Ever since the first tattoo shop was opened there has been the issue of what ‘side-work’ is, and isn’t. The question (or problem) is this: where is the line between what is allowable when it comes to shop artists having dealings with shop customers outside the shop (or on the ‘side’)? Unlike body-piercing that is relatively simple (where a customer can purchase a body piercing kit online), tattoos are more complex. Many shops are aware that price-conscious customers will frequently ask an artist if they do work outside the shop, hoping for a lower price (which bypasses the shop’s cut – the very shop the met in). Most shops view artists that do work on its’ customers outside the shop (unbeknownst to the shop owner) as stealing and grounds for termination. While many tattooists may disagree, the fact is that if the shop had not existed (and worked hard for their good reputation and invested the hard work, time and money establishing itself in the public’s awareness) such a meeting could not have happened. Every customer that sets foot into a shop is considered part of the shop’s assets, and as with anything else inside that shop that can be taken out of it, taking a shop’s customer and doing side-work is stealing. Of course there can be arrangements or exceptions made by the shop owner to allow for jobs that run past operating hours, or if a customer wants work on days the shop is closed, etc. To avoid any misunderstandings, any such arrangements need to be made BEFORE they happen, where the owner of the shop authorizes it. Otherwise, it will undoubtedly be seen as customer stealing and grounds for firing.
If you aren’t sure of the policy your shop has regarding what is allowed or not, ask. Usually, such rules are discussed in an initial interview with your boss, or mentioned the first day and you may have forgotten. In this day and age of tough economic times, it’s better to be sure when it comes to these things. As always, we welcome your questions and comments at the BodyPiercingNews.com!