How much do tattoo parlors make? (And the most popular tattoo days of the year)

In this six-minute read:

  • How much do tattoo parlors make on a typical day?
  • Which days of the week are biggest for tattoo parlors
  • What time of year are tattoo parlors busiest?
  • What are the biggest days of the year for tattoo parlors?
  • How to get the most out of busy seasons if you own a tattoo parlor

Tattoos are hotter than ever, and tattoo parlors and artists are even popular subjects for reality TV shows recently. According to recent market research from IBISWorld, the tattoo artists industry in the U.S. is worth an estimated $1.8 billion dollars in annual revenue in 2020. And things aren’t slowing down, either. The industry has grown 5% per year over the past 5 years, and this aggressive growth is is expected to continue.

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National Tattoo Day was founded on July 17th, 2016, so it’s a relatively new holiday. As such, it hasn’t really started to (ahem) move the needle for local tattoo parlors. 

But we as we looked at the top days for tattoo parlors over the past couple of years, we saw some curious trends. So how does the growing tattoo trend actually impact local tattoo parlors? And if National Tattoo Day isn’t yet a top day of the year, when are the biggest days of the year for tattoo shop owners?

We analyzed credit card transaction data at local tattoo parlors from across the country to answer these questions and more.

How much do tattoo parlors make on an average day?

Like tattoos and the artists who create them, each tattoo parlor is unique, and revenue between shops can be quite disparate. 

Some shops specialize in very detailed, custom work which customers are willing to spend a great deal of time and money on. Others offer quicker, simpler, and thus more affordable solutions, but turn more transactions daily as a results.

With that being said, here’s the average day across all the tattoo parlors in our study.

average daily revenue for tattoo parlors chart

With just 5 transactions in a typical day, tattoo parlors see much less foot traffic than many other types of businesses we’ve analyzed in previous studies. 

But with an average ticket price (per transaction) of well over $100, the average tattoo shop brings in $638 in revenue on a typical day.

Remember, these numbers can and do vary wildly from one tattoo shop to another. As an example, the priciest parlor in our analysis had an average ticket of $277 per transaction. The tattoo parlor with the lowest average ticket price in our analysis earned just $50 per transaction (still a higher transaction figure than is typical in many local industries). 

However, “per transaction price” only shows one aspect of this diverse business. For example, the busiest tattoo parlor we analyzed averaged a respectable 13 transactions each day, while some of the slower shops averaged just 2 per day.

Which days of the week do tattoo parlors make the most money?

The chart above shows us an average day, so next let’s look at an average week at local tattoo parlors across the country.

average weekly revenue for tattoo parlors chart

As you might expect, customers tend to wait for the end of the work week to get a tattoo. 44% of revenue brought in across all the tattoo parlors in our study came in on Fridays and Saturdays alone.

Note: Many of the tattoo parlors in our study are closed on Sundays (on average 58% were closed) and Mondays (on average 44% were closed), which contributes to these days coming in as the slowest days of the week by far.

The right half of the graphic shows us the average number of transactions and average ticket price at open tattoo parlors for each particular day of the week. As you can see by the green line, the average purchase price remains fairly consistent throughout the week, but foot traffic increases significantly on Fridays and Saturdays.

What time of year is biggest for tattoo parlors?

Next, we examined total revenue for each week of the past year to see which times of the year represent the “busy season” for America’s tattoo parlors.

busiest times of the year for tattoo parlors chart

As you can see in the chart above, revenue climbs quickly in February and remains high throughout the early spring. Things then remain fairly consistent throughout the summer before declining as cooler weather sets in during September and October. There are small spikes in mid-November and during the holidays, but overall this time of year falls well short of springtime and summertime highs.

Spring is a logical time of year for peak sales at tattoo parlors, with customers eager to get their new ink settled before things warm up and people start showing more skin. 

Upon closer examination, it seems clear that many of the busiest weeks of the year are at least partially due to spring break season for colleges and universities across the United States. “Get a tattoo” appears to be on the spring break agenda—or is a spontaneous spring-break decision—for hundreds of thousands of young people across the country.

As you can see, tattoo shop revenue first spikes in February, which is well before most colleges let out for spring break. Interestingly, this spike coincides with the beginning of Lent (the later weeks of which also happen to coincide with spring break).

It just might be the case that tattoo shops enjoy top sales during these weeks thanks to a combination of those looking to permanently manifest their religious devotion through tattoos, as well as young college students who want to express their independence and individuality.

What are the biggest days of the year for tattoo parlors?

While the chart above showed us the biggest weeks of the year, we wanted to look at which were the single-biggest days of the year for tattoo parlors across the country, by total revenue as well as by number of transactions. Let’s look at top-revenue days first.

top 5 revenue days for tattoo shops chart

Spring is huge generally, as we already noted, and Fridays and Saturdays are always the top days of the week anyway, so you might expect that Fridays and Saturdays in springtime would create a perfect storm of revenue for tattoo parlors.

Our numbers bear this out, with three of the top 5 moneymaking days for tattoo parlors falling on Fridays and Saturdays in March and April. 

As far as which are the busiest days of the year overall, the numbers shake out a little differently. 

top transaction days of the year for tattoo shops chart

We enjoyed two Friday the 13ths last year, and since many tattoo parlors (and tattoo enthusiasts) participate in special promotions to exploit this fun superstition, Friday, September 13th and Friday, December 13th came in as the top two days of the year as far as total number of transactions, with Friday, September 13 generating a whopping 194% more transactions than a typical day.

Saturday, April 20 (4/20) came in third, which may not be surprising for those “in the know” about National Weed Day, when many people chose to immortalize their undying love of the ganja with some fresh ink.

Saturday, March 9 was not only smack dab in the middle of the spring break crush but was also the first Saturday after the beginning of Lent last year, so that may have contributed to its number-one placement in our study as far as daily revenue, as well as its top-5 finish on our list of top transaction days.

How to get the most out of the busiest days of the year if you own a tattoo parlor

Do you own your own tattoo parlor? If so, do you see springtime or some of the days above drive big business to your shop?

It’s clear that for many tattoo parlors, certain times of year and some special days spur new customers into your doors.

If you’re a tattoo parlor, take advantage of the numerous free advertising options for local businesses out there to get the word out about your parlor being the place to go during spring break, on Veteran’s Day, or any other special time of year you think might have people thinking about getting a new tattoo.

Check out our post on 4 crucial steps to building an effective small business marketing plan for even more ideas and suggestions.

Finally, if you truly want to get the most out of big days that drive extra customers to your business, you’ll want to make sure you have a way to capture customer information to bring those clients back in your door when things start to slow down again.

Check out how Womply’s email marketing software can help you build customer loyalty without lifting a finger. Sign up for a free demo below to see how Womply has helped businesses like yours increase revenue by 20%, see 22% more repeat customers, and save 10 hours of work per week.

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