Handing off development stores to clients


Are you a merchant trying to set up a store? Visit the Shopify Help Center.

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 a live plan before the owner can:

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

Did you know?

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.

Transferring the store

To transfer a store over to a paid plan:

  1. Transfer ownership to your client by making them the account owner. As a partner, you can still have a staff account on the shop with full access to other areas of Shopify. The store can have only one account owner at a time, and they are the only one that can make changes to everything in the Shopify admin, including:

    • the subscription plan
    • credit card information
    • other staff accounts
    • invoices.
  2. Go to your Development stores page in your partner dashboard.

  3. Find the store you want to transfer, and click Switch to paid plan:

    Switch to paid plan
  4. When you are ready to freeze the store, click Freeze this store now:

    Switch warning

    Did you know?

    As soon as you confirm the switch to a paid plan, the store will move from your Development store’s page to your Referrals page in your Partners Dashboard.

  5. Using your client's credit card, pick a plan and enter the billing information. If your client would prefer to do this themselves, they can do it after you complete step 1 to transfer ownership to them.

  6. (Optional) Using your parter account login, do other set up steps that your client might not know how to do, for example:

  7. Provide your client with our Merchant Handoff Kit to help answer any questions they might have after taking ownership of their shop.

Activating 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.

Did you know?

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.