I have been given a quote for doing up my site. Is it normal practise to give access to the admin section as staff member to do specific enhancement work - in this case drop down menus. Please advise for the procedure, e.g. will simply download the theme and emailing to developer be sufficient?
Basically, I'd like to know if there are risks to allow access.
It's pretty typical to allow access, there are risks, but they should be mitigated greatly by working with a reputable shopify coder.
That said you could also send your theme, but the dev will have to re-create your navigational structure and it will take some bit of extra time for them to create dummy material like pages/blogs/collections/products and you should keep that in mind if development takes longer or costs more.
In almost all cases we really do need access to the admin in order to set up something like the drop downs you want.
Without it the work is MUCH harder.
Drop downs are a perfect example of why that is.
To create them I usually need to create and populate linklists in your admin, with specific naming conventions. Once they are in place it's easy for the client to maintain and modify their contents, but it's difficult to get the client to set them up from scratch.
Personally, I wouldn't worry too much about allowing access as long as the person you are dealing with is reputable. There really isn't anything in there that we haven't seen before.
Frankly things like your sales numbers, etc aren't really of any interest to me, if I'm working on a theme that's all I care about.
Best practice would be to create an account for the coder and remove it when the job is done.