I'm a web developer experienced with building html, css, js sites in jekyll, as well as a bit of php. I'm looking to get into custom wordpress theme development, because as I understand it, the appeal with this:
You can get a client who is not very comfortable with technology and develop a high quality custom theme for them (I work for a non profit, where we try to provide affordable services to grassroots activists using tools like Wix, but we're trying to upgrade because we have the capability to be developing these custom themes). Then, they have a nice theme custom made for their brand (and not hacked out of an existing one) and they can use wordpress's cms features to manage their content easily, and you don't have to be on retainer to help them change tiny bits of their website all the time.
But I'm a bit confused and could use some guidance. It seems like most hosting services (especially wordpress) refuse to allow installing of these custom themes at a low cost (especially wordpress.com, at $33 a month). It defeats the purpose of what we are trying to do if the small non profits we work for have to shell out hundreds of dollars a year just to keep their website up.
Is there something I'm missing? Are there any hosting services that allow free installation of custom wordpress themes? It seems most hosting services I look at don't even mention it as a feature, for example Bluehost. Between the 6 plans on Bluehost, none of them mention custom themes as a feature. Googling also seems quite useless because every variant of this I try to look up just gives me ads and articles about hiring freelancers who can develop these themes for me, which is of course not what I'm after.
Thanks so much for any help.