1. DOES IT HURT?
Yes, it's needles in your skin! However, here are a few things that might ease your mind:
- Pain tolerance varies from person to person and with tattoo size/location.
- After about 15 minutes the pain will lessen a bit due to a drop in anxiety and increase in endorphins.
- The pain is temporary and really only lasts for the duration of the tattoo process (varies with tattoo size/location).
- Everyone is doing it, how bad could it be? If you want it bad enough you'll get through it. If you're scared out of your mind you'll have a difficult time.
A tattoo is a big decision, congratulations!
2. ARE YOUR NEEDLES SINGLE USE, WILL I HAVE A REACTION OR GET AN INFECTION?
Yes, our needles are single use and all other items that can be single use are single use (ink cups, gloves, rinse cups, razors, ballpoint pens, barrier bags, sheets, pillow cases, paper towels, tissues). We mostly use disposable needle cartridges and disposable tubes, but if we use a metal tube it’s soaked in bleach after use, cleaned in an ultra-sonic with antibacterial soap and Simple Green for an hour, then scrubbed inside and out, individually bagged, and sterilized in an autoclave. We pay to have our autoclave tested monthly and it has never failed a test (all of these results are on file).
After each appointment all ink cups, barriers, and paper products (paper towels/tissues used and unused, sheets, pillow cases) are discarded, the work station is decontaminated with a disinfectant, and all new barriers and items are put in place. Your artist will open new needles and sterilized tubes in front of you.
We're extremely careful to avoid cross-contamination and take your health as well as our own very seriously. We go through gloves, paper products, and cleaning supplies like you wouldn't believe!
That being said, whenever the skin is broken there is risk of infection (which you will be required to acknowledge by signing our consent form/release waiver). Before we do anything to your skin it will be cleaned with tincture of green soap and rubbing alcohol, and shaved with a single use razor. Other products used during and after the process include vaseline and Vitamin A&D Ointment. However, even though we practice these sterile measures it is not reasonably possible for us to know whether you might have a reaction to the pigments or processes used, or get an infection after you leave. Proper aftercare is critical, good hygiene key! You should also be aware that two types of bacteria - Staph, which is most common, and Strep - can live harmlessly on your skin until they enter through a cut our wound and cause 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's up to you to prevent infection!
3. WHAT SHOULD I GET?
It's "your" tattoo, "you" decide. No, we can't take an idea out of your head! Do some research, find pictures you like whether online, in books or magazines, on greeting cards and t-shirts, wherever. Also, look at different tattoo styles online to see if you like black lines, color lines, traditional, realism, etc. Once you present us with your idea we'll help you fine-tune it of course but the starting point is up to you because as we are constantly reminded... tattoos are permanent.
4. HOW DO I GET A CUSTOM PIECE DESIGNED, WHAT IF I CHANGE MY MIND AFTER IT'S DRAWN?
Once you've done your research, call with your idea or send a "brief" email with a picture or two (not 10, 20 or 30 pictures please). If we can accommodate you, a consultation will be scheduled to which you'd bring all of your ideas (printed out would be awesome but if not, on a tablet or laptop is fine, looking at an image on a phone isn't as efficient). Then, if you and your artist agree on the details and you're 100% sure you'd like to get the tattoo, a detailed work-order will be written up with all of the specifications agreed upon, we'll collect a non-refundable cash deposit, and schedule your tattoo appointment(s).
You'll be contacted once the design is drawn and another short consult will be scheduled so that your artist can go over it with you. Bring up any concerns then please, don't call an hour later and say "you know what?" We don't email or text drawings because details usually get misinterpreted, and it's always best to discuss something permanent in person. Keep in mind that the drawing will be a basic outline only, not a full-on colored/shaded piece of art, so you'll have to trust your "artist" to make the drawing come to life as a tattoo (and since you chose your artist based on his/her work this shouldn't be a problem).
The deposit is non-refundable so be sure you want the tattoo!!! We don't charge for draw time and the deposit goes towards your tattoo unless you change your mind after it's drawn... then you did pay your artist for “some of“ his/her time 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 to continue. If you want something entirely different, you'll lose your deposit and another one will be required (IF we still want to work with you).
If we can’t seem to get started on the project after a consult or two (in the case of a large project), and/or after several months of cancellations/reschedules, we both might be better off walking away from it.
We take deposits for the sole purpose of tattooing (and earning the income from that tattoo), not drawing. We won't take your deposit if you're too vague or wishy-washy, if you're super picky and we think it'll be impossible to please you, or if your idea simply won't translate well into a tattoo.
