(click the question to view the answer)
Yes, it’s needles in your skin! However, here are a few things that might ease your mind:
- Pain tolerence differs from person to person and with tattoo size/location so what’s really painful for one person may not be that bad for another person.
- After about 15 minutes the process becomes a little less painful for some people. This can be attributed to a drop in anxiety and an increase in endorphins.
- The pain is temporary. It really only lasts for the duration of the tattoo process and by the next day most of the soreness is gone (although this varies from person to person and with tattoo size/location).
- A tattoo is a big decision, congratulations! Now, are you going to let a little pain get in the way? If you want it bad enough you can get through it!
Yes, our needles are single use. We would never, under any circumstances, reuse needles and all items that can be single use are single use (needles, ink cups, gloves, rinse cups, razors, ball point pens, barrier bags, etc.). Items that are not single use (metal tubes) are soaked in bleach, cleaned in an ultra-sonic, scrubbed inside and out, individually bagged, and then sterilized in an autoclave. We pay to have our autoclave tested monthly by a certified company, it has never failed a test and we have these results on file. After each appointment, the work station is thoroughly cleaned with a disinfectant, the spray bottles, clip cord, etc. are covered in clean bags and new, individually bagged/sterilized needles and tubes are brought out which your artist will open in front of you. We are extremely careful to avoid cross-contamination and take your health, as well as our own (we all get tattooed here!), in the highest consideration. We go through needles, gloves and cleaning products like you wouldn’t believe!
That being said, common sense tells us that whenever skin is being broken there is risk of infection (although rare and seldom serious) which you will be required to acknowledge by signing our consent form. Before your skin is broken and before applying the design stencil or writing on your skin with a single use ball point pen, the area to be tattooed will be cleaned with rubbing alcohol, green soap and then shaved with a single use razor. Other products used before, during or after also include vaseline and Vitamin A&D ointment. However, even though we practice these numerous sterile measures it is not reasonably possible for us to know whether you might have an allergic reaction to the pigments or processes used or get an infection after you leave. Proper aftercare is essential, good hygiene being key. You should also be aware that two types of bacteria – Staphylococcus aureus (staph), which is most common, and Streptococcus pyogenes (strep) – can live harmlessly on your skin until they enter through a cut or wound and cause the skin infection impetigo (although most common in infants and children). In adults, impetigo is usually the result of injury to the skin – often by another dermatological condition such as dermatitis (diabetes and a weakened immune system could contribute as well). Remember, the world is full of bacteria so once you walk out our door it is up to you to prevent infection by following the proper aftercare!
It’s “your” tattoo, “you” decide, and we can not simply take your idea out of your head! Do some research and find pictures of things you like whether online, in books or magazines, on greeting cards or t-shirts, etc. We can help you fine-tune your idea of course but the basic idea is up to you because (as we are constantly reminded)… tattoos are permanent!
Call with your idea or email it over with some pictures (if via email please keep it brief and to the point and only send a couple of pictures… not 10, 20, 30 please). If we can accommodate you a consultation will be scheduled to which you’d bring all of your ideas printed out if possible. Then, if both you and your artist are on the same page regarding the design and you’re 100% sure you want the tattoo, a detailed work-order will be written up per the specifications agreed upon, we’ll collect a non-refundable cash deposit (keep reading), and your tattoo appointment(s) will be scheduled. You’ll be contacted when your design is drawn and another short consult will be scheduled. We don’t like to email drawings because details get misinterpreted and it’s always best to discuss something permanent in person (if you live out of town you’ll need to make another trip in). Keep in mind that the drawing will be a basic outline only and not a full-on colored/shaded piece of art on paper. The real art will happen in the tattoo process so you’ll have to trust your “artist” to make the drawing come to life and since you chose us based on our work that shouldn’t be a problem for you.
Remember, the deposit is non-refundable so be sure you want the tattoo! We do not (currently) charge for drawing time and the deposit will go towards your tattoo on the final appointment unless you cancel for “any” reason, then you did pay to have it drawn because… we don’t work for free. If you don’t complete your tattoo (for whatever reason), you’ll lose your deposit. If you want major changes made to the drawing that weren’t initially agreed upon, you’ll lose your deposit and another one will be required. If you want something entirely different, you’ll lose your deposit (and we might not be interested in another project with you). We take deposits for the sole purpose of tattooing, not drawing, and we will not take your deposit if you are too vague or wishy-washy, if you’re super picky and we think it’ll be hard to please you, or if your idea will simply not translate well into a tattoo.
