Small Tattoo – Easy Extra Income for PMU Artists

By Emily M.| Last updated on December 5, 2022
small tattoo
⏱️ 5 min read

Permanent makeup is a very lucrative and rewarding business, but let’s be honest, until you make a name for yourself, it can be a challenge supporting yourself only doing PMU or microblading. The demand for PMU services fluctuates throughout the year, and summer months are well-known to be very slow.

Sometimes, you just can’t get clients for the life of you, no matter how hard you try. You’re committed to your branding, have a great before & after portfolio, you’ve even set up a referral program, but clients just won’t book you.

Cue small tattoo!

Small, or tiny tattoos, are a very popular service at the moment that any PMU artist can add to their service menu to boost their income and fill in the gaps in their workday. It’s super-easy to learn if you’re already performing cosmetic tattooing, and it can earn you a huge return on investment in no time.

What Is a Small Tattoo?

Well, a tattoo that’s small!

Small tattoos are a type of decorative tattooing that creates tiny, minimalistic tattoos. The designs can be anything the client wants, but the size is very small, they’re subtle, and they’re usually not colored in, but rather only lines in various colors. So, just the outlines.

The most popular designs are flowers, stars, words, dates, etc. They are quite simplistic and they don’t require as much creativity as larger, more elaborate designs. A small tattoo can be done anywhere on the body, and the service is completely customizable and versatile.

Small tattoos are a type of decorative tattooing that creates tiny, minimalistic tattoosImage source: Instagram @tinytattoos_feathertouch

Why Should PMU Artists Offer Small Tattoo Services?

Once you get certified for permanent makeup, you soon realize that you could pick up some additional skills and increase your income. PMU is great and it can potentially make you thousands of dollars in a day… if you’re fully booked.

But the fact is, only the most renowned artists get multiple clients per day. For the majority, it can be difficult getting clients for PMU, especially in smaller towns where the demand for the service isn’t huge and the pool of potential clients is limited.

So many PMU artists expand their service menu with services other than PMU. Some specialize in brows and offer brow lamination or henna brows, others do lashes.

But the most practical and most lucrative service you can offer in your PMU salon are tiny tattoos. Here’s why:

Small tattoos are very easy to learn for PMU artist

Transitioning from machine PMU to small tattoo application is a piece of cake for PMU artists. You already have experience doing machine work, you know skin anatomy, you work with clients every day. PMU requires the same amount of precision as a small tattoo, you just need a bit of adaptation in terms of pressure and working with inks instead of PMU pigments.

Small tattoos are very easy to learn for PMU artistImage source: Unsplash

You can make a ton of extra cash

A small tattoo varies in price with different artists, but their prices range from $40 to $250. They are obviously significantly cheaper than PMU, but the demand for tiny tattoos is much greater than for PMU treatments.

Think about it – 1 client can only get 1 pair of powder brows, while the canvas for small tattoos is practically infinite. A single client can come back in for multiple tiny tattoos.

Small tattoos are also very popular with male clients, while only a small portion of guys go for PMU. So the number of potential clients doubles if you start offering this service.

Plus, not many places offer tiny tattoos – full-on tattoo artists often refuse to do a small tattoo, as it doesn’t bring in as much cash as elaborate designs, while PMU artists are only just starting to recognize the potential of tiny tattoos. So clients who have nowhere to go for a small tattoo will swarm to your salon.

You can fill in the gaps in your schedule

Once you get the hang of it, you can do a small tattoo in 15 minutes. Of course, this depends on the complexity of the design, but most clients keep it quite simple, and the majority go for the same or similar styles.

This allows you to fit in short small tattoo sessions between your PMU clients – no more hanging around your salon with nothing to do for hours between clients!

You probably don’t need extra licenses

In most states, you need to have a tattooing license in order to practice PMU anyway, so you won’t need a lot of additional paperwork to start offering small tattoo services. Check your local tattooing regulations.

Certification is quick and easy…

Even though you may be an experienced PMU artist, you should take a course before you start doing tiny tattoos. Decorative tattooing isn’t the same as cosmetic tattooing, although the principle behind them is the same.

That said, it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge.

There are many small tattoo courses out there designed specifically for PMU artists, so the transition should be easy. These courses will point you in the right direction when it comes to adapting the PMU skill to performing tiny tattoos, instead of teaching you how to tattoo from scratch.

…And cheap

Just like it’s the case with PMU, tiny tattoo courses vary in price, but they range from $200 to $1300. You can find both online and in-person courses, but since you already have cosmetic tattooing experience, the online option should do just fine at the fraction of the price.

Why Should PMU Artists Offer Small Tattoo Services?Image source: Instagram @zoeisabellakravitz

The investment is minimal

Apart from the training course, all you need to invest in is a machine for decorative tattooing and inks. If you’re performing PMU, you already have a fully equipped workstation, including a chair, so you need a very modest capital to start you off.

Your PMU clients can become small tattoo clients, and vice versa

The biggest benefit of offering more than one type of service is the ability to sell several services to 1 client.

So, clients who come in for PMU might come back in for a small tattoo, and the other way round. You can offer some sort of deal, like a discount if they decide to get both. That way, you’re building brand loyalty, plus making extra cash.

The biggest benefit of offering more than one type of service is the ability to sell several services to 1 client.Image source: Instagram @coldplay.chris.martin

How Much Extra Cash Can I Make Offering the Small Tattoo Service?

The biggest benefit of doing tiny tattoos is that a session takes 15-30 minutes, and can be dispersed throughout your PMU schedule, to fill in the gaps and increase your efficiency.

Let’s say you charge the average small tattoo price – around $80 – and you have 2 clients a day between your primary service, that’s $160 extra without breaking a sweat.

The figure may not be as impressive as the average $600 per session PMU earns you, but it’s a much more steady income that can get you through any rough patches.

Final Tip

Expanding your service menu is a fool-proof way to increase your income. If you’re doing PMU, perhaps the easiest service to pick up is tiny tattoos. You already know your way around cosmetic tattooing, so you have no trouble transitioning to simplistic decorative tattooing.

Cover image source: Freepik



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