Owning your own tattoo business is one of the most rewarding experiences any tattoo artist can have. Besides seeing the result of your tireless efforts come to fruition, you get to enjoy all the perks of being a freelance tattoo artist. But like with any business, you still have to engage in standard business procedures, including maintaining client records.
Keeping an accurate record of all of your clients might seem pointless to a tattoo artist. People come in, shell out some cash for a new piece of ‘artwork’, and then leave. What’s there to keep a record of?
You might be surprised to find out there are actually a lot of important reasons for maintaining an accurate record of all your clients.
Accurate Client Records Ensure Your Marketing Is On-Point
The longer you work in the beauty industry, the more you’ll notice trends among your clients. Depending on your specialty, your client base may consist mostly of men or mostly of women. Most of your client may be younger, middle-aged, or older.
Maintaining an accurate record of your clients will allow you to determine your client base’s specific demographics. Once you’d done that, you can form or improve your marketing strategy.
For example, let’s say your specialty is large sleeve tattoos that are all the rage with the local young people. Most young people use the Internet and social media to find local businesses and events. So you should invest most of your marketing in platforms such as Facebook, Instagram, and your personal website.
But what if your client base is mostly older people?
Older people are less likely to turn to the Internet. They prefer “word of mouth” marketing. In this case, setting up booths at local business events and putting up the occasional flyer is the way to go.
Adding An Extra Touch Of Client Service
Client records have more uses than just market analysis. They act as a “memo system” that lets you keep notes about your clients.
One key point of ensuring any business’s success is providing excellent client service. Noting what kind of tattoo’s your clients like and what subjects they like to talk about will help you prepare for when they next make an appointment. Likewise, keeping a client record will help you remember which clients are more difficult to deal with than others.
Another “extra touch” of client service that maintaining client records will allow you to provide is sending out sale coupons and appointment reminders. You can also use your client records to send out holiday greeting cards to regular clients. That sort of service says, “I appreciate your business, and I care about you as a person.”
Maintaining An Accurate Sales Record For Tax Purposes
When you do freelance work or own your own business, you have to remember to set aside a certain portion of your earnings for taxes. That portion is roughly 30%.
It is also important that you maintain a paper trail of all transactions in case the IRS disputes the amount you say you earned. If you don’t, you will likely have to elect to pay whatever the IRS says you owe, regardless of whether or not it’s fair.
This is where maintaining client records can come in handy. If you keep track of every sale you make, you will have a record of how much you’ve earned. That will give you the proof you need concerning how much you truly owe the government.
Of course, the IRS could keep questioning you regarding how much you earned. Because of this possibility, you should hire an accountant to file your taxes. If you’re called into court due to your taxes, you may need to bypass an accountant and hire a CPA to represent you.
Additionally, you should keep a record of all of your business expenses. When you turn in your earnings, you can claim those expenses and have their amounts subtracted from the amount you owe.
Keeping Track Of Your Schedule
Client records don’t just prevent dire situations such as ending up in court over your taxes. They also help you do simple things like keeping track of your schedule.
Some clients make monthly appointments when getting a large tattoo done. In the case of these clients, keeping a record of when they come in will help you keep a record of your own schedule.
Ways To Keep Accurate Client Records
There are multiple ways to maintain accurate client records. Options include the following.
Old-school business owners will be familiar with the various paper methods for keeping records. Such methods include index cards, Rolodexes, and appointment books.
While maintaining a paper copy of records can’t hurt, relying on it is ill-advised. Paper copies can’t be searched or sorted as easily as electronic copies, and they often feature only a small amount of space for notes. Plus, paper copies take up space and are subject to damage in the event of a flood or fire.
Nowadays, electronic records are the much-preferred method of record-keeping. The only room they take up is the space on your hard drive, and each record is limitless in terms of how much information they can hold. Plus, you can search through or sort them at the click of a mouse.
Another advantage of electronic records is they can be backed up easily. So in the event of a virus or mishap with your computer, you’ll still have a copy of your files. There are a variety of record-keeping software programs available on the market, from eFileCabinet to PaperTracer to Shelf. Microsoft Excel is also a great basic record-keeping program that allows you to add and analyze numbers.
Cloud storage primarily functions as a way to back up files via a limitless Internet storage space. Many cloud storage units back up files automatically, so you don’t have to fiddle with it and chance messing up any of your records.
Although it isn’t as common as storing files on your computer, some companies elect to keep records in a cloud storage unit. For example, Google Sheets is an excellent cloud alternative to Excel for storing basic records.