Wondering how to start a tattoo parlor? We take you step-by-step from start to success.
Outlook for Tattoo Entrepreneurs
It's no secret that tattooing is on the rise in the U.S. and around the world. But how popular have tattoos become? In 1936, it was estimated that approximately 6% of the U.S. population had at least one tattoo. Twenty-first century estimates indicate that approximately 15% of Americans are tattooed with estimates for the 26-40 year old demographic skyrocketing to 40%.
These numbers demonstrate that business is booming for many tattoo parlors. But the popularity of tattoos doesn't necessarily translate into a slam-dunk for emerging tattoo entrepreneurs. In fact, it could mean just the opposite since the market is currently flooded with tattoo providers.
To compete in today's tattoo industry, your startup needs to be characterized by a combination of artistic talent and savvy business skills. From an entrepreneurial standpoint, skilled tattoo artists have to become genuine business leaders. Conversely, proven entrepreneurs can't succeed in the current marketplace unless their startups deliver tattoos of the highest quality.
Bottom Line Essentials for Tattoo Parlor Startups
Successful tattoo parlor startups come in all shapes and sizes. But to position your startup for growth and profitability, there are a few essentials you can't live without.
- Good Location. There's a reason why business owners make such a big deal about location. The right location will deliver traffic while a remote, hidden location will quickly put talented tattoo artists out of work. Ideally, you want a highly visible, yet affordable leased space in an area that is trafficked by 18 to 40 year-olds. If necessary, you can phase into a full-time parlor with a home-based tattoo business – provided you move to a much better location ASAP.
- Talent. It's helpful if the business owner is also a tattooist. By leveraging your own tattoo skills, you'll reduce costs and eliminate the risk of employees who don't show up for their shifts. The downside is that you'll be on the hook for doing everything in the business. So as your business grows, you'll want to hire employees who share your artistic and business sensibilities, and are willing to work on a contracted basis.
- Reliable Equipment. Ramshackle furnishings, broken equipment and inferior inks are no way to run a tattoo parlor. To generate positive buzz and word of mouth advertising, you'll need to launch a fully capitalized operation. If it means delaying the launch for six months or more so you can raise enough startup funds, you will be farther ahead in the long run because the odds of success will increase dramatically.
Business Plans 101 for Tattoo Parlor Startups
Startup entrepreneurs slave over the creation of their business plans, investing countless hours in the details of their startup strategy. But have you included any material about your industry?
Industry analyses are standard chapters in tattoo parlor business plans and are often required by lenders or investors. Industry analyses are critical for contextualizing your startup within an industry setting.
Although it sounds complicated, most entrepreneurs can create an effective industry analysis section by simply steering clear of common industry analysis mistakes.
Prior to launching a tattoo parlor in your area, it's worthwhile to see how you will fit in the competitive landscape. Try our link below to get a list of local competitors near you. Just enter your city, state and zip code to get a list of tattoo parlors in your community.
Before you open up shop, make sure you know what you will offer to your customers that provides a significant advantage over your competition's offering.
Learning More About the Industry
If you are interested in starting a tattoo parlor, it's a wise move to learn as much as you can from somebody who is already in the business. It's very unlikely that the local competition will talk to you. What's in it for them?
However, a fellow entrepreneur who has started a tattoo parlor in a different city will be much more likely to talk with you, as long as they don't view you as a competitive threat. Indeed, many experienced entrepreneurs enjoy offering advice to startup entrepreneurs. In my experience, you may have to call ten business owners in order to find one who is willing to share his wisdom with you.
Where can an aspiring entrepreneur like you find a tattoo parlor manager who is willing to talk to you but doesn't live nearby?
Simply, try our helpful link below, type in a random city/state or zipcode, and start calling.
Gaining Access to Tattoo Parlor Ownership
Common sense will tell you that to enter the world of tattoo parlor, you'll either need to start a new business or acquire a promising company on the business-for-sale marketplace. There are a lot of benefits of buying a tattoo parlor.
If you're on the fence consider this: There has never been a better time to acquire a tattoo parlor. The down economy has resulted in a glut of available businesses, many of which can be acquired for bargain prices.
Is Franchising the Right Option?
The chances of surviving in business are substantially improved if you go the franchising route and leverage their successful brand and track record.
Prior to starting a tattoo parlor, you ought to check out whether buying a franchise could make it easy to get started.
The link below gives you access to our franchise directory so you can see if there's a franchise opportunity for you. You might even find something that points you in a completely different direction.
These additional resources regarding starting a business may be of interest to you.
If you already are in business and came here to learn about growing an existing tattoo parlor, these resources will come in handy:
If you came here to learn about selling to tattoo parlors, you're in the wrong place. Try these resources instead:
If you are interested in starting a different kind of business, please browse our directory of guides below.