Opening a Tattoo Shop From the Ground Up

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opening a tattoo shop in Australia

Over the last few years, the number of people getting tattoos has been growing, which has seen the rise of many tattoo parlors. Most people view tattoos as a fashion statement or a form of art, and every day there are new and unique designs coming up. Despite all, it takes more than being a talented artist to open and run a tattoo business. Discussed below are some tips on opening a tattoo shop in Australia.

Plan Your Business

Like any other business, before opening a tattoo shop in Australia, you will first need a good plan for it to be successful. If you were working in a tattoo shop before branching out, you probably have an idea of the startup and ongoing costs. This includes things like costs of the workspace, equipment, and the ongoing cost. Some of the things your tattoo shop will need to have include:

  • Tattoo equipment
  • Massage tables
  • A sign
  • Art on the walls
  • Portfolio
  • Cabinets for inventory

It would be best if you also planned for who your target market is. While some tattoo artists will accept walk-ins and do custom jobs, other artists have set up a brand for themselves and can easily turn down a job that does not represent that. Once you know where you stand, it is easy to determine your target market. You should also consider what to name your business. Pick a good name that makes you stand out in the competition and creates a good impression when one hears it. Always avoid words that are hard to pronounce or remember.

Location is Key

When opening a tattoo shop in Australia, it is usually beneficial to be located in a high-traffic area. While rental costs are probably high, the walk-in traffic is likely to generate the income to cover those costs. Also, a poor location is likely to cost you considerably even before your shop can stand on its feet. A retail center like a mall is an excellent choice due to the high foot traffic. Another good choice is a flea market. The traffic is tremendous and people visiting flea markets want to spend money. There are tattoo artists who opt to set up shop in their homes. It comes with huge convenience, and it is ideal for anyone who wants to establish a clientele base and build on their portfolio. Most people between the ages of 18 and 29 have a tattoo. This means that a location near a college is also likely to attract a lot of clients. When looking for a site, consider business security as wee. You do not want a place where there will be a break every now and then. And if clients feel a location is not safe, they will not come to your shop.

Once you have found a location, you may have to renovate the building to suit the needs of a tattoo studio. That is unless you are building the shop from the ground. Before you start any renovations, you have to check in with the rental property managment and get written permission to make modifications. Some of those changes include adding electrical outlets, hand washing stations, and getting water heater installation services. It is also good to invest in non-porous floors as they are resistant to tears and rips.

Get Permits and Licenses

Even being a talented tattoo artist, you will still be required to get the necessary permits before opening a tattoo shop in Australia. Failure to do so can lead to heavy penalties or closure of business. Start with a business license. This not only shows your business is legal, but no one is willing to get a tattoo from an unlicensed artist. You will also need a certificate of occupancy (CO) to show the building you are operating in has met all the required standards and is safe for occupancy. If you are leasing, your landlord is responsible for getting the CO, and you need to ensure they have it before you rent the place. Also, if any renovations are done to meet the needs of a tattoo studio, check with the property management about obtaining a new CO. On the other hand, if you have a location and you are building, the responsibility of getting a CO is on you.

Another document you will need is a tattoo consent and release form that reduces legal liabilities regarding any art imposed on a client’s body. The document encourages transparency, and you can get a lawyer to help you draft such a form. There are tattoo artists who choose to copyright specific designs. While this is not necessarily a requirement, you will need to register for a fee if you plan to do so.

Get Insurance

You will need business insurance as a law requirement to protect yourself and your business against certain risks when opening a tattoo shop in Australia. There are several types of insurance including:

  • Public Liability Insurance- If a third party is injured or their property is damaged while at your tattoo shop, this type of coverage helps compensate them. Even in cases where you are not at fault, you may have to pay legal fees to defend yourself. Public liability will help cover those fees.
  • Tattoo Artist Liability Insurance- This is like professional liability insurance. It protects you when you make a mistake as you ink a client. The liability may extend to mistakes that injure a customer as well. While making a mistake is possible, some customers get upset and sue you. This coverage will take care of legal fees and compensate customers with a certain amount of money.
  • Property Insurance- This type of insurance will compensate you for the loss of your equipment, including tattoo guns, tables, body jewelry, and any other decor. The losses covered include those caused by vandalism, theft, fire, or severe weather.
  • Workers Compensation Insurance- If you have hired other artists to assist with the shop’s running, you need to get this type of insurance. It will help cover any losses that your workers get when working for you.
  • Building Insurance- This is for anyone who has built their own shop to operate the business rather than renting. This type of insurance protects you against risks like fire damage.

