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getting started ?

Discussion in 'Inside Info.' started by jasonrose7, Oct 15, 2013.

  1. jasonrose7

    jasonrose7 New Member

    hiya, my name is jay and im after advice/ information on how to get started in the piercing industy. i have attempted to seek out this information on my own and have not been very successful.
    My main questions are;
    * are they're any courses i could take (preferebly local to me - staffordshirere ), if so how do i find these?

    *i have heard that an apprentaship may be the best way, does anyone know who would be willing to teach me or the best way to approach this?

    * less importatnt - how does a piercer usually get paid; do they provide their own equipment and make a percentage on each job or do they recieve a set wage?
    thank-you for taking time to read / reply
  2. Angel on the Edge

    Angel on the Edge Administrator

    Hi Jay,

    Welcome to the Painful Pleasures community! Please take a moment to introduce yourself properly here and to read the Rules of the Forum before posting again. Note that your next 2 posts will have to be approved by a moderator, but after that, you can post freely.

    If you have any questions about the forum or gallery, feel free to reach out to me, Rainbird, Dnd4evr, xXJarredXx, or Craftsman. All of our knowledgeable moderators will be happy to help, but if you're having issues with your username, logging in or anything technical, let me know; I work for Painful Pleasures and can work with our programmer on any technical issues I can't address myself.

    As for your questions about getting started in the piercing industry, there are some experienced piercers in our community like Mike who I'm sure would have good advice for you. Here's the little bit I know, to give you some info while you're waiting for others to respond:

    I believe you should get started with some general first aid-type courses, a class on blood-borne pathogens, etc., which you can probably take at a community college. You should absolutely seek out an apprenticeship, too; your master, once you find one, can also guide you on what courses to take and where. You may want to take a look at www.safepiercing.org for information on certifications the Association of Professional Piercers (APP) offers in the meantime.

    To find somewhere you can do an apprenticeship, make a list of all the local tattoo and piercing shops around you, then approach each, preferably starting with the ones whose piercers have the best reputations and possibly are APP certified. Talk to them, see if you have a good rapport, then broach the subject of doing an apprenticeship. If someone agrees to take you on, ask for a list of supplies you need, then hit me up and I'll give you a good discount code to use to save on your first order of piercing supplies, which you will most likely have to purchase yourself.

    As for compensation, don't expect to make anything during your apprenticeship. At best, the shop may offset the cost of your supplies or provide you with supplies. Once you're well-trained and established in a shop, you'll have to work out payment arrangements with the shop owner. I think in most cases, you can expect to get a percentage of the price paid for each piercing you do. I'm sure there are shops out there that pay an hourly wage, but percentage payments tend to be more common from what I understand. Work on upselling high-quality jewelry and see if you can get a percentage of jewelry sales, too.

    I wish you all the best with your search for an apprenticeship! Please let me know if I can assist you with supplies at any point.

    All the Best,
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 7, 2017
  3. revs

    revs ~Revs~

    Looks like you are in the UK by that comment. You could always ask Rainbird. She is our "agent across the pond" so to speak. She may know of a reputable shop closer to your area.
  4. xXJarredXx

    xXJarredXx El Duderino Staff Member

    Laura is right with the blood born pathogens class. It also couldn't hurt to have some formal CPR training in case things go south for any reason (hopefully not). Apprenticeship is always the way to go for body modifications, it's a trade and cannot be learned in a class room, so if you can avoid it do not go to any of those "piercing or tattoo colleges" that seem to pop up from time to time.

    As far as pay, it really depends on the shop you work for. Most of the time they do take a percentage of whatever you sell. I've really only gotten tattoos in shops, but they artist doing my ink would take my design and listen to what I wanted, then quote me a price that he would be willing to do it for so that him and the shop could make some money off me. Again, with the equipment it will vary from shop to shop I'm sure. Some shops may have spare machines laying about, but some may just want you to use a machine you have.

    Not sure how it is there, but where I live (Texas in the states), most of the time you will start an unpaid apprenticeship doing things like setting up the shop, sweeping, making sure everything is stocked and clean for business. There is a term for this in the industry. It starts with shop and ends with a derogatory term for a female dog ;).

    Over time, you will watch your master show you the proper procedures for things like autoclaves, the importance of sanitation, the legalities of everything, how to line up piercings, what gauges you should use for different areas, etc and so on.

    Apprenticeships can take weeks to years, depending how fast you learn things, and when your mentor feels you are ready to stab an ultra sharp needle into another human for money. Sometimes shops will have contracts that say you have to work for them for a certain amount of time to prevent you from taking their training and jumping to a competitor's shop. Shops/mentors may also CHARGE for an apprenticeship as a way to subsidize the money they may lose training you instead of handling clients. It seems more common these days for people to charge for the privilege of taking you under their wing.

    I hope you can find someone good to teach you, the world can always use more trained and professional people doing body modifications. I see way too much work being done in basements and back alleys, and I'd be a hypocrite if I said I hadn't received or even given my VERY fair share of scratch work done in my house or other people's houses. Don't do this for any reason, if you have ever done piercings on yourself or other people, don't tell potential mentors that. They want you to learn their way, and not the way you have trained yourself to do it. It is always easier to train a blank slate, than to break down bad habits before training..

    That was a wall of text, sorry I just kept going on there for a while :) Good luck!
  5. jasonrose7

    jasonrose7 New Member

    thank you all for your replies :), this has helped me a lot as it gives me goals and things to do whilst seeking out an apprentice.
  6. mike

    mike Member

    you've received really good advice so far. first aid/pathogen training, and check out APP are probably the best starting places. that way a potential master will see you are serious, have some basic knowledge and are willing to learn.

    for your own knowledge, this website is full of information on various procedures/practices. so does BME.
    little gems of wisdom like this are all around these sites if you look.

    sometimes you see seminars on surface piercing or microdermals at conventions. i don't know how worth while they are, never been to one, just throwing it out there that they do exist.

    as for the pay aspect of things, all the professional piercers i know personally have their supplies provided and make around a 50% commission of the piercings they do. i have heard of other arrangements but this seems most common. depending on the shop, some also offer commission on jewelry sales.

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