Dealing with Unhappy Tattoo Clients

In the tattoo business, it’s true that you’ll occasionally be dealing with unhappy clients every now and then. While most tattoo experiences will (hopefully) end with a satisfied client, other people are bound to feel unhappy about their tattoos no matter what you try to do. Even when they are completed by an experienced tattoo artist and to their own specifications, there’s a chance they’ll hate the finished product. Maybe your client had unrealistic expectations or maybe they changed their mind about the tattoo later on but whatever the reason for their dissatisfaction, it’s often in your best interest to try to make things right.

Tips for Dealing with Your Unhappy Tattoo Clients

Establish a Clear Set of Guidelines

Tired of dealing with clients that like to complain or have totally unrealistic expectations? Try setting a few guidelines surrounding your work that you simply will not budge on. This is a good way to weed out clients that are more likely to cause problems for you and possibly give you bad reviews, or worse threaten you with a liability claim! Some possible guidelines —or rules— you could use include:

  • Clients must be 18 years of age or older to get a tattoo. Tattooing teenagers, even with their parent’s permission, comes with its own set of risks. So protect yourself and your clients with a reasonable age restriction.
  • Clients should have eaten within 4 hours of their tattoo session and should NOT consume any alcohol within the same day of getting a tattoo.
  • Clients must be realistic with their expectations. If a client is unsure of their tattoo choice, placement or the possibility of pain, it’s much harder for artists to do their job properly!
  • No cell phones allowed. Just like when you’re at the DMV, if a client is talking or texting on their phone it’s a big distraction and can be really annoying too.

Encourage Walk-in Clients to Sleep On It

While many shops have 1 or 2 designated “walk-in” artists, it is hard to please someone who simply walks up to the counter, points at a drawing and then blindly trusts the person they’ve just met to meet all of their expectations perfectly. If this is someone’s first tattoo, encourage them to sleep on it and come back tomorrow if they still want a random design they picked out.

Dealing with Unhappy Tattoo Clients

Get Serious About Aftercare Education

For whatever reason, when some people get info on tattoo aftercare, it goes in one ear and out the other. So be “that person” and do your best to be super serious about aftercare with each of your clients before, during and after their session. Make sure they take an aftercare sheet with them and that they have access to the shop’s contact information too.

Provide Additional Options

Sometimes a client may be unhappy with a certain aspect of their cosmetic tattoo that can easily be fixed. So if possible, try offering them a few different options for fixing the work. Whether that means going over some detail work, adding a new element or more shading —if you can make them happy and avoid the need to revisit your tattoo insurance policy, it’s totally worth it.

Protect Your Business from Unhappy Clients

While the occasional unflinchingly angry client is unavoidable, there’s usually a good chance that you can make most people happy with a few expert tricks. Stop bad tattoo experiences in their tracks by trying the following steps:

  • Create a list of guidelines for working with you.
  • Encourage walk-ins and unsure clients to “sleep on it.”
  • Get serious about aftercare education.
  • Do what you can to fix the problem with additional work or similar options.

Get Comprehensive Tattoo Shop Insurance!

Want to learn more about our comprehensive tattoo insurance policies? Call 800-763-4775 or visit the team at Marine Agency Insurance online today to get a quote!

Contact Us


    34 W Main Street #201
    Somerville NJ 08876

    Local: 973-763-4711

    Toll-Free: 84-INSURE-NJ (844-678-7365)

    Toll-Free: 800-35-MARINE (800-356-2746)

    Northern Delaware

    1218 Pulaski Hwy, Ste 490
    Bear DE 19701

    Local: 302-834-9641

    Toll-Free: 800-681-7261

    Mobile Apps (requires active policy)

    Apple App Store Logo
    Google Play Store Logo