When getting insurance, it is best to get a quote from different insurance companies and compare who has the best prices that will not dent your wallet.

Get the Necessary Equipment

When opening a tattoo shop in Australia, you will need to ensure you are fully stocked with supplies, equipment, and materials. To start, you need a quality tattoo machine and several needles. For things like disposable needles, they will need replacing every now and often. Next, you will need tubes and ink for the machines and essential tools like shaving supplies for the customers. Other tools you need include paper towels, latex gloves, plastic spray bottles, and sanitizing equipment. For artists open to the idea of letting clients customize their designs, they need quality computer software and maybe a printer. You will also need an office to take care of the monetary part of the business. That means you need office equipment like business phone systems and a comfortable desk and chair. You will also need a relaxed reception and waiting area for customers.

Create a Conducive Environment

Even as you think of opening a tattoo shop in Australia, one of the critical things to consider is the atmosphere you will create for your clients. You have already set up shop, and customers are already coming in. But how exactly do you plan to make them stay? Put yourself in the position of a client and see whether you are offering an authentic experience. Something as simple as the paint you choose for the walls will go a long way to making customers feel comfortable. For instance, a color like dark gray-blue is calming. You can choose one wall and display your portfolio so that customers can browse what you have to offer. In the reception area, put current tattoo magazines for the people waiting in line.

Most tattoo artists play music as it helps them concentrate on their art. If this is something you do, choose music that will not annoy the customers. The shop also needs to be at a comfortable temperature. If you have not installed an HVAC system, contact an air conditioning contractor to come and install one for you. Also, make a habit of scheduling maintenance checks for the unit once in a while.

Maintain Proper Hygiene

When opening a tattoo shop in Australia, remember that hygiene is paramount. You will be conducting invasive procedures that demand a high level of sanitation. It will also help make customers feel more comfortable when they see your shop is clean. Having a copy of a health inspection report will increase the customers’ confidence in you. The area where you are offering inking services should be separate from other areas. Your staff members should neither eat nor smoke there, especially when customers are undergoing a service. Any reusable tattoo tubes have to be cleaned and sterilized after every single use. When you are done with a tattoo tube, seal it in a sterile package and when you open it, do it in front of a customer. Use the ink specifically made for tattooing and after every cline, change the cloth or plastic barrier.

Once you have received a client, some of the things you need to do include;

  • Washing your hands thoroughly with clean water and soap
  • Use disposable ink caps. Do not put needles directly into the ink bottles
  • For every client, use new ink-caps
  • Wear clean clothes
  • If you stop doing something in the middle of a service, either change the gloves or use hand sanitizer.
  • Wear new disposable gloves for every client
  • Use a clean wooden stick when taking gel out of containers
  • When disposing of needles, you will need biohazard containers that are resistant to punctures.

With a clean tattoo shop, clients will not only be comfortable, but they are likely to recommend you to other people as well.

Create Some Hype for Your Studio

When opening a tattoo shop in Australia, you need to create some hype about 30 to 60 days before opening your doors. The sooner word gets around, the better. One of the ways to spread information is through word of mouth. You can also opt for paid advertising on social media or radio and print flyers. Once you start receiving customers, how do you plan to make them stay? The most significant factor is the quality of your work. If you have hired a couple of artists to help you run the shop, ensure they are experienced with excellent skills. Be patient with customers even when they are not sure what they want. There may be a few trends going on in your area, but you may also want to stand out by mastering a particular style that other artists in your area are not doing. Before customers leave, talk to them about rating you online and recommending you to their friends. Custom tee shirts can also be used as a marketing strategy. Print your brand logo on t-shirts and let your employees wear them and also give some to customers. Whatever you print should be bold enough and explain what your business is all about.

Keep Learning

After opening a tattoo shop in Australia, you have to continue learning and staying updated with the latest trends in the industry. To keep attracting new clients and compete effectively in the industry, stay updated on the newest equipment, techniques, and trends. There are usually events related to tattooing that you can attend and meet other artists who can offer new insights.

When opening a tattoo shop in Australia, know your strengths and weaknesses, and be ready to tell clients no when they show you a design you cannot do. When you are not busy, you can spend time coming up with new designs to add to your portfolio. With good planning and practice, your tattoo shop will be the talk of the town.

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