Top 10 Business Opportunities in Hawaii

September 14, 2018 Written by Oralie Chapman

Many people dream about living in Hawaii but unless they are retired or independently wealthy, they will need to find a way to earn an income. On the flip side, many young people who are raised in Hawaii wonder how they will find work that will allow them to stay on the islands. The answer to both may be to start or purchase a Hawaii business that fills a need. With Hawaii being the number one tourist destination in the U.S. it is no wonder that the tourism industry plays a massive role in its economy. With that said, many of the top 10 business opportunities in Hawaii are geared toward serving tourist needs.


Top 10 Business Opportunities in Hawaii

With Hawaii’s consistently warm, tropical weather, tourist needs and activities stay relevant throughout the year.


1. Tour guide

With so many tourists visiting Hawaii every year, there is a huge opportunity for local residents who know the best places to go and see to share their knowledge with tourists. There are many big tourism and travel organization’s that can help you get started before branching off on your own.


2. Boat transportation

Being that Hawaii is made up of a group of islands, water is a major mode of transportation. Local residents and tourists who want to move from one island to the other on speed boat, sail boat, kayak or canoe may be interested in your services. Start out with a canoe or kayak and invest in more boats over time.


3. Hawaiian apparel maker

The most popular souvenir brought home from Hawaii is the Aloha shirt. Local residents enjoy wearing Hawaiian clothing too. There is opportunity to design, manufacture and sell / export Aloha clothing. Open your own retail store, start a website or sell through another business.


4. Vacation rental services

Tourists need to rent just about everything when they visit Hawaii from lodging to surfboards, snorkeling gear and bicycles. One of the best vacation rental services in Hawaii is vacation rental homes. Many families and couples prefer to rent property from a private owner rather than stay in a hotel so owning one or more Hawaii rental properties can be quite a lucrative business.


5. Real estate advertising website

Hawaii real estate is expensive but that hasn’t stopped the demand for Hawaiian properties. For those who can afford it, many consider Hawaii an idyllic place to retire or for a family vacation home. Running a website with Hawaii real estate listings is a great opportunity. As traffic grows you can sell advertising that will generate monthly income.


6. Commercial landscaping business

While the ocean is Hawaii’s biggest draw, Hawaii is also known for its beautiful trees and flowers. Starting a commercial landscaping business that specializes in enhancing Hawaii’s spectacular flora will provide opportunities to serve local resorts.


7. Hawaiian style home store

Hawaiian style furniture and décor are a booming business in Hawaii. From wicker and cane furniture to hand-painted tiles and wallpaper; quality, Hawaiian style furniture and décor appeals to local residents and tourists alike. If you are a designer there is an opportunity to start your own retail / online store or get your merchandise placed in a store. Another option is to purchase products at wholesale price and sell them online or in a retail store.


8. Small grocery / convenience store

The mom and pop style grocery / convenience store does well in Hawaii. Tourists often need to stock up on snack foods, local fruit and other items such as nail clippers and sunscreen. Rent a small space or kiosk in a busy neighborhood or city center and do your research about what products to stock.


9. Restaurants and bars

When people travel they tend to eat out a lot more than they would at home. This is partly because most hotel rooms don’t have kitchens and partly because it is more fun and relaxing to eat out which is the point of most vacations. Restaurants and bars that serve quality food and drinks with a Hawaiian flair and that feature friendly service have a great chance for success.


10. Wedding / family photography business

Many people come to Hawaii to get married, for vow-renewal ceremonies and family reunions. With so many special life events happening here there is a huge demand for professional wedding and family photographers. Practice your craft but learn the business side too to be really successful.


Partnering with Makai HR

Most businesses have employees and that means taking care of payroll and benefits and being informed about Hawaii’s employer laws. Not excited about any of that? That’s okay; we’ve got you covered through HR outsourcing! When you partner with Makai HR you can get on with the business you are trying to grow while we take care of your employee needs from payroll to taxes, health insurance/benefits and worker’s compensation. You also gain peace of mind that you are in compliance with all of Hawaii’s employer laws (if you’ve ever looked you know that the list is very long). When choosing a PEO to partner with, there are many things to consider including cost, services and technology solutions. 

With the cost of doing business in Hawaii at record highs, we know how important it is to keep labor costs in line with revenue. Our plans are priced competitively and include value-added services like time-in/time-out systems. Our three tiers of PEO service plans are tailored to the size of your business and specific needs. We offer a 100% paperless solution which means that your employees can manage their needs through a computer, tablet or phone. We can truly improve your employees work benefits while freeing you up to run your business.


What are you waiting for? Companies who partner with a PEO benefit from 7-9% faster growth, 10-14% lower employee turnover; and they are 50% less likely to go out of business. Contact us today to get started!