How to start your own tattoo business at home

After years of honing their skills as an apprentice to perfect their craft, tattooists often feel driven to open their own tattoo venture from their home. A popular form of self-expression that is less taboo than in the past, more adults are seeking permanent body art than ever before. Becoming a small business owner working from home is easier said than done, especially when it comes to opening a home-based tattoo business. More than just having the ability to draw well, tattoo business owners must be business minded and health conscious.

Check with the city planner to make sure you can conduct a tattoo business from your home. If you do not own a home, but plan to by the time you have a tattoo license, make sure it is an area of the city zoned for residential and commercial establishments such as yours.

Get trained. It takes several years of training and apprenticeships to become a tattoo artist. If you do not have any training, a good place to start is with art courses and tattooing classes from a local community college or cosmetology school. During your training, practice drawing regularly so you can improve your skills and create a portfolio. Additionally, attend tattoo expos and conventions so you can learn more about the trade and become with tattoo artists in your area.

Become an apprentice. Once you have a good, consistent artistic skills set, seek an apprenticeship with a reputable tattooist who is willing to take you under his wing. This person will become your mentor and the person who teaches you about how to use different machines in the shop, how to sterilise tattooing equipment properly and how to perfect your technique. When choosing a mentor, keep in mind that this person should be up to date with current tattoo laws, techniques and safety and business practices.

Get licensed. After completing the courses and apprentice hours required by your state, obtain a tattoo artists license so you can legally tattoo others. You will also need to obtain business licenses from your jurisdiction's secretary of state. Check with your country health department to see if it needs to do any inspections before your grand opening.

Purchase and prepare your business and tattooing equipment. When you start a tattoo business, the things you will need include sterilisation equipment, a tattoo machine and needles, disinfectants, medical gloves, gauze, medical tape, pigments and dyes, a chair and table for clients to sit or lay on, transfer paper and a photocopier for the times when a client brings in her own tattoo design. You will also need to have paperwork prepared with important information regarding tattoos for your future clients and release forms.

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About the Author

Flora Richards-Gustafson has been writing professionally since 2003. She creates copy for websites, marketing materials and printed publications. Richards-Gustafson specializes in SEO and writing about small-business strategies, health and beauty, interior design, emergency preparedness and education. Richards-Gustafson received a Bachelor of Arts from George Fox University in 2003 and was recognized by Cambridge's "Who's Who" in 2009 as a leading woman entrepreneur.