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How to Start a Tattoo Studio

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by Startacus Admin

tattoo 2How to Start a Tattoo Studio...continued

Clinical/Hazardous Waste
- Some of the byproducts of the tattooing process are classified as clinical waste and as such there are legal regulations governing its disposal. Some of the waste under this classification will include used needles, disposable gloves, spatulas, dressings and antiseptic wipes. These items must be removed by a registered, authorised waste carrier. You should contact your local environmental health department for more information. You and your staff will be handleing hazardous material on a day-to day basis and therefore it is important that you familiarise yourself with the Control of Substances Hazardous to Health (COSHH) Regulations.

Licensing- The licence required to practise as a tattoo artist is known as a ‘tattoo, piercing and electrolysis’ license and will permit you to carry out tattooing, semi-permanent skin colouring, cosmetic piercing, electrolysis and acupuncture. The rules and regulations governing the level of experience you need to open a tattoo parlour vary from council to council. Some local authorities require that you are a fully qualified tattoo artist and others do not require any experience (provided that you do not carry out any of the activities yourself) so be sure to check with your local council for all the information you will need.


Have a little think about some of the following:

  • Do you have a marketing strategy? Is there anyone that could help you with putting one together?
  • Do you have any contacts within the industry who would be able to provide you with some impartial advice?
  • How will you market the tattoo parlour? Press releases, a launch event, a local paper? Is the story of you setting up the parlour inspiring or unique? This could add a level of intrigue to your story and encourage publications to feature it.
  • In what ways can you use social media to help promote the business? Will you have active Facebook and Twitter accounts and who will maintain them for you? Are there any sites dedicated to people with an interest in body art?
  • Tattoos are a very visual medium, how do you plan to capitalise on the aesthetic appeal of your work? Where online would be an appropriate place to feature these images?
  • Do you plan on introducing a loyalty scheme to encourage repeat business?
  • Will you implement a mailing system to encourage customers to return?
  • How do your competitors market themselves? How will you make your parlour stand out from theirs?


We know… this isn’t exactly the most engaging of topics but even an exciting business venture like a tattoo parlour is entirely dependent upon your ability to get your head around the figures… and the sooner the better. The finances for a tattoo parlour will work in much the same way as they do for any business, and therefore you should begin to think about some of the following.

  • Do you have a general idea of how much money you will need to set up the tattoo studio? Have you considered applying for a start-up loan or a grant?
  • If you plan to run any aspect of your business from home, are there any renovations which will need to be carried out?
  • Do you know what your monthly overheads will be? Remember to factor in all costs associated with the business including: rent, salaries, electricity, advertising, council tax, purchasing equipment, maintaining equipment, disposal of clinical and hazardous waste etc.
  • Will you be giving yourself a guaranteed salary each month? Or will you be taking a salary only if and when you can afford it?
  • Your premises will almost certainly need some renovation work, particularly if it has never been used as a tattoo parlour before, in which case changed to the plumbing may be necessary to deal with clinical material. Do you know how much such renovations will cost.
  • How much money will you need to bring in, in order to break-even or make a profit? Do you have a contingency plan in place in case you miss your target?
  • Tattoo parlours require a large amount of initial investment to purchase equipment and so forth, do you have the money to make these initial purchases?
  • Do you plan on managing the business finances yourself or will you be using an accountant? How much will this service cost?
  • Will there be any insurance costs to consider?

Phew! Well we did say that setting up a tattoo studio is more complicated than you might think! Hopefully you have found this guide useful, but if you reckon that all that red tape is a bit too much to take then why not check out some of these other guides:

How to start a pharmacy
How to start a sweetshop
How to start a B & B

information provided correct at time of publication but please do check current legislation as rules and regulations do change. 

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Published on: 18th February 2014

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