With the body modification industry riding out its fad status with a steady stream of clients for the past 15 years, there’s no question that there’s a demand for body piercers. Although the industry is largely unregulated by most states, many body piercers must undergo training that may involve an apprenticeship or other extended training to qualify for employment.
The average annual salary of body piercers based upon advertised positions in 2010 was $26,000, according to Salary List. Estimates by other sources claim body piercers have a much higher earning potential, with Career Search claiming body piercers can earn around $50,000 annually, although Body Piercing Secrets sets the average piercer’s salary at around $35,000 per year. In many cases, body piercers work out of tattoo parlors and double as tattoo artists. In this double-duty case, tattoo artists/body piercers may expect to earn between $19,629 and $39,561.
In some markets it’s customary for a patron to tip a body piercer in addition to purchasing the jewelry he installs and the fee for the piercing. These earnings are not included in salary and wage offers from employers, and may substantially increase a body piercer’s earning power.
Most professional body piercers will need to foot the bill for most of their own medical care, as 66 percent of body piercing positions offered no medical benefits as of November 2010, according to PayScale, Inc. Thirty-four percent of body-piercer jobs receive medical benefits, 28 percent receive dental coverage and 22 percent are included in a corporate vision plan.
Other Job Duties
In smaller shops, body piercers are expected to perform miscellaneous duties, such as reception and light custodial chores while they’re not engaged with a customer.
Owners of a piercing studio may make considerably more than their employees. Secrets of Body Piercing reports that a body piercing store owner may earn up to $100,000 a year. Shop owners must contend with taxation, licensing requirements, employee management issues, bookkeeping and general small-business concerns.