Frequently asked questions!
#1: How much does a tattoo cost?
It depends on the tattoo - the size, style, and placement. Small tattoos are priced by the piece, and large custom tattoos are priced at the hourly rate of $140/hour. The shop minimum is $80 for most places on the body. Additional charges apply to areas like feet, ribs, neck (back of neck) or sternum; this has to do with complications in healing in these areas, along with the difficulty involved in tattooing these areas.
#2: Why can’t I get a price quote over the phone/over DM/over email?
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to give an accurate price quote for a custom tattoo without seeing the client in person! The price depends largely on size, style, and placement. A piece taking up the side of a calf will be much larger on someone who is over 6 feet tall than on someone who is petite and 5 feet tall! You can book a consultation for free in order to get an accurate price quote in several ways: call/text the shop line, request an appointment via our Facebook page, email us through our website, or contact us via DM on Instagram. During your consultation (which typically lasts about 30 minutes), we will discuss all of the design details of your tattoo. You may find some things come up that you’ve never even thought of before! The tattoo artist’s job is to take your ideas and make them tattooable within the range of what is physically possible; you can rely on your artist to steer you in the responsible direction.
There is one exception to the price quote rule: for any predrawn tattoo flash designs (the artist’s original paintings, seen in the shop and on her social media pages), prices are pre-set. Additional charges apply to difficult placements (see #1 above). You can always ask for the prices of pre-drawn designs.
#3: How do I make an appointment?
To make an appointment, you’ll first need to come in for an in-person consultation (see #2 above). If you choose to move forward with the information you receive during your consultation, you’ll need to pay a $50, non-refundable deposit which will be applied to the overall price of your tattoo, and the artist will put you on her schedule. Your deposit reserves your time, and covers the artist’s drawing time. When you come in for your appointment, you will only owe the balance of your original price quote (less the $50 deposit charge).
For larger tattoos taking longer than 3 of 4 hours, such as sleeves, you will be charged a $100 deposit, which will be processed in the same manner as above.
#4: What methods of payment do you accept?
Steph Sparrow accepts cash, PayPal, and all major credit cards, including Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and Amex. Brenda Perez and Margaret Benbow accept cash only.
#5: Do you take walk-ins?
You bet! If the tattoo you want is small, or if it’s a flash design, it’s usually pretty easy to get tattooed as a walk-in client. Simply show up and see if the artist is available! You can call ahead as well to see what is on the books for the day. However, know that walk-ins are always taken on a first-come, first-served basis. If you need a specific time for your tattoo, it’s best to put down a deposit and reserve an appointment time.
Sorry - we can’t do cover-up tattoos on a walk-in basis. These always require an appointment.
#6: Does it hurt? How much?
Yes, all tattoos hurt to a degree! It really depends on the scope of the tattoo, but also on the placement on the body. Some parts hurt more than others, for sure! (For example, we don’t recommend getting your ribs or sternum tattooed for your first tattoo, mainly because of the degree of pain involved.)
Honestly, tattoos feel more irritating than anything else. It’s sort of like getting scratched by a cat repeatedly, or the feeling of a bad sunburn. Definitely is one of those “you won’t know what it feels like until it happens” sort of things! Most people feel pain for the first 5-10 minutes until their endorphins start to kick in, and they get used to the sensation.
#7: Is it safe?
We do our best to keep you as safe as possible! All of our needles are used only ONE time, and medical grade sterilization methods are used on all of our equipment. We use high quality, professional grade inks and tattoo products for our procedures.
If you have ANY questions about sterility, PLEASE ASK. Any competent tattooist should be completely transparent about his/her sterilization standards!
#8: What kinds/styles of tattoos do you do?
Steph works exclusively in the American traditional tattoo style, and all of her tattoos will have a hard, black outline. She specializes in fineline work. Over time, colors fade much more quickly than black pigment; often, over a period of decades, all that is left of a tattoo is the black ink outline and shading. This is the reason why traditional, hard-outlined tattoos, truly stand the test of time!
#9: Are there any tattoos you won’t do?
Stylistically-speaking, Steph does not do all color/no outline tattoos (for reasons of longevity), photo-realistic tattoos, or portraiture. There are many talented tattooers in southern California who specialize in these styles. For portraits especially, we recommend going to someone who exclusively specializes in portraiture!
On first timers, we will not tattoo certain parts of the body such as hands, throats, or necks. We do not tattoo faces or genital areas under any circumstances.