Transferring 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. You can't cancel a development store transfer, so make sure that the client has access to the email address that you're transferring to, and you're finished working on the store.

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.

Development store ownership and staff permissions

Development stores can have only one account owner. The Partner team member who created the development store is the account owner of the store until it's transferred to a client. Up to 15 staff accounts can be created for other Partner team members on each development store. When other Partner team members log in to the development store from the Partner Dashboard, a staff account is automatically created for the Partner team member, up to the limit. If you need to add a new Partner team member after the limit is reached, then you first need to remove an existing staff account.

Partner staff accounts are removed from development stores in the following circumstances:

  • When a development store is transferred to a merchant, the Partner loses permissions for accessing the store
  • When the Partner is removed from the Partner organization, the Partner loses permissions for accessing the store and account ownership is transferred to the primary owner of the Partner organization

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. Learn more about features and limitations of development stores.

When you transfer a development store to a live subscription plan, you need to enter billing information. This billing information must be provided by the store owner.

Transfer ownership of a development store

In this section

Before you start

You should complete the following tasks 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.

  • Add your client's address to the store settings, 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 Adding business settings for your store.

Considerations when you transfer ownership of a development store

  • If you switch a store to a paid plan but retain ownership for any reason, then you need to contact Partner support to remove the commission on the store. Learn about switching a development store to a paid plan without transferring ownership.

  • After a development store is converted to a paid plan, either by a merchant after store ownership transfer or by a Partner who is retaining ownership, the store is subject to the Shopify Terms of Service.

  • If you switch to a Shopify Plus plan before changing ownership, then you become the organization owner as well as the store owner. The organization owner can't be changed through the Shopify admin, so you should consider transferring ownership before switching to a paid plan. To transfer organization ownership after switching to the Plus plan, contact Shopify Plus Support.

  • If your client is using Shopify POS and requires POS Pro features, then they need to select the POS Pro subscription for each location that requires these features after they select their ecommerce plan. Learn about managing a store's POS subscriptions by location.

  • After you've transferred a development store to a live plan, the store is no longer eligible for promotions or free trials.

Transfer store ownership using the Partner Dashboard


  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 subscription plan, you start to receive your recurring commission.

Provide information to your client after you transfer store ownership

After you've transferred a store to your client, 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)

Switch a development store 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 not available in development stores.

Considerations when you retain store ownership

  • If you switch a development store to a paid plan, then you can't earn a recurring commission on that store. To comply with the Partner Program Agreement, you need to contact Partner Support to have the commission removed on the store. You can contact Partner Support through Shopify Help Center.
  • If you switch a development store to a paid plan, then you can't transfer it using the Partner Dashboard. If you want to transfer the store to a client later, then you must transfer ownership and remove your payment details manually.


  1. Log in to your Partner Dashboard and click Stores.
  2. Find the store that you want to transfer, and then click Log in.
  3. From the Shopify admin, click Settings > Users and permissions.
  4. In the Plan details section, click Compare plans.
  5. Click Choose this plan and select one of the available plans.
  6. Select a billing cycle and review the description of the credit card charges that you're agreeing to.
  7. Select a payment method, and then enter your payment method information.
  8. 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.

Work on and reactivate a paused store

When a store is on the Pause and Build plan, the checkout is disabled, but you can still work on building the store by accessing the admin and editing products. When the store is ready, the store owner can pick a subscription plan to reactivate the checkout and enable customers to purchase products.