On Pricing and Being Too Expensive

Many clients want to have an idea of what to expect cost-wise before they go get a piercing. Which is entirely understandable, however, pricing can be a difficult subject to navigate when it comes to body piercing because there is so much room for variation. This is why many piercers do not have a price list available online. In some cases, not posting a price list also serves to dissuade clients from making blind price comparisons. While it isn’t unreasonable to want to know what you’ll be spending, it’s important to remember that price shopping isn’t always the best idea when it comes to your body and what you wear in it – the cheapest option is not often the best or safest option. A reputable body piercer or piercing studio will likely never claim to be your cheapest option, but that’s with good reason.

So, what’s the reason? Why is it so expensive? Well, there are several factors that go into deciding what a piercing will cost:

  • Materials needed to cleanly perform the piercing:
    1. Personal protective equipment (PPE) – gloves, face masks
    2. Single-use supplies and implements – markers, alcohol pads, iodine swabs, sterile barriers, needles, needle blanks/receiving tubes, etc.
  • Implant-grade jewelry suited to properly healing a fresh piercing:
    1. ASTM F-136 titanium or ASTM F-138 steel
    2. Niobium
    3. Nickel-free solid gold
  • Skill and knowledge needed to perform the piercing safely and capably:
    1. Bloodborne pathogens and first aid/CPR certification
    2. Piercing-specific coursework and training – attending the APP Conference, the Fakir Intensives, and/or seminars held by independent educators

Everything used during a piercing costs money, and those costs have increased exponentially over the last few years. In fact, when prices for medical supplies skyrocketed a couple of years ago at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, many piercers implemented fees for PPE that were charged in addition to their usual piercing fees. Though the cost of some of these supplies has come back down, it has not returned to pre-COVID prices and likely won’t. Rent, overhead expenses, and the costs associated with jewelry manufacturing have also all increased over the last few years. Even continuing education has become more expensive, especially if it requires travel. So, if it seems like it used to be more affordable to get a quality piercing in the not-too-distant past, maybe it was.

But why are some piercers still cheaper than others? Simply put, if it seems too good to be true, it probably is. The easiest way to keep costs low is to cut corners; that’s true for any profession, industry, or trade. “You get what you pay for,” right? Piercers are trusted with their clients’ bodies, though, and taking shortcuts is unethical and can be dangerous, as it poses a health risk to their clients.

Of course, nobody is forcing you to go to a reputable studio to get pierced. You are free to get pierced wherever it’s cheapest. Just be aware of what you’re paying for and meter your expectations accordingly ­– in other words, if you choose the cheapest option, don’t be shocked if you encounter problems and difficulties healing.

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