We get many requests for tattoo apprenticeships.  We even have an online guide.  Usually we are asked if we are hiring or looking for apprenticeships.  These inquiries usually come in via email.  Normally we reply with “not currently”.  If we were to take on an apprentice, it would not be via email.

An apprenticeship is a huge commitment on behalf of both the person teaching and the person learning.  If you are serious about wanting to tattoo, you will show up in the shop.  Emails and phone calls about apprenticing are not considered a serious effort on the part of the learner.  Any shop that replies to your email with “sure we need an apprentice” is probably just looking to take advantage of your free labor.  Shops that are posting ads hiring apprentices may also be looking to take advantage, especially if it is a “only $3000 and 6 months” kind of deal.  Do your research, look at portfolios, ask questions.

Since opening 717 Tattoo has never took on a traditional apprentice.  We have yet to have anyone show the desire and wherewithal to impress upon us their commitment to learning.  For great tattooers, tattooing is a lifestyle, not a job.  A potential apprentice would have tons of free time and would be able to survive without a paycheck for at least the first year or two.  The shop will demand most of your free time, so it is important you do not want or have a life for the first couple years.

If you want to learn how to tattoo there are many things you can do before you start an apprenticeship.  Get a tattoo, take art classes, draw, network with tattooers, paint, stop in at shops with your art portfolio, hang out in tattoo shops, draw more, take blood borne pathogen training, draw, learn first aid and cpr, read about and study anatomy, study tattoo art and history, draw, attend conventions, get more tattoos.

Take some initiative and show the tattoo shop you want to apprentice at that you are serious.  Sending us an email does not mean you are serious.

We receive lots of email and Facebook messages about pricing.  In response to the overwhelming amount of virtual messages we receive, we setup an easy to use online consultation request form.  This gives your prospective artist a little insight into what you are hoping to accomplish with your procedure, and allows us to start the process from inception  to consultation to appointment to a finish product you (hopefully!) love.

Recently, we received the following message via email:

“I don’t want anything changed about this tattoo i would  just like to know the amount for the tattoo so i can compare with other places to get the lowest price.”

To which I responded:

“Usually I forward these emails through to an artist at the appropriate location, but after reading your message, I thought I would reply.  I would recommend against price shopping for the lowest possible tattoo price.  Not all tattoos are created equal.  At 717 your money is going towards talent and safety.

I would suggest checking out portfolios and deciding which artist you want to work with.  You can find portfolios for all the artists at our Mechanicsburg location here: http://717tattoo.com/mechanicsburg/

If price is your only concern, I would suggest going elsewhere.  717 is not the always cheapest studio in town.  Unfortunately tattoos are not a regulated trade in this state, and there are many sub par artists who are doing poor quality work in unsafe conditions.  You are sure to find a cheaper price from one of them.

Thank you for your time! Paul”

This has been an unfortunate trend plaguing modern tattooing for as long as I can remember.  I certainly understand that everyone wants the biggest bang for their buck.  I understand that no one wants to get ripped off.  But what I cannot understand is why someone would want to skimp on the cost of a tattoo.  Pricing a tattoo is not like pricing a gallon of gas.  Tattoo artists spend years honing their skill sets, building a collection of equipment, and researching their trade.  717 goes above and beyond in regards to client safety and sterility of our procedure areas.  All of this effort factors into a price.  A price that the artist feels is fair.

Look at portfolios.  Find an artist that blows your you away.  Get a quote.  Save your money.  Get a piece you will cherish forever.

Or, shop for the lowest price.  And if you need a cover-up, there are many reputable artists out there who can help.

What We Expect From Our Customers

It is more than fair for clients to expect, even demand certain standards from their tattooer or piercer. Cleanliness, skill, courtesy…these are some of the many traits 717 Tattoo tries to exemplify in each and every procedure. With that in mind, here are some of the things we expect from you as a client.


1) Do not bring your children.

We love kids, and we think art education is an extremely important component in a child’s education. But our studios are no place for children. We have pictures of pierced genitals in our portfolios. We have nudity in our tattoo flash and reference books. Sometimes, we have trucker mouths. Furthermore, it is not fair to our other clients who also want to have a positive experience in our studio. And most importantly, our insurance does not allow for it. Please, leave your children with a loved one for your procedure…after all, you are spoiling yourself!


2) Do not bring food into our studio.

It is important to eat before you get a tattoo or piercing. It is rude to bring your lunch into our studio. We do not have the space or proper furniture. We keep our studio clean, and your bag of Arby’s does not help our studio smell good.


3) Come in clean.

Sadly, we have to add this. If you do not shower often, make sure you shower before you come in. You will be in close contact with a tattooer or piercer. He or she will appreciate that you do not smell like a truck stop.

  4) Do not haggle or barter.

We will not trade you for an xbox. Our price is firm, we are not selling a car. If you came to us, it is because you trust us. Also trust that we are pricing our tattoos at a rate we consider fair. Remember, those $150 shoes or $200 cell phone will be useless in 2 or 3 years….you will take a tattoo to your grave. Please just skip our number in the phone book if you are simply making calls looking for the cheapest price for your tattoo. If you have a budget, please be forthcoming about it. We will do our best to help you find a tattoo you can both afford and enjoy.

If you have a budget, please be forthcoming about it. We will do our best to help you find a tattoo you can both afford and enjoy.


5) Follow our aftercare.

We think it is awesome that your Uncle BillyBob has 17 & 1/2 tattoos that he received in jail or from a tattoo party, but that does not make him an expert on how to take care of our work. If you are unsure on aftercare, just call or stop in to see your artist.


6) Call us with any problem.

Everyone has different metabolism. Variables in a home or work environment vary from one client to the next. Allergic reactions do occur. In short, if you have any problem or concern with your tattoo or piercing, please allow us to help to remedy that issue. Our advice and assistance throughout the healing process is included with every procedure, free of charge. If you are unsure, ask us.


7)We do not rush.

Contrary to what some of the tattoo reality television shows would have you believe, we cannot finish your back piece in under an hour with commercials. Good tattoos take planning and time. Multiple dermals, surface works, below the belt piercings all involve planning and consideration. We will take the time to talk to you about the do’s and don’ts, risks and rewards. We prefer consultations so we can meet with you, hear your idea, and brainstorm with you to make sure you are getting the best possible end result.


8) Thanks for reading!

If you read this, that means you give a shit, and caring about your tattoos and piercings is half the process in having a tattoo or piercing you can be proud of and enjoy for years to come.