Cardinal Tattoo Customer Appreciation!

It’s no big secret that the artists at Cardinal Tattoo love their customers. We understand that nothing we do here would be possible without them. The requests and trust placed on us as artists serve to drive us, to challenge us, and give us an outlet in an art form we adore. it would be difficult to find another occupation and lifestyle that so closely integrates the artist and their canvas.

It is with this in mind that Cardinal Tattoo has begun a new program designed to give back to the people who mean so much to us: our clients. Every month, Cardinal Tattoo will hold a drawing to win tickets to a show, whether it be music, a play, monster trucks, or some other entertainment venue, if you have been tattooed at Cardinal Tattoo in the last month, you have been entered in the drawing! Our first winners were drawn earlier this month: Jessica Ashley and Tasha Turner will be joining a couple of our artists to see their old favorites Dave Matthews Band. Of course we called and made sure they were fans, we wouldn’t want to drag someone to a show they didn’t want to see!

We hope this, coupled with the free tattoos that Will does each month simply for the love of the art, will serve as a small token of appreciation for our dedicated clientele. We love you and we know none of this would be possible without you. You’re the best!

On Filing Complaints.

Every business has to deal with varying degrees of customer satisfaction, it’s a fact of life when working in a service industry. We at Cardinal Tattoo are quite proud of our record of satisfied customers and our business is supported largely by a growing number of repeat, if not downright habitual, customers. But it’s not always so.

Let’s start with the easy ones: Some people have completely unrealistic expectations with regard to how tattoos are priced and how long it takes to produce high level work. Some people expect to be able to speak to their artist any time, day or night, via personal social media accounts or cell phones. Some people are generally disrespectful of our time and our lives. These people are easy to dismiss as being unreasonable. If you think we’re being rude by pointing this out, stop reading now, you’re one of those people and we’d rather not do business with you. For the rest of you, read on and enjoy learning how you might successfully address filing a complaint in any service industry, including Cardinal Tattoo.

First, how not to do it.

1. Don’t, after having a less-than-ideal experience, immediately go online and attack the business.

2. Don’t, in your public online post, lie.

3. Don’t assume that the only reason you didn’t get things your way is because the business/world/universe is against you. It may have a lot to do with your attitude.

4. Don’t assume that the business would be unwilling or unable to work with you to your satisfaction.

Now, for some things you should do:

1. Speak up, if something isn’t right or the way you want it, let someone who works at the establishment know, or ask why that’s the way it’s being done. Good customer service would dictate that your question or comment will be answered or explained to your satisfaction. If it isn’t, ask for clarity. However, once the situation has been explained, don’t assume that everything has to be changed just for you. At Cardinal Tattoo we have dealt with a significant number of individuals with this sort of entitlement mentality, where they seem to disregard policies in place to protect ourselves and our clients from harm. Yep, people have actually left negative reviews about us for following health department rules. No joke.

2. Contact your artist through proper channels. You wouldn’t look up the local Mickie D’s manager’s personal account on Facebook and tell him how they got your order wrong, right? Well, don’t do that to your tattoo artist either. Cardinal Tattoo is open seven days a week from noon to 10pm, our phone number is posted frequently on this website and can be found with a simple internet search (615 527-7102), if you need to speak with your artist, simply email the shop at, call during business hours, call after business hours and leave a detailed message for us to call you back, or better yet, visit the shop and speak with that artist directly. Messages regarding business sent through personal channels are inappropriate and will not be answered. Once again, if you think this is rude, Cardinal Tattoo is not the place for you. You guessed it, we’ve had a number of people leave negative reviews about our business because we wouldn’t answer business-related questions through personal social media accounts, even AFTER we asked people not to do that and redirected them to the business contact information.

3. Tell the truth. Even if it’s not what we want to hear, it’s better than lying and we’ll respect that. Good relationships cannot be built on lies. If you lie to us, show’s over.

4. Cardinal Tattoo has a policy against doing further business with individuals who have posted negative comments or reviews online. Doing so will end any further communication from us. This is because doing so undermines the process by deliberately trying to harm our business, once someone does that they are forfeiting any possibility of reconciliation.

5. Talk to Will. We know, his knuckles drag the ground sometimes and he has a neck so thick it looks like he could gargle peanut butter, but this business is his entire life. He literally cares about it like you care about your next breath. He has a bit of a reputation for being a jerk, earned purely because he doesn’t take crap, not because he isn’t fair. Beyond that, he is polite, kind, generous to a fault, and open to reason. One of his greatest flaws is also one of the best things about him: his candor. Will once told a woman to her face that the reason he didn’t want to tattoo her was because he felt she wasn’t mentally stable. Should’ve seen the look on her face! But he meant it, and he was right, a real loop-de-loop, that one. He has also offered to cover-up or finish tattoos for free (done by artists who no longer work for Cardinal Tattoo); Given up his portion of the tattoo price as a discount for someone he indirectly inconvenienced; got to work early or stayed late to make getting tattooed easier for someone with a tricky schedule, etc., etc.

6. Say you’re sorry. We know this may seem a bit counter-intuitive to some of you (those in the ‘the customer is always right’ brigade), but if you find yourself on the wrong side of some of our policies or maybe you let your freak flag fly a little too early in the conversation we have a policy- everyone gets a second chance. In order to get that chance you have to be reasonable though, and you have to say you’re sorry. We’ve had people run their mouths online just to come in a few weeks later and apologize, they still get tattooed at Cardinal to this day. One woman cursed Will out in front of a room full of people and her son threatened him with violence. She said she was sorry, he welcomed her back. We’ve had people who no-call, no-showed for an appointment try to reschedule, only to find out they have to pay in full for their appointment to do so, swear at us and hang up the phone only to call a couple weeks later, pay for their appointment, and get a super-sweet tattoo. It’s nothing personal, really. Don’t make it that way.

