How to Set Up a Tattoo Shop

Written by maude coffey
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Setting up a new tattoo shop requires specific understanding of the business. Tattoo shops have regulations that need to be followed and inspections that have to be conducted before the doors can open. A professional tattoo artist can open and set up a tattoo shop once several factors are determined, such as where the tattoo shop is going to be and how much money will be put into the new business.

Skill level:

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Things you need

  • Business plan
  • Tattoo experience

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  1. 1

    Find a location for the tattoo shop that has ample parking and is located next to other businesses, such as bars, restaurants, art galleries or boutiques. A location that is close to a college can also be beneficial for foot traffic.

  2. 2

    Determine if the location is affordable, based on your business plan. Calculate how much income will need to be generated each month by you and other tattoo artists working in the shop to pay the rent and utilities. Consider other costs of the tattoo shop such as licensing and supplies.

  3. 3

    Talk to the city's zoning and planning board and present the plan for the location. Tattoo shops need a considerable amount of plumbing work before opening---for hand washing sinks in each station, a biohazard sink, and a public bathroom---and permits will be needed before this work on the location begins.

  4. 4

    Read the lease for the tattoo shop location thoroughly. Insure that the lease is for a commercial property, and discuss with the owner any changes you will be making to the property. Painting may be necessary, along with adding a swinging door that does not require hands to open it for a sterilisation room. Sign the lease when comfortable with the agreement.

  5. 5

    Contact the board of health to learn what the state requires for tattoo shops. The regulations vary from state to state. For example, in some states a 3-foot wall is mandatory in between each tattoo station. Set up an appointment for an inspection once the regulations have all been met in your location.

  6. 6

    Order equipment and supplies needed for the tattoo shop. Buy in bulk to save money. Purchase gloves, inks and needles from a wholesale tattoo supplier. Find autoclaves and ultrasonics from a wholesale medical supply company.

  7. 7

    Plan a day for the grand opening of the tattoo shop. Advertise a month in advance by posting flyers, handing out business cards and introducing yourself to other business owners around your location. Use your best artwork on the flyers and business cards to entice new clients to come visit.

Tips and warnings

  • Call the utility companies that are used for the location and ask for estimated monthly charges to help factor those costs in to your monthly budget.
  • Hire a lawyer for drawing up legal documents, such as release forms.
  • Hire an accountant to insure that your yearly taxes are organised and submitted.

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