5. DO I NEED AN APPOINTMENT OR CAN I WALK-IN, HOW CAN I GET TATTOOED BY BILL?
We don't do walk-ins, but you can come by to look around (be sure to call day of for our hours). Consultations with Bill require an appointment, and he is currently taking a few new clients although he still passes on some things (he'll do a smaller piece if his schedule allows).
Lori does simple pieces, nothing too teeny-tiny, fine-line or detailed, and with lettering usually only printing (not script). 2019: Lori isn't tattooing right now but might pick it up again in the future.
6. HOW DO I MAKE AN APPOINTMENT, WHAT IF I LIVE OUT OF STATE OR OUT OF TOWN?
See question #4. We require a cash deposit to make the actual tattoo appointment(s). The deposit shows us you're serious (time is money), and guarantees you that we won't give your appointment day/time to anyone else.
If you live out of town or out of state please be sure that you’re committed to traveling to our studio. If it's determined that we can discuss and finalize your design via phone/email, we'll require a cashier's check or money order before booking your tattoo appointment(s) and drawing your design. Again, this can be tricky because it's always best to discuss something permanent in person.
7. WHAT IF I NEED TO RESCHEDULE, I'M LATE, OR I'M A TOTAL LOSER & DON'T SHOW UP?
If you need to reschedule please call us at least 2 full days in advance (the more notice the better!). If you cancel at the last minute and we can't fill your time you'll lose your deposit. If you have an emergency we'll of course be understanding.
If you're going to be late (10-15 minutes) please give us a heads-up so we don't think you're not coming. If you're late you'll still be required to pay for your full appointment. If you'll be 30 minutes or more late, we'll discuss your options when you call.
If you're a LOSER and don't show up you'll lose your deposit and any other appointments will be canceled. If you eventually contact us and we're still interested in tattooing you (which is unlikely), total prepayment will be required.
If you cancel and reschedule a lot we’ll get frustrated and lose interest.
Remember, once you book an appointment we turn business away for that time slot so if you flake out we lose money, and no one likes to lose money!
8. HOW MUCH WILL MY TATTOO COST?
Once discussed we'll give you an estimate ("an approximate calculation or judgment of the value"). Remember, this is given before your design is drawn so is a ballpark guess. Bill charges by the hour (please call for rate) and usually has a 2 hour minimum. Lori charges by the piece and also has a minimum (please call for rate).
The cost of your tattoo will depend on its size, amount of detail/shading/color, location, and artistic worth. We usually don't give estimates over the phone or via email (this is so much easier to do in person) but if we do remember, all estimates are subject to change.
Your tattoo will cost more if you can't sit still, need to take breaks, want changes made at the last minute and of course, if you want to do it bigger than initially agreed upon.
9. WHAT FORMS OF PAYMENT DO YOU ACCEPT?
CASH, no cards. Just like a tattoo, cash is permanent.
10. HOW DO I TAKE CARE OF MY TATTOO?
Excellent question and "extremely" important! See our page on Aftercare. You'll be given a very detailed aftercare brochure and we'll go over the basics before you leave. Remember, good hygiene and proper aftercare are essential for your health as well as outcome of your tattoo.
If you're elderly you may experience a prolonged and difficult healing process due to the more delicate nature of your skin.
If you're a larger/heavier person and the tattoo is on your leg (especially lower leg), you may experience a prolonged and more difficult healing process. Elevate it!!!!
You can certainly call us if you have any concerns but remember, we're not medical professionals so in the end you'll have to use your best judgment and do what you think is best.
11. ARE TOUCH-UPS FREE?
Only right after your tattoo is healed, give it at least 1 month and if you think an area(s) needs to be touched-up give us a call and we'll schedule a quick consult (if you can't get in right away, if you'll be out of town for example, we'll give you up to 6 months). If it looks like you've cared for it properly we'll be happy to touch-up the area(s) at no cost.
The reason we won't touch-up a tattoo for free several months or years later is because we'd have no way of knowing what it looked like right after it healed. You can't pick it or treat it poorly while healing and expect a free touch-up. You can't bake it in the sun and expect a free touch-up.
Contrary to popular belief touch-ups are rarely necessary if done by someone who knows what they're doing. A professionally applied and properly cared for tattoo can remain vibrant for years and years (Lori's arms and foot are 20 years old and have never been touched-up!). Sunscreen is essential!!
