Tattoo Artists

At Laughing Buddha

We look for the best in the industry. Highly trained in cross-contamination and bloodborne pathogens prevention and passionate about learning the newest techniques and education available. They value doing tattoos the absolute best way possible and focus on high quality and fast healing tattoos. They are relentless in treating clients with respect and helping them feel safe and welcome. We only hire the most professional and friendly tattooers because our clients deserve it.


Everyone who works at Laughing Buddha Seattle is an employee. We do this to ensure that we are compliant with city, state and federal employment laws. We only use independent contractors when they are guest artists working for a limited amount of time. Being an employee offers many benefits in contrast to being an independent contractor. 

What does being an employee as a tattoo artist look like? 



Lower tax burden for the tattooer.

When you’re working as an independent contractor you are responsible for the full share of employment taxes referred to as “self-employment tax” and for collecting and paying out local sale tax. This has to be paid out of pocket and is usually due quarterly or yearly. As an employee, the studio (employer) pays for these taxes. Sales tax is collected by the studio and paid out monthly. Employment taxes come out of your check every two weeks. Depending on how many dependents you select when you are first hired you get more or less of your share of these taxes It’s very likely that you will not owe any taxes at the end of the year and many of our tattooers enjoy a tax return. You don’t have to worry about late payment penalties, monthly back tax payments or saving up for taxes. It’s all taken care of for you. All you have to do is file your taxes at the end of the year with your W-2 and wait for your tax return check. (It’s not guaranteed that you will receive a tax return. If you owe back taxes or select multiple dependents, you may still break even or owe taxes. Most of our people get a return.)


Employee Freedoms


Tattoo artists love what they do and the freedoms that come with the career. You may think that becoming an employee would make you lose the freedoms you’ve grown to love.

  • Flexible work schedules
  • Do the tattoos YOU want to do
  • Complete control of your schedule during business hours 
    • Online scheduling with Acuity Scheduling
      • Ability to select the times you are available for clients to see for tattoos and consultations separately. 
      • You can choose to let clients schedule themselves via a link that requires them to leave a deposit before scheduling.
      • You can choose your deposit amounts. 
      • Block off time you aren’t available.
      • Syncs with Google Calendar for ease of access.
      • Ability to leave notes on clients accounts and take notes for consultations to save for each client.

Employee Benefits

We work hard on providing excellent benefits that aren’t usually seen in the tattoo industry. As an employee at Laughing Buddha, you gain access to all these benefits. 

Health Insurance

We are proud to offer health insurance to all of our employees who work full time. After 60 days, if you are working over 30 hours, the studio pays up to 75% of your health insurance.


We have a tattoo minimum of $200 and an hourly rate of $250. Commission rates are split 60/40 in favor of the artist. We also provide the option to charge draw fees to clients so you get paid for the time that you spend drawing as well. As an artist, you should be getting paid for your art.

As an employee, you are entitled to be paid for working whether you are with a client or not. We structure our pay as follows. You are paid minimum wage or your commission on services. Whatever one is more. If your commission is more than you would have made hourly then you get your commission. If your hourly pay is more than your commissions, you get paid for the hours you worked at Seattle minimum wage. You get one or the other. Not both. Whatever one is higher. You will get paid if you are working.

Sick Pay

The city of Seattle requires employers to pay sick pay for all employees. This is calculated as an average of the last three months of checks. If you’re sick, you can stay home and take care of yourself and not spread the cold or flue to your clients and co-workers. You’ll still get paid so there’s less to worry about. Sick pay is accumulated over time by the hours worked. For full details about paid sick time in Seattle please read this PDF.

Family & Medical Leave

Family Leave

  • Care for a family member experiencing an illness or medical event
  • Certain military-connected events
  • Care and bond after a baby’s birth or the placement of a child younger than 18

Medical Leave

  • Care for yourself in relation to an illness or medical event.


For full details about paid family & medical leave please read this site.    

Private Rooms

We have 5 private tattoo stations for our artists. 

If you work as a Full-Time artist over 30 hours, you get a room furnished with tables, desk and tool chests.

If you work as a Part-Time artist under 30 hours, we provide you with a small portable toolbox to float between rooms.


As an employee at Laughing Buddha, you are provided with flexible schedules.

We hire Full-Time artist’s who work over 30 hours and Part-Time artist’s who work under 30.


Supplies are paid for by the studio. The studio supplies everything you need so you don’t have to pay out of pocket to do your job. 

This includes gloves, aprons, ink caps, Secondskin, padded tattoo wrap, primary inks and any other disposables you can think of. 

We also provide 2 liners and 2 shaders for each artist from the company of our choice. Alternatively, we offer the option to get a monthly allowance for needles, tubes or cartridges from the company of YOUR choice.


We strive to make all of our communications within the studio as easy and clear as possible. We use the Slack platform to communicate with all our employees easily, a personalized employee portal for everything you need and we utilize Zoom to have monthly studio meetings to discuss what is going on within the studio.


We use Yelp, Google, Instagram and Facebook to promote ads to boost clientele for our artists. Whenever you are excited about a post and want to boost it as an ad on our of our social media accounts, all you have to do is ask!

Tattoo License

As an employee at Laughing Buddha, you don’t have to worry about paying for your tattoo license ever again. We pay for your license fee and BloodBorne Pathogens so you can worry less about that and give more attention to your art.


Along with our online scheduling system, we try to incorporate technology into the studio to advance in our crafts and make the process smooth for everyone.

We include:

  • Online deposits and draw fees.
  • Contactless check-ins for clients. 
  • Client forms for consultation requests.
  • Client forms for wait-list requests.
  • Employee intranet.
  • Cloud based POS system so you can keep track of your deposits, draw fees and tips from anywhere.
  • Gusto online payroll system so you can keep track of your paychecks, benefits, tax details or even verify your employment through Truework!
Online Scheduling

We use to powerful scheduling system from Acuity Scheduling to make our artist’s lives easier. 

Acuity gives you:

  • Complete control of your schedule within business hours.
  • You can select the times you are available for clients to see for tattoos and consultations separately.
  • You can choose to let clients schedule themselves via a link that requires them to leave a deposit before scheduling.
  • You can choose deposit amounts.
  • Block off time you aren’t available.
  • Syncs with Google Calendar for ease of access.
  • Ability to leave notes on client accounts and take notes for consultations to save for each client.
Unemployment Insurance

One thing Covid has taught us is how important unemployment can be when something unexpected comes up. As an employee, you get access to Unemployment Benefits that you wouldn’t otherwise get as a contractor.

Body Art Consultants

Body Art Consultants or BACs are our front desk receptionists that help our artist’s and piercers. The BACs check your clients in for you, help clients schedule appointments online, take payments, and act as a liaison between clients and tattoo artists to point clients in the right direction.

We go above and beyond to ensure that we follow the employment laws closely so that we will be around for a long time. We want to make sure that an audit or investigation will come up clean so that we don’t have to shut our doors to pay fines or back taxes. Because everyone here is an employee we do expect our tattooers and piercers to be on time to work, work their full shifts, meet high standards for quality in work, cleanliness, and customer service, and wear clean clothes that don’t have stains or holes. We are professionals and expect our people to represent their own professionalism and the quality of the studio. We hold monthly studio meetings to keep good communication going and to address anything that comes up head-on. We require everyone to be state-licensed and bloodborne pathogens certified. We do advertising for you and boost posts on Instagram and Facebook whenever you want it. We work hard to ensure that you’re booked up and never have to worry about where your next client is coming from.

We are happy to answer any questions you may have about the information above or if we didn’t answer your questions here. Please reach out and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.