You’ve finally decided to commit to getting a tattoo. You might even have a clue about what kind of tattoo you want. Now you have to decide where to get a tattoo. How do you choose a tattoo shop, especially in a city with a LOT of tattoo shops? It’s a hard decision to make, so we’re going to give you some things to think about when considering where to get a tattoo.
Top 3 Things to Consider When Choosing a Tattoo Shop
There are a few things you’ll want to consider when choosing your tattoo shop. Some of it may not occur to someone who hasn’t been through the experience before, but it’s all common sense. The kind of thing that, once you read it, you’ll say “Well… yeah. That’s obvious.” Only it wasn’t. Hopefully this list will help out all the first-timers out there.
Who do you trust?
Trust is a key factor in choosing a tattoo shop. Do any of your friends have tattoos? Ask them who they’d recommend. If not, ask friends or other people where they got theirs and whether they liked the experience. It’s good to walk into a tattoo shop and feel confident that you’ll get what you want out of the deal. Recommendations and reviews can help you achieve that confidence in your choice of tattoo shop (and the same applies for the artist).
Is it clean?
This is rarely a concern anymore and I personally have not been to a tattoo shop in Richmond that was not clean. That being said, there’s so many tattoo shops in the city that odds are good that there’s at least one not-so-clean tattoo parlor out there. A clean shop says a lot about the people who work there, not the least of which is their concern for sanitary working conditions and the health and safety of their customers. Shop owners who keep their place clean and looking professional clearly take pride in their work. These are the shops that you want to work with. When deciding where to get a tattoo, cleanliness should be at the top of your list.
It’s also a good idea to keep an eye on the artist’s use of gloves. If they touch something other than you or the equipment while tattooing, they should change gloves. It’s just good hygiene. Also, be sure that all equipment to be used comes from sealed packaging. The tattoo “gun” and the needles especially. Some shops have more private tattooing areas, so you may not get to see this until the last minute. If that’s the case, don’t be afraid to ask. It’s also a really good idea to make sure that artists in the shop all have certificates showing they’ve completed a training course on blood-borne pathogens (first aid training is a bonus and many artists have that, too).
Is it licensed?
Licensing requirements vary from one place to another, but most high-quality tattoo shops hold a license of some kind. Don’t be afraid to ask about it. In order to obtain such a license most states require that owners, operators, and artists have specific training (almost always blood-borne pathogen training). Many states also require tattoo shops to own and use an autoclave, a device used for sterilization. When deciding where to get a tattoo, this is an important consideration.
Deciding where to get a tattoo
Generally speaking, these are good guidelines for finding a safe and respectable tattoo shop. Of course, it’s recommended that you trust you instincts as well. If you don’t like the vibe you’re getting from a shop or the people who work there, then find a different shop. It’s important that you be comfortable with where you get your tattoo as well as the artist.
You can read more tips for deciding where to get a tattoo and what to look for using this helpful list. You can also read our tips for choosing the right tattoo artist.