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18 Business Ideas In Hawaii

Written by:

Edited by:

Reviewed by: Daniel Javor

Published on September 8, 2022

Updated on November 12, 2022

18 Business Ideas In Hawaii

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18 Business Ideas In Hawaii

Hawaii, the only state outside the US mainland, is an archipelago in the Pacific Ocean. It is famous for its beaches, surfing, aloha shirts, and simple outdoor activities like hiking, biking and sitting on the beach. 

Its booming tourism industry presents plenty of opportunities for entrepreneurs, like starting a tour agency or offering landscape services to hotels and restaurants. Other possible businesses include photography studios, transportation companies, and real estate brokerage. Be guided by our list of business ideas in Hawaii below. Good luck!

1. Tour Guide

Tour Business

Do you love to travel and see new places? Why not start your own tour business? It’s a lot of work, but it can be a very rewarding endeavor. The US tour industry was expected to recover in 2021 after total revenue fell below $6 billion in 2020 due to the pandemic.
Earnings were predicted to increase to more than $8 billion in 2022 due to pent-up demand for travel. Both land and air borders of the US have been reopened to vaccinated tourists. 

Tour operators are primarily responsible for arranging tour packages that they offer to tourists and travel agencies. Because of the pandemic, demand is rising for tour packages in the countryside, national parks and the outdoors. Before you can start operating, you need to pick a niche, choose your target demographics, and understand the competition. You also have to familiarize yourself with the laws and regulations, such as the seller of travel laws, that tour operators, travel agencies and other tourism-related businesses must follow.

2. Hotel

How to start a hotel

The hotel and lodgings market took a massive hit during the pandemic, but now as our economies are opening up and people are moving around again, it’s coming back strong! The industry is expecting double-digit growth in 2022 and beyond, so if you’re interested in hospitality and helping people enjoy their time away from home, now is the perfect time to ride this wave.

Opening a hotel can be a very rewarding experience, but it will require hard work and a considerable investment. The most crucial element, of course, will be the hotel building itself. Assuming you do not plan to build a new hotel yourself, which would likely cost millions of dollars, you’ll need to either buy an established hotel or find a building that can be purchased and converted into a hotel relatively easily. Once that’s done, you’ll want to launch a strong marketing campaign to attract your first guests. 

As long as you provide excellent service and a great stay, you’ll be on the path to success.

3. Landscaping

How to start a landscaping business

If you love working on your yard and spending time outdoors, you might consider starting your own landscaping business. Boosted by the recent real estate boom, landscaping and lawncare have seen steady growth in recent years. That expansion is expected to continue, so now’s an excellent time to get in on the action and ride this wave to success. 

You could offer a wealth of services, from designing yards and gardens to tree planting, trimming, mowing and more, and you could focus on residential customers or businesses, or go for broke and aim for both! First, you’ll need to brush up on your landscape design and maintenance skills. Fortunately, the US government in 2019 partnered with the leading landscapers’ association to launch a national landscapers’ apprenticeship program to train more skilled workers. 

You’ll also need to invest in quality equipment, as well as a reliable truck. After that, to attract clients you’ll want to build a simple, appealing website and launch some strong marketing to get the word out. From there, you should start seeing the business roll in as you enjoy the scent of freshly cut grass.

4. Furniture Store

How to start a furniture store business

Who doesn’t love comfortable, appealing furniture? These days, when most of us are spending more and more time at home, it’s no surprise that the furniture industry is seeing strong, steady growth. A furniture business is a great way to earn a living because you get to work with your hands and be creative and build products that help people live in a more comfortable home. 

But it’s not an easy business to get into. It takes a great deal of time and determination, as well as a good amount of money, to determine your offerings and prices, produce and buy inventory and rent out a quality space. You also need to have an eye for detail and a high level of patience because customers rarely buy a bed set or dresser on a whim. 

But if you do everything right, you may find your products in demand sooner than expected! You could also refurbish and refinish aged and antique pieces, which often go for very high prices. There’s a lot of opportunity in furniture for the sharp entrepreneur.

5. Retail Store

Retail Business

Are you thinking of starting your own retail business? If so, you’re in good company. The retail industry is a huge part of the economy, and it’s only getting bigger. But starting a retail business isn’t easy. There are a lot of things to think about, from choosing the right location to setting up your payment system. And let’s not forget the most important step: deciding what you’ll be selling! 

A good way to choose your product offerings is to first do some research — see what’s out there, and more importantly what’s not. You’re looking for what sells well, as well as a market gap to fill.  Once you know your products, finding a great location for your store will be the next big step. However, you might want to initially run your retail business out of your home. This would significantly reduce your costs and give you time to build a brand and a reputation. 

After a year or two, assuming your products are well received by the market, you’ll be in a much better position to find a great location and run a successful retail outlet.

6. Restaurant

How to start a restaurant business

So you’ve decided to start a restaurant business. Congratulations! Opening a restaurant is no easy task, but it can be very lucrative. The food service industry in the US is expected to bounce back from pandemic slump due to pent-up demand and generate $900 billion in sales in 2022. 