12. WHAT'S YOUR STUDIO LIKE, WHAT SHOULD I KNOW BEFORE I COME IN?
- Our studio is clean, professional, friendly, quiet, and attitude free.
- 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're a loser... and you lose your deposit.
- If you change your mind on a custom drawing you lose your deposit.
- Cash only (yes, that means no cards).
- Kids under 18 are not allowed in the studio, that means babies too.
- Bring a photo I.D., we'll need a copy of it if you're under 30.
- No food or drinks, water is OK (and we always have bottled water on hand).
- You're welcome to watch something on your phone but please no phone calls or texting.
- Sit still. If you move it'll take longer, cost more, and be more painful if an area has to be fixed (if it can be fixed).
- If your tattoo takes more than 1 appointment the deposit will roll and be deducted on the final.
- In order to give you the best tattoo possible and keep the area sterile, no one will be allowed to sit or stand with you in the tattoo work area. We can do our "job" better without someone looking over our shoulder and without you talking to someone or holding their hand. It's also very difficult to work if you're whimpering or moaning.
- Please don't bring a bunch of people to your appointment. We realize that getting a tattoo is fun and a big deal, but we're here to "work" and our studio isn't a hangout. If your friends/family are disruptive in our lounge they'll 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 look or take a picture (ask us first). If we need to stop working due to disruptions you'll lose tattoo time that you're paying for! All we want to do is our job without having to worry about these disturbances.
- Bring deposit slip on (final) appointment day, we'll collect it.
- Ladies, if you're getting tattooed in the breast or bikini area please wear the appropriate clothing so that everyone is comfortable with the situation. Bikini tops and tube tops work great for the chest or upper back, if your whole back needs to be exposed a shirt that buttons or zips up the front that you can wear backwards, sweatpants for the lower back or bikini area. We won't tattoo you if we're uncomfortable (goes for men too).
- We don't tattoo fingers, palms, toes, bottom of the foot, arch of the foot, badly calloused areas, ears, face, some necks, extremely private areas. We reserve the right to not tattoo what we feel are inappropriate designs, and designs/ideas that simply won't translate well into a tattoo (no, we don't do white tattoos).
- Eat before you come in so you don't get lightheaded.
13. I'M NOT 18, CAN MY PARENT SIGN FOR ME?
No, it's against the law in CA to tattoo a minor.
14. IF I HAVE A FEW DRINKS WILL I BLEED MORE?
A beer or glass of wine won't hurt (won't help either really), but that's mostly an old wives tale to prevent people from coming in drunk because most artists don't want to work on someone who is drunk. If you are drunk or clearly on something, are disrespectful or inappropriate, you'll be asked to leave.
15. DO YOU SELL GIFT CERTIFICATES?
Yes! But, since we're a two artist studio open by appointment and we can't accommodate everyone, we won't want to take your money until we're sure we can accommodate the recipient (for example: if you give it to someone and they want to get in right away with Bill but Bill is booked). Call Lori, she'll ask you a few questions to make sure we'll be able to honor it before you buy it. Isn't that nice of us?!
16. DO YOU PIERCE?
17. I HAVE A MEDICAL CONDITION, WILL YOU STILL TATTOO ME?
For your safety as well as ours, if you have a condition such as but not limited to those listed below, you must be honest with us. 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 Dr. note we "might" tattoo you with "some" conditions, with others definitely not, but in general we reserve the right to not tattoo you if:
- You have a heart condition such as a murmur or pacemaker.
- You have diabetes, hemophilia or epilepsy.
- You have a communicable disease such as hepatitis, HIV-AIDS, staph, H1N1, ebola, MRSA, herpes.
- You have a skin condition such as 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 (like a blood thinner for example).
- You are under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- You are pregnant or nursing.
- You are allergic to any of the products used during the tattoo process.
- You are not at least 18.
18. AREN'T THERE SOME NEW LAWS REGARDING TATTOOING?
Yes, Assembly Bill 300 (Safe Body Art Act) passed 1/1/2012 and enforcement began 7/1/2012. A studio must have a current business license as well as the proper facility/practitioner (artist) permits from their local County of Environmental Health Department, and each practitioner must have a current Bloodborne Pathogens training certificate. These documents must be on display in the studio.
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 more in-depth paperwork and logs. All of our permits/licenses are current as required by law.
Still have questions? Give us a call (916) 985-3777 or send us an email Office@BillLibertyTattoo.com