A tattoo shop should be clean and organized, the less things scattered on desks and tables and around the tattoo stations, the easier it is for complete sterilization and disinfection. Ink bottles should always be handled by the artist and always put at least 4 feet away from tattooing. Sharps containers should always be placed in an area that does not touch any tattoo related material, mounted on the side of a tattoo station, placed on the floor etc. Sharps containers should also always be kept from becoming overly full, all sharps containers should be handled with gloves. Your artist should change their gloves anytime they have touched your skin or any tattoo equipment being used on you and then have to touch anything else (ex. phones, door handles, drawers, anything that is not covered in protective barriers).
A tattoo shop should always be willing to provide you with the city’s by-laws and the things required by that city in order to comply with the regulations - Spore Test Results, Health Inspections, Business Licenses etc. We recommend asking if you can get a tour of the shop, asking to see their sterilization room, and asking them to explain how they prevent cross contamination and what their sterilization practices are.
We strongly recommend googling your artist and the shop, reading the reviews on their social media page like Facebook & Google. Some shops have reviews on pages like Yelp, Yahoo or third party sites like HeyTattoo.com
If possible, ask your friends and family for their experiences too! Remember, even the best business are going to have negative reviews and people who are adamantly against them, so gather as much info as you can and then we recommend going to the business and doing your own research.
Questions to Ask
Are the artists all using disposables? If not - what are they using that ISN’T disposable?
Are they using metal tools - how to they clean the tools and how do they sterilize them?
Do they use an Autoclave?
Does the city require the autoclave to be registered or pass any type of testing? Can you see the results?
Are their artists’ trained in Blood Borne Pathogens Prevention and Safe Practices?
Do they have licenses in your city? What are the requirements to operate as a tattoo artist / tattoo shop?
When was their last inspection? Can you see the notes / inspection report?
What is their touch up policy?
What is their policy if my artist doesn’t complete the piece for reasons beyond your control?
If prices change in future, is your agreed upon hourly rate for this piece guaranteed?
What is their cancellation & rescheduling policy?
If they give you a quote on the tattoo, is that guaranteed?
If I am unhappy with my finished product or piercing what do I do?
What is their policy on deposits?
Am I allowed to bring someone with me? How many people am I allowed?