit in the chair, make sure you feel 100% confident in your choice. 

    While it might seem like finding the right tattooer takes a lot of time and effort, it’ll be worth it in the end. The more confident you are in your choice, the more likely you will get the beautiful piece of art you envisioned.  

    As always, all content has been written by CA Tattoo Supply, based on our 30-year experience in tattooing. If you have read this and feel we have left out any pertinent information, please add your personal experiences to the comment section below.