Handing off development stores to clients

Development stores have limitations on them to make sure they are only used for development. This article describes those limitations and how to transfer ownership of the store to your client when you're ready.

Limitations of development stores

A store must be on an active Shopify plan before the owner can:

  • add a domain
  • install paid apps
  • launch the store.


We have a list of Partner-friendly apps that are free to try in development stores. View apps

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 live plan.

When transferring to a live subscription plan, the store will require billing information, which must be provided by the store owner.


The credit card used for the store's subscription is the same credit card that will be used to purchase themes, domains, and apps.

Transfer ownership of a development store

To transfer ownership of a development store:

  1. Log in to the store you would like to hand over to your client.

  1. In the Accounts and permissions section, add your client as a staff member (if they are already a staff member, proceed to step 4).

  2. In the Accounts and permissions section, click the name of the person you’d like to transfer account ownership to.

  3. In the Admin Access section of the staff member's account page, click Make this user the account owner.

  4. Send your client the Merchant Handoff Kit, and make sure to provide them with with information on:

    • How they can access the store (client-store.myshopify.com/admin)
    • The Shopify plan you recommend for them
    • Anything else that you would recommend (apps to download, webinars to watch, etc.)
  5. The shop will now appear on the Referrals page in your Partner dashboard.

Activate a frozen development store

When a store is frozen, 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 at once 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.


Once a plan is applied to a shop, you can pause the store to allow for more development before the store is ready for launch.