As of late I have pretty much gotten over my love affair with paper. Really the only time I use it is between the printer and the thermofax machie and that is it. That said, it brings me down whenever I walk into the shop and see piles of consent forms that no one ever really looks at or reads. Also after watching Gabriel Ripleys video on Building a Great Tattoo Business I have decided to start keeping a lot better notes about who I am working on and what they want or are after.
So I’ve looked around quite a bit. For the past year I have been wanting to build a Consent form app but couldn’t really make it happen. Then I saw that Voluta tattoo Digital made one, but low and behold it is only for iPhone and iPad. If you know me, you know that I cannot stand Apple shit, so in waiting for Voluta Digital to get with the program and make and android or windows app I decided to see what else I could find as well as the benefits and drawbacks of each.
The first two were obvioulsly the afore mentioned and then someone else suggested Inktd.com . Obviously any help that we can get to be a little more streamlined and professional in our industry is great, however I do get a little tired of people just wrapping up something with a tattoo name tag (and price tag) on it when there are better free products out there. Inktd isnt even a company that can take a form, it is just a calendar and for that the calendar included with a google account is much better, but I will touch on that later. The Voluta app looked pretty cool, but I had no apple products to try it out. It is a semi customizeable app that allows you to make a form legal in your state and even take a picture of a drivers license. The one thing is that it is a subscription service. I do like however that you can buy a flat number of forms and use them as you go instead of a monthly subscription. The main thing for me was that it was pretty straight forward about just being for one purpose, but it does have a nice black theme that I really like. The issue for me is that they require you to upload the forms to their cloud, and I really do not need that one specific part
Thinking about all of the data I wanted to keep track of I decided that I would look into the Google suite of programs. Low and behold they have a form builder program and the data collected on the forms can alo be presented graphically at the push of a button which I really like. There are many skins and themes available and you can easily upload your own pictures to make the form your own, and you can even embed this form on your site or in an email, and best of all it is already integrated into everything that I do and the information is accessible from anywhere. The issue? Sadly at this time google cannot take a uploads (which I allow my customers for reference or shots of coverups) nor can it access the camera on your device to get a picture of the ID.
After that I found Canvas, at gocanvas.com. It doesnt have a dark theme, and it IS a straight up subscrition service, but aside from that it is the most fluid and customizeable app that I found. It has a professional feel and I just have my customers fill out the form on a tablet and send it on in. It can take pictures of ID’s or existing tattoos and do file uploads straight from the device. the service is like $20 a month (and depending on if you are alone or with a shop this could be better or worse than Voluta, but the trick is that in that month you have unlimited uploads and can use an unlimited number of forms (they call them apps) Additionally, you get a PDF of all of the forms and you have many delivery options, I currently have it set to save to my Drive account and then I download them to the local machine periodically. You may also download .csv files of the results and place them into google sheets to better track the data being given in the forms themselves.
For me, Canvas is so far the one, but it is far from a one stop shop. I have decided that the best thing for me is to use a couple of different methods. I have just a regular form for consultations on my site, a google form that I can send in an email if I need to, and a Canvas App that I can have a customer fill out on a tablet if they come in to the shop. I also made a consent form which calls for my signature at the end so I get a chance to review the form, at this point I sign and save it, after the tattoo I open it back up and record the final price of the session along with any notes and then upload the form. Later I will import that data to google to keep a contact list, keep track of what people are spending with me and figure out how to promote myself to my audience better.
The only right way is to test out as many of these business and productivity apps as possible to see what works best for you and your process, this is what worked for me. Then don’t be afraid to change what is working well for something that will be perfect.
Thanks for reading, if you have any questions about the business side of tattooing in the 21st century please contact me!