Would you get a tattoo for a 15% raise?

A Brooklyn-based real estate agency offers staffers a hefty pay increase if they get inked with the firm's logo.

By Bruce Kennedy May 3, 2013 7:14AM

A tattoo artist preparing to tattoo a man's arm (© Halfdark/Getty Images)It might give a whole new meaning to company branding. Scores of employees at a Brooklyn, N.Y.-based realty company are earning fatter paychecks after getting the firm's logo tattooed on their bodies.


About 40 employees at Rapid Realty have made the jump and gotten themselves inked. And in return, company owner Anthony Lolli is giving each tattooee a 15% pay raise. Lolli said the tattoos weren't his idea but were a brainstorm after a loyal employee did it voluntarily, in an apparent show of team spirit.


"He calls me up, he says 'Hey Anthony, I’m getting the logo on me,'" Lolli told WCBS-TV. "I show up at the shop and I'm like 'this is cool, how can I repay you?'"


The idea soon snowballed among Rapid Realty staffers. One of them, Stephanie Barry got her tattoo several weeks ago, and now has a permanent pay raise for every real estate transaction she makes.


"I was like, why am I throwing my money away?" she told a reporter.


Another employee, Joseph Tighe, has been working for the company only a month -- but he's already sporting a large logo tattoo on his left arm.


"My wife was a little concerned but I said, you know what, it was the best commitment I could think of," he said.


Rapid Realty has over 60 offices on the East Coast and about 1,100 employees. There are no size or location requirements for the tattoo, which is also paid for by the company.


This isn't the first time tattoos as advertising have drawn media notice. You might remember the fellow who had Mitt Romney's campaign logo tattooed on the right side of his face for a $5,000 fee -- but after the election said he was getting it removed.


And there's also the question about what these employees might do if they leave the company -- since tattooed employees are still a controversial topic in many workplaces.


Meanwhile, Rapid Realty owner Lolli says he doesn't yet have his company's logo tattoo, but he plans to eventually get one.


More on moneyNOW

May 3, 2013 12:01PM
Why would having a tattoo keep them from getting another job?  Only idiots get tattoos on a visable place they can't cover up if needed.  I work in an office and have a large tattoo on my arm but nobody knows it is there because I must wear long sleeve dress shirts and suits.
May 3, 2013 2:51PM
I pass.  I would never deface myself by getting a tatoo even for a 15% pay raise.  I can just see the lawsuits coming as I am sure someone will figure out a way to say this is not fair. 
May 3, 2013 12:46PM
I don't really dig tattoos, but I am a state employee in a five year pay freeze. Having the state seal inked on my *ss for a 15% raise might well be worth it.
May 3, 2013 6:16PM
What % raise to you get if you give the boss a hummer who has the corporate logo tattooed on his ****?
May 3, 2013 1:05PM
As a potential customer, that's a definite turn-off. I'd look for another RE agency and agent if I saw the agent had a company logo. Ugg on the tattoo and ugg on the corporate identity!
May 3, 2013 12:44PM
the tat would be ok for a raise,but not the stupid company logo,REALLY,who would be dumb enough to do this?   that is f**kin stupid!
May 3, 2013 2:23PM
Is this not illegal... to offer raises only if you get a tattoo?
May 3, 2013 11:37AM

A re-post from another blogger -- worth being posted on every msn story.


Jeff, maybe you missed Congress’ latest change to the STOCK Act. Are you sitting down? They just, very quietly, gutted the law that was supposed to stop insider trading… seriously.

On April 11, Congress voted to eliminate the transparency provisions that would have made not just their trades, but the trades of everyone close to elected officials (staffers, aides, lobbyists) available to the general public. You know – the part that mattered. It also delayed until next year the requirement to post financial disclosure forms online. The vote was unanimous. It all went down in a matter of seconds. And Obama signed it into law on April 15.
These people are crooks. They write laws to protect their criminal activity. And so far, they are untouchable.
May 6, 2013 11:57PM
Nothing says "I'm an idiot" like a tattoo, nothing.
May 6, 2013 11:58AM
I can see a discrimination law suite coming from this as people who cant get a tattoo for religious beliefs will be hurt by this since they cant get the raise they will not make equal pay ever.
May 5, 2013 1:04AM

Are potential customers going to be impressed by this company and its employees with this gimmick, resulting in 15% higher sales than without the gimmick?  Will employee productivity improve by at least 15%?  I don't think the company will get much "return on investment". 


Also, while the pay raise that these employees receive is very significant, especially in this economy, is it worth the permanent mark on their bodies?  I think they might be getting to little a benefit.  I would want a contract guaranteeing my employment until legal retirement age, standard minimum 5% raises from the second year until retirement, plus excellent pension benefits.  Basically if I get a permanent mark with the company logo, in exchange, this company should guarantee my income forever. 

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