Your company name is important. It’s your first impression, and it’s how people will remember you. You don’t want to be the business with a forgettable name. So, when you’ve got that perfect name in mind, that clever alliteration or meaningful acronym, you might think about reserving it before someone else does.
Naming your company is one of the first official steps when starting an LLC in Hawaii. In certain situations, it may be beneficial to reserve a business name while you’re preparing to bring your business idea to life.
In this article, we’ll explain when reserving a business name can be helpful and guide you through all the steps involved.
The state of Hawaii does not require you to reserve a business name before forming your LLC. Rather, it’s an option for those who would like exclusive rights to a specific name. If you’re ready to start your business, you can proceed directly to your Articles of Organization.
Maybe it took you sleepless nights of brainstorming, or maybe you thought of it while sitting at a traffic light. No matter how you came up with your memorable LLC name, you’ll want to make sure that it’s available and ready to use when you file your Hawaii LLC registration.
You have the option to reserve your LLC name, but it’ll cost you a $10 fee. Overall, it’s cheaper to skip this fee and simply start your business, which will lock in your name automatically.
However, there are cases where you may not be ready to officially start your business. Filing an application to reserve your business name gives you “dibs” and ensures that competitors aren’t able to snag it while you’re preparing for launch.
If your business name is unique, including unusual spellings or characters and/or family names, it may not be necessary to reserve a Hawaii business name ahead of time. Plus, paying the extra state fee to reserve your business name could be a waste of resources if you’re planning to launch your business soon after.
Got a name in mind? Perfect. Follow these steps to reserve it.
Before submitting your application to reserve your business name, you first need to check name availability by performing a Hawaii LLC name search. Enter your desired name in the search bar and if no results show up, that name is yours to claim! However, if it returns a result that is exactly the same or deceptively similar, you’ll have to head back to the drawing board. Don’t forget that you also need to comply with other business entity name restrictions from the state of Hawaii (find them all here). All good? If your name is compliant and available, let out a sigh of relief — you’re ready to reserve it or form your LLC.
The Hawaii Business Express online portal is the quickest way to lock in your name reservation. Click “Use QuickFile” on the right side of the page and, after creating an account, choose Form X-1: Application for Reservation of Name and follow the onscreen instructions.
If you’re a hard copy kind of person, postal mail is a good option too. Download and complete Form X-1 — either electronically or in black ink — and mail it to:
Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
Business Registration Division
P.O. Box 40
Honolulu, Hawaii 96810
Or, if you’re out and about in Honolulu, you can hand-deliver it to:
335 Merchant Street
Honolulu, Hawaii 96810
One last option: you can also send it via fax to (808) 586-2733
No matter how you submit the form, a name reservation costs $10. The online system will automatically prompt you to pay with a credit card. Otherwise, you can pay via check made payable to the “Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.”
Anyone planning to do business within the state of Hawaii can reserve an entity name. Filing your name reservation prevents another entity from using that name to conduct business in the state during the time of your hold. An entity name reservation in the state of Hawaii will give you exclusive rights to your name for 120 days.
If you don’t form your LLC within this window, your reservation will expire and your name will be free game once again. Since there is no option to renew your reservation, it’s important to be thoughtful about your timing. If you’re farther than 120 days away from launching your LLC, consider holding off on your name reservation.
Come up with a better name? Canceling your reservation is easy. Just send a signed letter of cancellation to the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA), Business Registration Division at P.O. Box 40, Honolulu, Hawaii 96810. Or, you can simply allow it to expire.
Your LLC name is an important part of the business. If you’re not ready to launch your business, but you’ve got a perfect name and you think someone else might claim it, consider reserving it.
However, if your business is ready for takeoff, use our comprehensive guide to forming an LLC in Hawaii to get started instead. This way, rather than paying an additional $10 for the name reservation application, you’ll only pay the one-time $50 Hawaii LLC formation fee to claim your name and form the LLC at the same time. $10 isn’t a fortune by any means, but this will at least save you the hassle of reserving a name and registering an LLC separately.
As a business owner, you have a lot to think about. Pile on the responsibility of handling state correspondence, LLC tax information, and more while keeping your LLC compliant, and you’ve got yourself a pretty full plate.
Sometimes the best move is to let someone else take care of the paperwork for you. This way, you can sleep easy knowing you’ll never miss a deadline or compliance requirement with the state. While LegalZoom is by far the most well-known LLC formation service and has decent overall value, ZenBusiness is an entrepreneur favorite. Other than that, IncFile and Northwest are two other popular options with appeals of their own.
$0 + state fee and takes 5-10 minutes
In Hawaii, businesses cannot use the terms “financial institution,” “bank,” “banker,” “banking,” “banc,” “savings bank,” “savings and loan,” “savings association,” “financial services loan company,” “credit union,” “trust company,” “intrapacific bank,” “international banking corporation,” or “trust,” unless authorized by the state.
No. In fact, Alabama is the only state that requires entrepreneurs to reserve a business name before forming an LLC. In Hawaii and the other 48 states, this is an optional and largely unnecessary step.
The state of Hawaii is home to more than 105,000 small businesses. Entrepreneurs of all backgrounds and business types find that Hawaii is a great place to own and operate a small business.
The Hawaii chapter of the Small Business Development Center is a great place to start, as they offer a wide variety of tools and resources for Hawaii LLCs. The U.S. Small Business Administration’s Hawaii District Office is another valuable resource, and the state’s Business Development and Support Division also has plenty of good info.
The overall costs of operating a Hawaii LLC can vary considerably based on the specifics of your business. However, we created a helpful guide to help you identify and plan for every expense your LLC will face in this state.
The answer to this question lies in your personal preferences, but we can give some general pointers. An attorney will cost the most by a mile, but also provides expertise you won’t find with the other options. The DIY route is free of charge but can require quite a bit of legwork and provides no peace of mind that the process is being completed correctly.
Using an LLC service means your business will be formed by professionals who know what they’re doing, while also costing significantly less than a lawyer. This “best of both worlds” attribute is what makes LLC services our preferred option.
Hawaii Business Resources
How to Reserve an LLC Name in all 50 States
We break down the LLC Name Reservation process for all 50 states. View all of our guides below.
Let's Get Started