The pandemic, however, has reshaped the industry and many restaurant operators believe it would take a year or more before business conditions return to normal. But if you’re keeping track of the trends, you would establish a digital presence and work on offering delivery services before opening your doors.  

There are many other things to consider. First, it’s important to decide what type of restaurant you want to open. Do you want to serve classic American fare, or specialize in a certain cuisine? Do you want to do casual or fine dining? What about a family-style restaurant? Next, it’s a good idea to research the competition in your area and come up with a plan to set yourself apart. Starting a restaurant can be tough, but if you’re prepared for the challenges ahead, it can be an incredibly rewarding experience.

7. Food Trailer

How to start a food truck business

More than 35,000 food trucks are currently operating across the US, and the number is expected to rise as consumer spending increases. These food trucks prepare and serve food, ranging from hotdogs and tacos to ethnic menus and gourmet cuisine. They can be found on sidewalks and in parking lots and parks. If you’re an entrepreneur with a love of food, starting a food trailer business might be the perfect way to turn your passion into a career. 

Before you open your food trailer, it’s important that you research the market and see what other food trucks are serving. It’s a good idea to decide what kind of food to offer and find your own niche market. It would be easy to market your business if you come up with a unique offering or a fresh take on food truck fare. You will also need to comply with your state’s permit and licensing requirements. When you’re ready, take your truck to the park and start cooking!

8. Bar

How to Start a Bar

Are you looking to open your own bar? It can be a great way to make money. The bars and nightclubs industry in the US is slowly coming out of pandemic slump and the prospects are bright for a strong year ahead. There are more than 60,000 bars and nightclubs in the country, and there’s still room for more. Starting your own bar business now is the right thing to do.  

There are a few things you have to do before you launch your bar. Besides making sure that your business is legally compliant, it’s a good idea to be ready to adapt to the latest nightlife trends and shifting consumer tastes. A recent survey showed that more Americans would leave a bar if it gets too crowded or the music is too loud. More Americans are also choosing non-alcoholic drinks, low-alcohol cocktails, kombuchas, and other beverages with low to no-alcohol content. With careful planning and a great marketing strategy, you should be making big profits from your bar business soon.

9. Taxi

How to start a taxi business

Considering all the ride-sharing apps out there, you might be surprised to know that old-school taxis are not only surviving, but doing quite well. The US taxi and limo market is worth more than $66 billion and expected to see steady growth in the coming years. If you don’t mind driving and enjoy meeting strangers, starting a taxi business might be the right move for you. 

Getting started will require some real effort and investment. You’ll need to buy a reliable car, if you don’t already have one, plus reliable insurance and all the necessary permits. In some cities the car hire license can be a major expense, for instance a New York City taxi medallion costs $80,000. In other places, like $300 in Cleveland, not so much. Once you’ve all set up, it’s a good idea to build a website so people can find you, and you might want to offer an app as well, as most car services nowadays offer on-demand ordering. 

Finally, get creative with your marketing to stand out in a competitive market, provide excellent service and steady driving to your first few clients, and the good reviews and revenues should start pouring in.

10. Airbnb

How to start a airbnb business

If you’ve stayed in an Airbnb, you probably know how easy it can be. It’s like having a home away from home! Which is why the homestay segment of the hotel and lodgings market has seen explosive growth in recent years, with Airbnb leading the way. Renting out your home as an Airbnb is an easy and flexible way to earn income, whether you’re looking for a little extra money or hoping to build a serious business. 

The crucial first step is to make sure your home or apartment can be rented out for short-term stays. In many areas today, there are laws either banning Airbnb rentals or limiting them to a certain share of local units. If your place clears that hurdle, and is in an area with some tourist appeal, you’re already halfway there. If your home or apartment fails to meet one of these requirements, you might want to look into purchasing a home or apartment in an appealing destination, which you could then develop into a popular Airbnb. 

Whichever approach you choose, the most important step is delivering fantastic service to your guests. If you can achieve Superhost status, you’ll be well on your way to Airbnb success.

11. Real Estate

how to start a real estate business

The US real estate market has been booming in recent years, and is now worth nearly $400 billion and expected to see further growth in the years ahead. As an entrepreneur, you’re probably always on the look-out for new opportunities. Right now, with sales totals and home prices at record highs, real estate ranks among the largest and most promising markets. And best of all, you’ll be helping families settle down and build homes and communities. 

Of course, starting a real estate business isn’t as easy as getting out of bed. You’ll need to educate yourself about the market and obtain a real estate agent’s license. You’ll need to familiarize yourself with all of the relevant online tools and information to keep you updated on market trends, and find a local broker to partner with. Finally, you’ll need to set up a website and successfully market your home buying and selling abilities in order to stand out in a crowded marketplace. 

All that done, you’ll be ready to start building your real estate empire.

12. Photography

How to start a photography business

Are you an amateur photographer who loves snapping great images? Photography in the US is an $11 billion industry expected to see steady growth in the coming years, so now would be a great time to stretch your entrepreneurial wings and give it a shot. You could start your photography business from home and give the world beautiful photos while also making a good living. 

