Handing off development stores to clients
After you finish working on a development store for a client, the next step is usually to transfer ownership of the store to them. After you transfer ownership of a development store, the store appears on the Stores page in your Partner Dashboard under the Managed tab.
Development stores have limitations on them to make sure that they are used only for development. In some cases, you might need to set up features for a development store that are available only to stores on a paid plan.
You can't transfer ownership of a development store that has a developer preview enabled.
When to transfer ownership of a store
There are two main reasons to transfer a store to a paid plan:
- The work on the store is complete and the store is ready to sell products.
- The work on the store is not complete, but the store requires a feature that's available only on a paid plan. To learn more about what features aren't available for development stores, refer to Features and limitations of development stores.
When transferring to a live subscription plan, the store will require billing information, which must be provided by the store owner.
Transfer ownership of a development store
Before you transfer ownership of a development store to your client, make sure that you add them as a staff member and that they complete the staff account setup. After you transfer ownership to your client, you remain on the store as a collaborator but no longer have access to financial information.
You should also add your client's address to the store settings before you transfer ownership, especially if your client is based in a different country than you. In some cases, transferring a store with the wrong address can cause your client to be charged extra taxes on their Shopify invoice. To learn more about changing a store's address, refer to Set or change your legal business name and address.
If you want to switch a development store to a paid plan but still be the store's owner, then choose a plan for the store through the Shopify admin.
Log in to your Partner Dashboard, and click Stores.
Click Transfer ownership beside the development store that you want to transfer.
On the Transfer store ownership dialog, select the new owner from the list of eligible owners. If you haven't added your client as a staff member yet, then click Add a staff account and create a new account for your client before you continue. Your client must complete the staff account setup before you can transfer store ownership to them.
When you're done, click Transfer store. The store now appears on the Stores page in your Partner Dashboard under the Managed tab. The new owner receives an email with instructions to create the account and select a plan. Until your client accepts the transfer, the store is paused. After the client begins paying for a Shopify plan, you start to receive your recurring commission.
After you've transferred a store to your client, you can also send them the Merchant Handoff Kit. Make sure to provide them with information about:
- How they can access the store, including the URL (
- The Shopify plan that you recommend for them
- Anything else that you would recommend (such as apps to download, webinars to watch, or other resources to help them build their business)
90-day trial for transferred stores
Due to the impact of COVID-19, Shopify has extended its free trial period to 90 days to give merchants extra time to set up their stores. To extend this offer to your client, contact Shopify Partner Support before you transfer the store, and they will adjust the trial period for you. Your client will still need to pick a plan and enter their payment details, but they won’t be charged a subscription fee for 90 days. The extended trial delays your first referral commission payment by 90 days.
Switch to a paid plan without transferring ownership
You can switch a development store to a paid plan but still be the store's owner. You might want to do this if you need to test a feature that's available only on a paid plan.
- Log in to your Partner Dashboard and click Stores.
- Find the store you want to transfer, then click Log in.
- From the Shopify admin, click Settings, then click Account.
- In the Account overview section, click Compare plans.
- Click Choose this plan and select one of the available plans.
- Select a billing cycle and read the description of the credit card charges you're agreeing to.
- Select a payment method, then enter the payment method information.
- Click Start plan.
Transfer a third-party theme
If you've built a store for a client and it includes a third-party theme, then you need to transfer the theme to the client. The best way to do this depends on whether the theme still needs code customization when you transfer the development store to your client:
If the theme still needs code customization, then you need to buy the theme on behalf of the client and then bill the client for the cost of the theme. When you transfer ownership of the development store, your credit card or PayPal account is automatically removed from the store's billing settings.
If the theme doesn't need any code customization, then leave the theme as a free trial. Your client doesn't need to pay for the theme until they want to publish it (or if they want to customize its code). They can do this after you transfer the development store.
Activate a paused store
When a store is paused, it is in a suspended state that requires billing information to be entered by the store owner. To allow access to the store, the store owner must log in and provide current billing information so that the store can move over to a live subscription plan.
Shopify charges on a prorated billing cycle. Any credit card entered will be billed immediately for the subscription charge.
As soon as the store owner enters billing information, you will be able to log in using your account credentials for that store, with full access to edit and further develop the store.
If you are no longer listed as the account owner, you will not have access to the store's financial information, such as billing information and Shopify Payments payout details.