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Video:How to Open a Tattoo Shop

with Jonathan Stewart

Tattoo shops are unique places of business, that require financial planning, organization, and a creative backbone. If you would like to open a tattoo shop, learn more about what it takes to run a successful place.See Transcript

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Transcript:How to Open a Tattoo Shop

If you enjoy tattooing and know you are good at what you do, your next step just may be to go from working for someone else to opening your own shop. But before you make the leap, you need to know how to start up this type of business as well as understand what goes into making it successful.

Research Tattoo Shop Locations

Your first step is to do your research. Find out what types of locations work best in your area for attracting foot traffic. Being located where people feel comfortable coming to your shop is essential. Be sure to check on the cost of rent and also price out other key expenses like equipment, permits and licenses, and other overhead costs like whether or not you intend to have other employees and need to cover a salary, worker’s compensation, taxes and insurance.

Do your best to draw up a business plan that includes all of this information, and consider having a CPA or business manager review and make changes where appropriate.

Learn from Other Tattoo Shop Owners

Don’t be afraid to ask others who already have tattoo shops about their own experiences in starting up – sometime this can be the best advice out there. You can learn from their mistakes and not have to waste time or money reinventing the proverbial wheel.

Get Your Finances in Order

If you’ve built up any kind of nest egg, this can be really helpful in covering the seemingly endless list of start up expenses. However, if you don’t have any money to get going, you might consider applying for a business loan or a grant from the Small Business Administration. This is where that business plan is very important as it will illustrate that you understand how you plan to run a profitable business.

While getting loans and financing can be difficult, you might also consider some new ways of getting money for your business, including crowd funding sources that can help get you going.Once you have your funding in place, it’s time to put your business plan into action. Be sure to get your permit and license applications submitted, as well as a few other foundational elements necessary for running your business.

Some important action items might involve setting up your computer and accounting system to keep detailed records, as well as purchasing or renting equipment. Bear in mind that you don’t necessarily have to buy all new equipment. Instead, check auctions and online trading posts for quality second-hand equipment. Create separate work spaces for each tattoo artist that you may decide to bring in as well a waiting area and counter space for transactions.

Create a Tattoo Portfolio

You’ll also want to create a tattoo portfolio of your best designs, which should include the work of any other artists on your staff. Just know it’s probably best to start small and get established before bringing in too many other people. When you do, make sure that they are set up as subcontractors rather than employees to keep your payroll costs low.

Market Your Tattoo Shop

Next it’s time to think kick in your marketing plan and get bodies into your shop. Be sure to advertise a grand opening that might feature food and entertainment. You can do this with through your website and social media announcements as well as use local flyers, newspapers, and radio stations to get the word out. From there, the goal is to grow your customer base through word-of-mouth and various promotions as you go.

Tattoo Shops are Small Business

While you might create great tattoo designs and art, it’s important to really consider the business side of opening your own shop – the long hours of pouring through paperwork and managing other people you work with isn’t for everyone, and often takes away from the amount of time you’re actually able to work as an artist. But for those that have that entrepreneurial spark, it might just be the right move for you.I'm Jonathon Stewart, with About.com.

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