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 necessary 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 is necessary and guide you through all the steps involved.
Are You Required to Reserve a Business Name?
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.
Should You Reserve Your LLC Name?
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.
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.
How Long Does a Hawaii Business Name Reservation Last?
Anyone planning to do business within the state of Hawaii can reserve an entity name. Filing your name registration prevents another entity from using that name to conduct business in the state during the time of your hold. An entity name registration 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? Cancelling 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.
How do I Reserve a Business Name in Hawaii?
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 using the DCCA’s Business Search function. 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.
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, 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 “Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs.”
Wrapping up and Choosing the Best Route
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.
Save Time by Using a Professional LLC Service
As a business owner, you have a lot to think about. Pile on the responsibility of handling state correspondence, 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 of Wyoming.
While LegalZoom is by far the most well-known LLC formation service and has decent overall value, we highly recommend looking into ZenBusiness or Northwest Registered Agent. We’ve done the research so you don’t have to, and these two are reliable, professional, and efficient.