A crucial step will be finding your photographic niche. There’s a wide array of subjects to choose from. You could focus on personal portraits, fashion and culture photography, news and celebrities, or travel, nature and wildlife. Assuming you already have a professional-level camera, you’ll just need some great editing software and to build a website showing off your portfolio and listing your prices and services. With a bit of talent and determination, you could be snapping your way to success in no time!

13. Farm

How to start a farm business

Do you have a green thumb and always dreamed of starting your own farm? Well now is a great time to take the plunge, with countless people leaving cities for the countryside and looking to eat healthier, all-natural foods fresh from the farm. Farming is a trillion-dollar industry in the US, and offers considerable opportunity for the hard-working entrepreneur. 

And there will be hard work. Farming is not as easy as putting on overalls. You’ll need to find and purchase the right piece of land. You’ll need to choose your crops. Maybe heirloom tomatoes, zucchini and soy beans? Next, work the soil and make sure it’s ready for planting, then keep your fields clear of insects and blight. You’ll also want to decide on livestock. Will you have chickens, lambs, cows, pigs? There’s so much work to do on the farm, but you’ll get to work in the great outdoors, providing nourishing foods to your family and community.

14. Transportation Service

How to Start a Medical Transportation Business

Goods and people always need to be moved from one place to the next, which is why reliable transport is always in demand. Transportation and logistics are both fast-growing industries, and you could ride the wave by starting your own transport business and helping the world get moving.

The first step is to identify the kind of transport service you want to offer. You might offer rideshare and taxi services, group transportation and shuttle, logistics and courier services, or something else entirely. Once you have identified your niche market you should decide whether to open a hub and office space, or to be based out of your home. If you choose the latter, understand that your website will be absolutely crucial, and must be impeccably professional to attract clients.

But before you launch, be sure to research the necessary permits and licences required for the line of transport you choose. The last thing you want is to face massives fines just as business starts booming.

15. Virtual Assistant

How to start a virtual assistant business

The job didn’t even exist 20 years ago, but now, thanks to new technologies and the sharp increase in remote work during the pandemic, the virtual assistant industry is booming. After years of strong growth, the market is expected to be worth more than $4 billion by 2025. That means now is a fantastic time to start your own virtual assistant business. 

To be clear, we’re talking about a human, not a digital or AI-powered, assistant, who provides administrative, technical, and creative services to clients remotely, via the internet. If you have a strong business skillset, you can get started with a minimal investment and run the company out of your own home while serving clients anywhere in the world. You could also add more skills over time, increasing your revenue streams and the rates you’re able to charge. 

With hard work and a bit of luck, you’ll soon be helping businesses run more smoothly and efficiently while making good money for yourself.

16. Barber Shop

How to start a barbershop business

Are you looking for a profitable business? If so, then consider starting a barber shop. A barber earns at least $35,000 per year, according to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics. You’re not likely to run out of clients because millions of Americans regularly get a haircut. According to a study by Modern Salon Media, about half of American men are likely to get their hair cut every four weeks. 

Before you get started, you’ll need to get a barber license to be able to cut hair for money. The rules vary from state to state, but generally, a barber must complete a barber program or undergo apprenticeship or both, pass the licensure examination, and be at least 16 years old. Most states also require candidates to either complete high school or pass the GED. 

Once you hurdle these and other requirements, it’s a good idea to set up your shop in an area with high foot traffic. With careful planning and effective marketing, your business can be profitable.

17. Travel Agency

How to start a travel agency business

Do you love to travel? Are you always planning your next vacation? Why not start your own travel agency business? It’s a great way to share your love of travel with others, and it can be a very lucrative business. Travel agencies in the US are expected to rebound strongly from pandemic slump and see a 38% increase in revenue in 2022 due to pent-up demand. The market is predicted to grow steadily through 2026.  

If you have the resources, starting a travel agency business can be a breeze. But first, you need to identify your target market. Will you be focusing on domestic or international travel? A lot of Americans are going on overnight trips for vacations or business purposes, providing an opportunity for travel agencies to earn money. Arranging trips for international visitors is also possible now that the US has eased travel requirements. Once you find your niche and draw up a business plan, you should work on establishing your brand and promoting it to find clients.

18. Hair Salon

How to start a hair salon

Hair is big business, worth more than $46 billion in the US alone. More importantly, it’s set to grow nearly 40% by 2027, which means there’s no shortage of opportunity for bold and talented entrepreneurs. If you’re good with hair and have a strong sense of style, you could start your own salon and help people look better and feel more confident while making a good living. 

It can be a very rewarding experience, but it’s not without its challenges. Assuming you don’t plan to be a mobile salon and make house calls, your first order of business will be to find a great space, preferably in a location with good foot and vehicular traffic. Next, you’ll want to build it out in a way that suits your personal style and provides a comfortable place for your clientele. Finally, you’ll want to decide on your products and services — will you offer only styling, or also shampooing and dying? Maybe you’ll want to offer added services like nails and head massages? 

Once you’ve decided all that, and gotten your required licenses and permits, you’ll just need to do some strong marketing across social media and in your area to get those first customers coming through the door.