Cardinal Tattoo takes a $60 non-refundable deposit on all appointments and a $100 non-refundable deposit for every all-day session. Deposits are deducted from the overall cost of the tattoo, so they are not a fee, just a way of letting us know you're serious when you say you're going to be here. We ask for a 48 hour notice to reschedule so we can book the time that's being vacated. We understand that unforeseen circumstances can occur last minute and last-minute reschedules are handled on a case-by-case basis with regard to whether or not a deposit is forfeited. So be nice.
Tattoo artists don't get paid unless they're doing tattoos. We have families and financial responsibilities just like anyone else. Preparing tattoos takes time and effort. Serious tattoo artists work diligently for years to be able to consistently produce the kind of artwork someone would be proud to display on their body for the rest of their lives. Even considering all of this there are still plenty of people who seem to have no problem wasting our time. People who have nothing better to do than talk incessantly about getting a tattoo they don't have money for. People who would gladly set an appointment without leaving a deposit and wouldn't have any problem at all not showing up or even calling to say they aren't going to be able to make it. People who are basically window shopping. This is why we take deposits. It's the only way we have of protecting ourselves from those people.
The artists at Cardinal Tattoo will not perform any work until a deposit has been paid. We will not research, draw, or engage in a protracted consultation session until we know that the client is serious. It's as simple as this: If you don't want a tattoo don't give us any money. If you want a tattoo but don't want to leave a deposit please go somewhere else.
An example of our process looks something like this: Upon arriving at Cardinal Tattoo you will be greeted, asked what you would like to have as a tattoo to include the style and location on your body; what your budget for the tattoo is; and when you'd like to start. At that point you will be asked to leave a deposit to set up your appointment. Upon leaving a deposit your artist will have a consultation with you regarding the specifics of the piece; you will exchange ideas and research reference materials; a brief sketch may be made; the artist will exchange email addresses with the client so more correspondence can be made (though no original artwork will be sent from the artist, drawings must be viewed in-house); a folder will be made strictly for that client's notes and reference materials; a completed drawing will be made ready the day of the appointment and preliminary drawings can usually be viewed sometime beforehand; the client is then given an appointment reminder slip with the date and time of the appointment, the price quote, the deposit amount and their artist's name on it. A confirmation/reminder call can be scheduled at this point.
Another example might look like this: Upon arriving at Cardinal Tattoo the prospective client is greeted and preliminary information is received. If the person is unwilling to leave a deposit they will be informed of our appointment process, referred to this website, and given a business card. Prospective clients are always welcome to visit frequently to look at updated work in the artists' portfolios, say 'hi', or just visit our goldfish. However, no other talk about tattooing will be entertained. At Cardinal Tattoo we're serious about this tattoo stuff and expect no less from our customers, who expect only the best from us!
Deposits may be forfeited (lost) for the following reasons (among others): not calling to reschedule and not showing up for an appointment (no call/no show); rescheduling within 48 hours of the appointment in a situation where the artist is unable to book the time being vacated; rescheduling prior to the 48 hour window more than once; drastically changing the subject matter or value of the tattoo scheduled within 48 hours of the appointment; being unavailable (giving a bad phone number, email address, or generally being really hard to get into contact with); and arriving excessively late to an appointment without calling.
None of these policies are concrete and all can be amended on the spot by the individual artist the client is working with. So be nice.