The price of a tattoo is as important as the tattoo itself, it's simple really, you get what you pay for.
If your awesome back piece only cost you $50 then maybe it's not as awesome as you think. A good rule of thumb for when it comes to tattooing comes from the tattoo legend himself Sailor Jerry;
What then will your tattoo cost? Really, the answer can only come from one place- the artist. But there are a few things that can help you get an idea of what you'll be paying and why.
Worth of the artist
The better the artist the more you will pay for your tattoo, why? Well if the artist is one of the best then your not going to be the only one looking to get tattooed by them, quite simply their time is worth more money than others, but this is by no means a bad thing- they are charging more for a reason! So before rushing off to the tattoo shop do your research and find out what artists work where and what their reputation is like. Remember you get what you pay for so don't be afraid to cough up the cash!
Most tattoo artists will charge by the hour not by the tattoo. Yeah there are exceptions and some artists simply have a flat rate per tattoo but hourly rates are most common. On average in the US the hourly rate for tattoo artists is anywhere between $50-$250 but for the elite of tattoo artists it can be over $500! You may think it's a little steep but you'll thank yourself when you see your completed tattoo.
Design and size
As a standard the price of your tattoo will come from the time it takes to complete and the amount of sessions you need, however you must be aware that some artists will charge you on size and design rather than the hourly rates. Again the price will depend on who's tattooing you and whether they're any good, but remember the words of Sailor Jerry and you'll be good! It's also worth knowing custom designs can cost more than flash off the walls, but hey, with a custom tattoo you'll be the proud owner of some unique ink!
Now for those thinking what if my tattoo will be done in less than an hour, then the answer is simple- your artist has got you covered! Every tattoo shop will have a standard price for certain small tattoos, i.e. your names, initials, kanji's and numbers, basically all typical small tattoo designs will have a standard price within the shop, though it's best not to walk in and open with 'I've got $50, what can I get?'
There you go, the basics of tattoo pricing, but as always, to get the best idea of the price of your tattoo go and talk to your artist!