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23 Business Ideas In Hawaii

Written by:

Esther is a business strategist with over 20 years of experience as an entrepreneur, executive, educator, and management advisor.

Edited by:

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

23 Business Ideas In Hawaii

Hawaii, the only US state outside North America, is famous for its beaches, surfing, aloha shirts, and outdoor activities like hiking, biking, and sunbathing. 

Its booming tourism industry presents plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs, like starting a tour agency or offering landscaping to hotels and restaurants. Other possible businesses include a photography studio, a transport company, or real estate brokerage.

Use our list of great Hawaii business ideas below as your guide — and good luck!

1. Rental Property

How to start a rental property business

Rental property in Hawaii capitalizes on the state’s robust tourism industry and the allure of its tropical landscape. As a high-demand destination, property owners benefit from a year-round influx of visitors seeking accommodations, which can command premium rates, especially during peak seasons. To start this business, secure properties in prime locations, understand the nuances of local real estate laws, and offer unique, culturally rich experiences to stand out in a competitive market. Efficiently managing your properties through technology can also streamline operations and enhance guest satisfaction.

2. Health Care

How to start a home health care business

The aging population in Hawaii presents a growing market for health care services. Starting a health care business here means addressing a critical need, especially considering the state’s unique geographic challenges and the scarcity of comprehensive care in more remote areas. Focus on delivering high-quality, accessible services, perhaps through mobile health or telemedicine, to tap into an essential and expanding sector. It’s also crucial to navigate Hawaii’s health care regulations adeptly and establish strong relationships with local communities and healthcare providers.

3. Food Delivery

How to start a food delivery business

Hawaii’s geographical layout and the lifestyle of its residents make food delivery services an appealing venture. The islands’ spread-out communities and traffic congestion in urban areas like Honolulu increase the convenience factor of such services. To get started, ensure you have a reliable logistics framework and consider partnerships with local eateries to offer a diverse range of food options that cater to both residents and tourists. An understanding of the local palate and dietary preferences can set your service apart, while employing user-friendly technology will help to maximize efficiency and customer satisfaction.

4. Construction Company

How to start a construction company

With Hawaii’s growing population and constant need for infrastructure development, construction businesses have substantial opportunities. The trend towards sustainable building and the renovation of tourism-related facilities provide niche markets to explore. Starting a construction business here requires a deep understanding of local building codes and environmental regulations, which are particularly stringent due to the islands’ unique ecosystems. Establishing strong supply chains and fostering relationships with local labor pools will be key to success in the Hawaiian construction landscape.

5. Insurance Company

How to start a insurance agency

In Hawaii, the insurance business is bolstered by the state’s exposure to natural disasters, such as hurricanes and volcanic eruptions, which drives demand for comprehensive coverage. To establish a successful insurance company, prioritize understanding the specific needs of Hawaii’s residents and businesses, tailor your products accordingly, and educate clients on the importance of insurance in mitigating financial risk. Building trust through excellent customer service and local engagement is crucial in the island’s close-knit communities.

6. Tour Guide

tour guide business idea

Hawaii’s rich cultural heritage and natural beauty make it an ideal location for a tour guide business. Tapping into the continuous flow of eco-tourists and history enthusiasts, your business can offer immersive experiences that highlight the unique aspects of Hawaiian culture and landscapes. To start, gain in-depth knowledge of the locales, cultivate relationships with other tourism stakeholders, and ensure you have the necessary permits and insurance. Creating memorable and Instagram-worthy tours can generate word-of-mouth referrals and repeat business in this experience-driven economy.

7. Hotel

How to start a hotel

Launching a hotel in Hawaii can be lucrative given the islands’ status as a world-renowned vacation destination. The key is to offer differentiated experiences that embody the Hawaiian spirit and cater to the expectations of a diverse clientele. Start by conducting thorough market research to identify your niche, whether it’s luxury, eco-tourism, or cultural tourism. Building a strong online presence and leveraging digital marketing strategies to reach potential guests are also crucial steps. Remember, delivering exceptional hospitality and embracing sustainable practices will resonate well with today’s environmentally conscious travelers.