You can walk-in to look around (call first for our hours), everything else requires a scheduled appointment if we can accommodate your tattoo idea. When we’re both busy with appointments the door is locked. After 40 years of tattooing Bill doesn’t take (many) new clients but will consider a cool project. He’s always booked out a few months, has a 2 hour minimum, and doesn’t do small pieces or fad tattoos (like lettering). Lori is available for small, simple pieces (lettering included but nothing fancy or fineline) by appointment.
See Question 4. We require a cash deposit to make a tattoo appointment. The deposit shows us that you are serious (time is money) and guarantees you your appointment day/time.
If you live out of state or far out of town and it’s determined that we can discuss and finalize your design via email, we require a cashier’s check or money order prior to booking you an appointment and drawing your design. Again, this is tricky because it’s always best to talk about something permanent in person!
If you call at least 2 days in advance (enough time for us to fill your spot) we’ll be happy to move your deposit to a new appointment.
If you cancel at the last minute you will lose your deposit. If you have an emergency we’ll of course be understanding.
If you’re going to be a few minutes late please call us, we’ll want to know you are on your way. If we don’t hear from you 15 minutes into your appointment time we’ll start making calls to try and fill your spot. Remember, time is money so if you’re late you’ll be paying for time that you won’t be getting!
If you’re a loser and don’t show up or call (a “no-show” is the absolute worst!) you’ll lose your deposit and any other appointments on the book will be canceled immediately. If you eventually contact us and we’re still interested in tattooing you (which is unlikely), total prepayment will be required.
Remember, once you book an appointment we turn business away for that time slot so if you flake out we lose money. Like you, we go to work to make money and time is money!
Once discussed we’ll give you an estimate. Bill charges by the hour (please call for rate) and has a 2 hour minimum. Lori charges by the piece and also has a minimum (please call for). The cost of your tattoo will depend on its size, amount of detail/color, location on your body and artistic worth. We usually do not give estimates over the phone or via email but if we do remember, an estimate is subject to change. It’s much easier to discuss and understand a design in person therefore give an estimate in person. Also, it’ll cost more if you can’t sit still, need to take a bunch of breaks, want changes made to the design at the last minute or of course, want to do the tattoo bigger.
CASH. Just like a tattoo, cash is permanent.
Good question and “extremely” important! See our page on Aftercare. We will go over the basics with you and you will get a detailed aftercare folder before you leave. Remember, good hygiene and proper aftercare are essential for your health as well as outcome of your tattoo! We are not medical professionals so if you have any concerns use your best judgment.
Only right after your tattoo is completely healed and smooth (up to 6 months). If you notice some light spots please come by and if it looks like you’ve cared for your tattoo properly and a touch-up is necessary, we’ll schedule an appointment for you at no charge. The reason we will not touch-up a tattoo for free several months or years later is because we have no guarantee that you took care of it properly during healing, or later by protecting it from the sun. Contrary to popular belief, touch-ups are not always necessary and a professionaly applied and properly cared for tattoo can remain vibrant for years (Lori’s arms and foot are 15+ years old and have never been touched up!). Please read our Aftercare.
Our studio is clean, professional, friendly, quiet… and attitude free! Here are a few other things you should know:
- All money is non-refundable so be sure you want the tattoo.
- A 2 day notice is required to reschedule or you lose your deposit.
- If you don’t show up you lose your deposit.
- If you change your mind on a custom design you lose your deposit.
- Cash only.
- Kids under 18 are NEVER allowed in the studio (that means babies too).
- Bring a photo I.D., we will need to copy it onto our Client Record form.
- No food or drinks allowed (water is OK).
- TURN OFF YOUR PHONE (& no texting either, it will make you move).
- Sit still!! If you move it will take longer, cost more and be way more painful if an area has to be fixed (“if” it can be fixed).
