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 live 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 live 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 Shopify plan. To learn more about what features aren't available for development stores, see 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, see Set or change your legal business name and address.

If you want change a development store to a live plan but still be the account owner, then create a staff account for yourself on the development store, and transfer ownership to that account by following the steps below.


  1. Log in to your Partner Dashboard, and click Stores.

  2. Click Transfer ownership beside the development store that you want to transfer.

  3. 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.

  4. 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 monthly recurring revenue share.

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 (client-store.myshopify.com/admin)
  • 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)

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 buy the theme on behalf of the client, bill the client the cost of the theme, and handoff the development store so that your credit card is removed from its account.

  • 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.

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