The policies and procedures at Cardinal Tattoo were developed through years of training and experience to protect the artists and clients of Cardinal Tattoo. These policies are discussed at length throughout this website and every client has to sign paperwork stating they understand and agree to the shop rules. Even knowing this we have people violate that agreement on a weekly basis. If anyone reading this disagrees with any portion of what they have read thus far, you don’t get it, or you are just plain needy, please go somewhere else. We simply don’t have the time to deal with people who can’t or won’t understand why these policies are necessary. Thank you for your time.

Will's New Rates

If you know us, you know our fearless leader Will. His work speaks for itself and has been the flagship that has taken Cardinal Tattoo to its current heights. His work is in such high demand that he has decided to change the way he charges to accommodate such a broad clientele. His new rates will take effect for all appointments made after July 1st. They are as such:

All day appointments based on an 8-hour day will be $800.

Black and grey portraits, Will’s preferred genre, will be a flat rate of $600, portraits routinely take more than six hours, but Will likes them and we like to keep him happy! Color portraits will be done at the $800 all-day rate.

Smaller-scale work will be done at the rate of $160 per hour.

Existing clients will be ‘grandfathered’ in at the old rate for a limited time and they will take precedence with regard to booking. We strongly encourage any clients who are working on larger-scale work to go ahead and book the necessary appointments to finish what you’ve started in order to take advantage of this policy! We hope to see you soon!

On Pricing

When our fearless leader got his first tattoo in 1995 he paid $100 per hour for the privilege. He got a sun on his shoulder that took about two hours and it cost $180. When he was first told how much it would cost it came as a shock, he was only seventeen, still in high school, and only able to work part time. Seemed pretty expensive to trade a week’s worth of sacking groceries for a couple hours of pain.

But when you think about it, it wasn’t very much at all.

Consider the fact that tattooers don’t get the luxury of messing up. Money back guarantees are no consolation when the results are permanent. The precision needed to be a good tattooer takes time to develop, that training costs money and time and a degree of effort that many people can’t comprehend. Then there’s the business side of things. Rent; electricity; water; air conditioning; the best supplies to do the best job; providing chemicals and cleaning materials to support the necessary sterile environment to insure everyone’s safety, all those things cost money. All this without even considering the living expenses of the individual artists that need to be met in order for them to continue making art for a living instead of doing something else (if you can’t feed your kids or yourself doing a job, you’re not going to keep that job for long, no matter how much you love it). Then, and only then, do you factor in any sort of profit or funds for growth.

When you consider all of those factors, a hundred bucks an hour doesn’t sound like much. It wasn’t too much in 1995 and it certainly isn’t too much now. That being said, the artists at Cardinal Tattoo are so dedicated to their community and craft that they tend to charge less than the industry standard- of twenty years ago.

$300 for a 5-hour session=$60 per hour.

$500 for a 10-hour session=$50 per hour (that’s half-price if you’re keeping track folks!)

Even our best artist, the award-winning, nationally recognized Will, only charges $600 for a 6-8 hour window, that’s between $75 and $100 per hour- $50 to $75 per hour less that the industry standards of today!

And people wonder why we’re in high demand.

The truth is that we’ve made a lot of our fellow artists angry because they feel we don’t charge enough. They want to make the most money possible and what we’re doing makes it harder for them to charge exorbitant fees. Many of them have adopted the same entitlement mentality that seems so pervasive these days. Not us. We are willing to work hard to produce the best tattoos we can for a fair price. That is more than a promise, it is our solemn oath as it had been handed down by our founder, Will. The people who don’t understand why we do this are the same people who don’t understand why we won’t just tattoo anything on anyone. They don’t get it and it’s likely they never will, so we’re not going to waste our breath trying to explain ourselves.

Here’s what you need to know: Cardinal Tattoo will always do the best we can to provide our clients with great tattoo art for a fair price. It’s a shop motto and the way we conduct our business. It’s the way we care for our clients and our community. It’s how we provide for our families, and we take it very seriously.

If you want the best bang for your buck; straight-forward customer service with no guesswork or hidden costs; and a finished product that will compare favorably with some of the best tattoo artists in the world, you want Cardinal Tattoo as your new tattoo shop.

Nashville Tattoo Convention Results!

Well, it’s that time again: The Full Moon Tattoo and Horror Festival has come and gone, the dust has settled, and it’s time to take stock of the great weekend we just had. In addition to making some great new friends and catching up with old ones, Cardinal Tattoo scored our usual litany of tattoo awards. This time, however, things were a bit different. This year, Will won an award for Best Horror Tattoo with a portrait of Frankenstein’s Monster he did ON HIMSELF!!! Karen also won her first-ever tattoo awards, four of them (!), including a Tattoo of the Day (which is kind of a big deal).

We would like to take this time to thank some of the people who made this possible, if we miss anyone please forgive us:

Maggie Kate; Wayne; Jordan; Curtis; Dakota; Daniel; Cristel; Mikey; Jay, Jeremiah, and Buzzy; miss Angeline; Crystal; and the great crews at Cardinal and Lighthouse Tattoo!

Here’s a list of the first places won at the show:

Best Chest Piece

Large Black and Grey

Tattoo of the Day (Color)

Best Color Portrait

Best Medium Black and Grey

Best Horror Tattoo

Best Sleeve

Best Black and Grey Portrait

We also won several second and third place trophies. All of this is pretty extraordinary considering Will asked his clients not to enter any pieces that had already been entered, as well as refusing to enter a tattoo in the tattoo of the day category. He quite literally won first place in every category he entered!