The first step in forming an LLC or corporation in Hawaii is to check and see whether the name is available to use. Each business entity that is registered with the Hawaii Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs (DCCA) must use a unique name. See our step-by-step guide to learn how to quickly search available names by using the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Business Entity Database.
Also See: Guide to Starting a Business in Hawaii
How To Do A Hawaii Corporation or LLC Business Name Search
Before forming an LLC, be sure to check for business name availability as each business entity must not already be registered with the state.
Step 1: Visit the Secretary of State
Visit the Hawaii Business Express website.
Step 2: Enter a Name
Enter the name you would like to use in the field. In this example, we will look up “The Pool Doctor” to see if it is available.”
Step 3: Review Results
When we search “The Pool Doctor,” we see 2 results. In order to reserve a business name, we have to pick a name that isn’t similar to a registered business. In this example, there is another business using the name. Note that even removing minor words like “The” isn’t significant enough to make the name unique.
We can find more information about the business by clicking on the link.
Step 4: Find Detailed Information
Here we can find more information about the business.
While the name “The Pool Doctor” by itself may not be available other variants are such as “Pool Physician” or “Pool Medic” are. Searching for those business names brings a result that says “There are no businesses for this search term.” While final approval is still with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs, it is likely available to register. Additionally, this screen also allows for the purchase of a Certificate of Good Standing, which proves the existence of the entity.
These are the basics of searching for a business name in Hawaii. Even when the name of the business you want is available, the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs will make a final determination at the time of filing to ensure the name you picked isn’t too similar to other registered names.
What information can be looked up in the database?
The database search can find several pieces of information about the business. Some of the highlights include:
- Business Name
- Business Type – Corporation, Limited Liability Company. Etc.
- Status – Active means the business is in good standing with the state and all reports and filing fees are up to date
- Purpose – Basic information about what the business does
- Registration Date – When the business was formed.
- Mailing Address – The address on file for the business entity. This can be a physical business address or an address where the company documents are stored.
- Registered Agent’s information – A Registered Agent is the singular point of contact for the entity should a legal, or tax notice needs to be sent to the business. This is often one of the owners, and if their home address is used, that address becomes public information. Many people find this concerning and use a Registered Agent service like Northwest Registered Agents so their home address isn’t listed.
- Date the entity was filed with the Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs
- Names of the officers and their title
How to Register a Trade Name for Sole Proprietorships and Partnerships
A Trade Name, also known as “Doing Business As,” DBA, Assumed Name or Fictitious Name is a name used by a sole proprietorship or partnership and is different from the owner’s legal name.
What are the requirements to name an LLC in Hawaii?
Before selecting the name of your Hawaii LLC, you will want to make sure the name meets all of the state requirements such as the correct usage of the entity designator and using a name that is distinguishable from other registered names.
Related: Hawaii LLC Name Requirements
Can an LLC name be reserved?
A business entity name may be reserved for up to 120 days. The state filing fee for the Reservation of Name is $10.
How do I form an LLC in Hawaii?
Before starting your business and forming an LLC, be sure to do the business entity search first to make sure the name is available to use. Once you know the LLC name is available, learn how to form a Hawaii LLC by reading our step-by-step guide.
While not required in Hawaii, an Operating Agreement, which are the rules for how the LLC operates, may be a document worth considering, especially for multi-member LLCs.
After forming a Limited Liability Company, be sure to get an Employer Identification Number (EIN). This is a “social security number” for the business. There is no cost to get one through the IRS.
After forming the LLC, Hawaii business licenses and permits may still be necessary.