8. Landscaping

How to start a landscaping business

Hawaii’s unique flora and residents’ pride in their homes and businesses create a fertile ground for landscaping services. Your business can flourish by emphasizing indigenous plants and sustainable practices that respect Hawaii’s delicate ecosystems. Starting this business requires knowledge of local plant species, climate considerations, and a knack for landscape design that aligns with the aesthetics of the islands. Build a portfolio that showcases your ability to enhance natural beauty, which is a significant selling point in Hawaii’s market.

9. Furniture Store

How to start a furniture store business

In Hawaii, a furniture store can capitalize on the real estate market’s needs, from new homeowners seeking to furnish their residences to hotels and resorts updating their interiors. Your store should cater to a range of styles that reflect the island’s diverse cultures and the indoor-outdoor living that’s part of life here. When starting, consider offering pieces that can withstand the humidity and salt air, and explore partnerships with local artisans to feature unique, locally-made items that appeal to both residents and tourists looking for authentic Hawaiian décor. Building relationships with local real estate agents and interior designers can also be a strong avenue for referrals.

10. Retail Store

retail store business idea

A retail store in Hawaii can thrive by offering products that resonate with both the local population and the tourist market, which seeks authentic Hawaiian experiences and souvenirs. To start, curate a selection of goods that showcases the cultural diversity and craftsmanship of the islands, such as local art, apparel, and specialty food items. It’s essential to secure a location with high foot traffic, like near popular tourist destinations or in busy shopping districts. Building a robust online presence can extend your reach beyond the islands, turning occasional visitors into long-term customers.

11. Restaurant

How to start a restaurant business

Opening a restaurant in Hawaii can leverage the islands’ multicultural culinary traditions and fresh, local ingredients to create a standout dining experience. Concentrate on a concept that meshes with Hawaii’s lifestyle, be it farm-to-table, fusion cuisine, or authentic ethnic fare. Securing a location with high visibility to both tourists and locals is critical, as is designing a menu that reflects the local taste and seasonal availability of ingredients. Engage with the community and tourism boards, as their support can be invaluable for word-of-mouth and maintaining a steady flow of patrons.

12. Food Trailer

How to start a food truck business

A food trailer in Hawaii offers flexibility and lower overhead costs compared to a traditional restaurant, and it can go where the customers are—beaches, events, or urban centers. To succeed, create a standout menu that highlights local flavors and caters to the casual, outdoor-centric lifestyle of the islands. Navigating local regulations for mobile food vendors is a must, as is finding prime locations with high foot traffic. Engaging with social media can help build a following, inform customers of your locations, and drive demand for your mobile eatery.

13. Bar

How to Start a Bar

Establishing a bar in Hawaii can be quite promising, particularly if you tap into the local culture and the vibrant nightlife sought by tourists. Focus on crafting a unique theme or ambiance that encapsulates the island vibe—think tiki bars or sunset lounges. Location is pivotal; aim for areas with high tourist activity or where local social life is buzzing. To get started, navigate Hawaii’s liquor licensing laws carefully, and consider curating a selection of local brews and spirits to attract patrons interested in an authentic Hawaiian experience. Building a loyal customer base through events and live music can also differentiate your establishment in a competitive market.

14. Taxi

How to start a taxi business

The taxi service market in Hawaii is directly fueled by the tourism sector, which demands reliable transportation across the islands. Offering a taxi service can be profitable, especially if you focus on areas underserved by public transit or provide touristic routes not commonly covered by larger companies. When starting out, emphasize a fleet that’s comfortable and suited to the terrain, while also investing in a user-friendly booking system. Networking with hotels and travel agencies can provide a steady stream of customers. Remember, exceptional service and local drivers who act as informal ambassadors can enhance the tourist experience and promote repeat business.

15. Airbnb

How to start a airbnb business

Operating an Airbnb in Hawaii can capitalize on the islands’ high tourist turnover and preference for personalized accommodation experiences. Successful Airbnb hosts often offer more than just a place to stay; they provide local insights and added amenities tailored to adventure-seekers, honeymooners, or those looking for relaxation. Start by ensuring your property meets all local regulations and zoning laws for short-term rentals. Then, create an inviting space that encapsulates the Hawaiian charm and culture, and use professional photos and detailed descriptions to stand out on the platform. Maintaining high standards of hospitality and garnering positive reviews will be key to sustained success.