- If your tattoo takes more than one appointment your deposit will be deducted at the end (we must always have a deposit to hold an appointment).
- In order to give you the best tattoo possible and keep the area sterile, no one will be allowed to sit with you or stand in the tattoo work area (our work areas are not behind closed doors). We can concentrate better without someone looking over our shoulder and without you talking to someone or holding their hand (which will make you move). Also, it’s pretty difficult to work on someone who is whimpering or moaning so please try to suck it up.
- Please don’t bring a bunch of people with you. We realize that getting a tattoo is fun and a big deal, but we’re here to work and our studio is not a hangout. If your friends/family are too disruptive in our lounge/waiting area they will be asked to wait outside and honestly, you’ll do better without them hanging around. Please don’t yell to your friends/family from the chair or ask them to come take a look or take a photo (or at least, ask your artist first if he/she minds). If your artist needs to stop tattooing due to your phone or friends/family… you will lose tattoo time that you’re paying for! Our “job” is to give you the best tattoo possible without worrying about these disturbances.
- Bring your deposit slip on your (final) appointment day, we’ll need it to verify your deposit amount.
- If you are getting tattooed in a discreet area (breast, bikini area, etc.) please wear the appropriate clothing so that both you and your artist are comfortable with the situation. Ladies: a bikini top works good for chest tattoos, halter top or something that zips/buttons up the front that you can wear backwards good for back tattoos, sweatpants for the lower back or bikini area. Please use your common sense, we will not tattoo you if we feel uncomfortable.
- We do not tattoo fingers, palms, toes, bottoms of feet or badly calloused areas, ears, faces, some necks, or extremely private areas. Also, we reserve the right to not tattoo (what we feel are) inappropriate designs.
- Eat something before so you don’t get lightheaded!
NO, never. It’s against the law in California to tattoo someone under 18.
Maybe a little but that’s mostly an old wives tale because most artists don’t like to work on someone who is drunk and loud. If you are drunk, on drugs, are disrespectful or inappropriate you will be asked to leave.
Yes, but (usually) only if being given to a current customer. Why you might ask? Well, since it’s just the two of us and we can’t accommodate everyone we don’t want to take money for a gift cert and then not be able to honor it. Isn’t that nice of us?!
For your safety as well as our own, if you have a medical condition such as but not limited to those stated below you must be honest with us, and you will be required to fill out a Medical History form on the day of your appointment. Remember, it’s “your” health and we’re not medical professionals therefore it’s “your” responsibility to be as informed as possible about your condition. Talk to your doctor, with a note we “might” tattoo you with “some” of these conditions but in general we will not tattoo you if:
- You have a HEART CONDITION such as but not limited to MURMUR, PACEMAKER, etc.
- You have DIABETES, HEMOPHILIA or EPILEPSY.
- You have HEPATITIS, HIV-AIDS, STAPH, H1N1, EBOLA or any other COMMUNICABLE DISEASE.
- You have a SKIN CONDITION such as but not limited to LUPUS, KELOID SCARRING, ECZEMA, PSORIASIS, or ACNE, MOLES or a SUNBURN in the area to be tattooed.
- You are on MEDICATION that MIGHT IMPAIR your JUDGMENT or AGGRAVATE the TATTOO PROCESS INCLUDING HEALING (such as but not limited to BLOOD THINNER).
- You are UNDER THE INFLUENCE of DRUGS or ALCOHOL.
- You are PREGNANT or NURSING.
- You are ALLERGIC to LATEX GLOVES (although we are currently using non-latex gloves).
- You are NOT 18 or older.
Yes, Assembly Bill 300 (Safe Body Art Act) passed 1/1/12, enforcement began 7/1/12, and you should only do business with a tattoo facility that has a (green) “PASS” permit from the Sacramento County Enviromental Management Dept. We were already in compliance with the bulk of AB300 (how to avoid cross contamination, proper cleaning and sterilization, etc.) and are now in compliance with other items such as more (detailed) paperwork and logs. Our facility first passed inspection on 3/17/15, and all permits are current as required by law.
If you can’t find the answer to your question here you can call us at (916) 985-3777 or send an email office@BillLibertyTattoo.com.