16. Real Estate

how to start a real estate business

Diving into the real estate market in Hawaii can be exceptionally profitable due to the state’s high property values and the desirability of living in or owning a piece of paradise. When starting, it’s imperative to understand the unique aspects of the local market, including land ownership laws and the impact of tourism on property demand. Building relationships with local communities and other real estate professionals can provide a competitive edge. Also, offering a mix of properties that appeal to both year-round residents and those looking for vacation homes or investment properties can help diversify your client base.

17. Photography

How to start a photography business

Hawaii’s stunning landscapes and vibrant culture create a high demand for photography services, from destination weddings to landscape and travel photography. To start a photography business, hone a portfolio that captures the essence of Hawaii’s diverse environments. Networking with local businesses in tourism, real estate, and event planning can secure a steady stream of clients. Embrace social media and online marketing to showcase your work and consider offering photography tours or workshops to share the islands’ beauty, capitalizing on both the local and tourist markets.

18. Farm

How to start a farm business

Starting a farm in Hawaii could be quite strategic, given the islands’ unique microclimates that allow for a variety of crops year-round, including specialty products like coffee, exotic fruits, and macadamia nuts. The farm-to-table movement and organic produce are particularly popular, providing a solid market base. Begin by thoroughly researching the most sustainable and profitable crops for your chosen locale, and consider direct sales to consumers through farmers’ markets or CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) programs. It’s also important to develop relationships with local restaurants and retailers who are looking to feature locally-sourced ingredients.

19. Transportation Service

How to Start a Medical Transportation Business

A transportation service in Hawaii can flourish by filling the gaps between public transit and the needs of tourists who want to explore the islands extensively. When launching this business, focus on reliable and flexible options that can include airport transfers, private tours, or shuttle services to remote attractions. Compliance with state transportation regulations and obtaining the necessary permits is crucial. Establishing a strong online presence and partnering with travel agencies and hotels can help drive customer acquisition. Remember, a transportation service that combines punctuality with local charm and knowledge can quickly build a loyal clientele.

20. Virtual Assistant

How to start a virtual assistant business

The virtual assistant industry in Hawaii can serve local businesses, busy professionals, and even support clients globally due to the advantage of different time zones. To get started, hone skills that are in high demand, such as digital marketing, scheduling, and customer service. Building a robust online presence to market your services, and perhaps even specializing in supporting Hawaii’s key sectors like tourism and real estate, can set you apart. Networking and word-of-mouth referrals are invaluable, so consider joining local business groups to establish your reputation.

21. Barber Shop

How to start a barbershop business

Setting up a barber shop in Hawaii can be a solid business move, tapping into the regular grooming needs of locals as well as tourists wanting to look their best during their vacation. When starting out, it’s vital to choose a location that has a high foot-traffic area and to create a welcoming atmosphere that reflects the island vibe. Stay on top of current trends, potentially offering services like beard grooming and scalp massages that cater to the evolving grooming market. Building community ties and offering exceptional service can make your shop a local staple.

22. Travel Agency

How to start a travel agency business

Establishing a travel agency in Hawaii can be a smart venture, exploiting the islands’ status as a top travel destination. Success hinges on crafting unique, custom travel experiences that go beyond generic tourist packages, capitalizing on the allure of Hawaii’s lesser-known spots and cultural experiences. Networking with local tour operators, accommodation providers, and activity organizers is essential for creating exclusive offerings. Stay abreast of travel trends and focus on digital marketing strategies to reach a global clientele planning their Hawaiian getaway. With the right alliances and an innovative approach, a travel agency can thrive in Hawaii’s vibrant tourism ecosystem.

23. Hair Salon

How to start a hair salon

Launching a hair salon in Hawaii can harness the steady demand from locals for personal grooming and style maintenance, alongside serving tourists seeking to look their best for special events or outings. For success, it’s crucial to secure a location that’s easily accessible to your target clientele and to create a relaxing environment that resonates with the island’s serene vibes. Staying abreast of the latest hair trends and techniques, offering exceptional customer service, and using social media to showcase your work can help in developing a loyal customer base. Remember to also offer products that protect against Hawaii’s humid climate, catering to specific hair care needs in the local market.


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23 Business Ideas In Hawaii