Toptal is a high-end freelancing platform that claims to connect users with the top 3% of available freelance talent.
They employ a stringent screening process to ensure that they hire only the most exceptional freelancers. To illustrate the caliber, Toptal has recruited individuals from Wharton, MIT, CERN, and Google, as well as industry-leading specialists from around the world.
Here are a few examples of specialized freelancers you can contact:
• Architects of software, full-stack developers, and application developers
• Blockchain experts, data scientists, and user experience designers
• Venture capitalists and specialists in start-up financing
• Project and product managers in information technology, as well as agile coaches
• Part-time chief financial officers, mergers and acquisitions consultants, fintech consultants, and financial analysts
And plenty others.
Who is a suitable fit for the Toptal business model?
• Businesses in need of elite talent but unable to commit to a full-time employee.
• The CEO is seeking an interim chief financial officer.
• Entrepreneurs seeking expert advise on mergers and acquisitions or venture capital funding
• Organizations seeking a full-stack developer capable of doing it all
Toptal has been used by companies such as AirBnB, Google, Disney, HP, JPMorgan Chase, Pfizer, and Zendesk.
Pricing: The following table summarizes the global averages for several common developer categories:
$45-$80 per hour for a full stack developer.
$40-$75 per hour for a front-end developer.
$40-$75 per hour for a back-end developer.
Again, fees may vary by specialty, but this should give you a sense of what to expect on Toptal.
In-depth Review of Toptal Freelance Platform
What exactly is Toptal?
Toptal, which derives its name from top talent, acts as a matchmaker between hiring organizations and freelancers. Its key differentiator is its pool of pre-vetted freelancers. Whereas the majority of job boards and freelancer marketplaces allow anyone to create a profile, Toptal leverages its vetted freelancer database to ensure that organizations hire only the “top 3% of freelance talent.”
Toptal is an exclusive network of independent contractors who work in a variety of businesses. They connect clients with the world’s best freelancing software engineers, designers, financial professionals, and project managers.
You can connect with a freelancer in less than 48 hours and have complete control over the scope of their work. Toptal takes pride in their rigorous vetting process for all freelancers, selecting just the “top 3%” of talent.
Toptal defines “top 3% of freelance talent” as accepting “usually less than 3%” of the freelancer applications they get each month.
Accepting less than 3% of applications does not imply that you have the top 3% of freelance talent, as there are undoubtedly talented freelancers who will not apply to Toptal, but you get the gist. The central concept is that freelancers must pass a series of tests for language proficiency, skill reviews, a live screening, and test projects, which is significantly more involved than the vetting process at Upwork or Fiverr (which are pretty much just open marketplaces where any freelancer can hang their shingle).
You can apply to join Toptal’s talent network as a freelancer, but you must complete a vetting process. And if you’re a business in need of talent, Toptal can assist you in finding the best freelancer for the job. Alternatively, they might assist you in assembling a complete team of freelancers if your project requires it.
Then what is (10x) tenfold talent? The word is derived from a group of 10x software developers. These exceptional individuals have tenfold the productivity, quality, and impact on the business of average individuals.
Alan Eustace, Google’s VP of Engineering, goes so far as to declare that “one top-notch engineer is worth 300 times or more than the average.”
Toptal will connect you with tenfold the talent.
Distinguishing characteristics of elite talent
1. Making strategic choices
2. Superior communication abilities
3. Time management in accordance with agreed-upon deliverables and timelines
4. A cheerful team player with a can-do attitude
5. Initiative, tenacity, and tenacity
However, I’ve discovered that the contrary is far more true. A single poor hire can have a cascading impact of software issues, customer complaints, missed deadlines, and an unpleasant work atmosphere. And, far too frequently, the source of the problem is poor software design, sloppy code, and a negative mindset.
If you require tenfold talent, Toptal can deliver professionals in virtually any industry. They have a highly rigorous screening process and assert that they are more selective than Harvard and the Navy Seals. Let’s take a closer look at how it works and consider its advantages and disadvantages.
Simply contact one of their industry experts to connect with a customized freelancer with a 98 percent trial-to-hire success record. ..
What distinguishes Toptal is their screening process for freelancers.
What is Toptal’s vetting process for ensuring that you are hiring world-class talent?
Toptal vets freelancers through a five-step process:
Language & Personality – During this phase, Toptal is looking for people who are fluent in English reading, writing, and speaking. Additionally, they check for personality attributes, motivation, and passion for completing the assignment. According to Toptal, around 26.4% of applicants pass this examination.
In-depth Skill Review – Toptal conducts technical background checks on freelancers. A codility test or an automated test of one’s programming abilities is frequently used. Only 7.4 percent of total applications make it past this round, according to Toptal.
Toptal conducts a live screening exam after evaluating the freelancer’s skills. Toptal connects applicants with a domain expert via video chat. The candidate is tested during the screening process, and an expert observes how and what they code. They may be invited to reapply in a month if they do not succeed. Only 3.6 percent of applicants, according to Toptal, pass this step.
Test Projects – A freelancer must perform a test project based on a real-world scenario over the course of 1-3 weeks. Here, the candidate puts their skills and professionalism to the test, demonstrating everything from competency to professional style. According to Toptal, only 3.2% of applicants make it past this round.
After passing the test, Toptal freelancers are expected to maintain a high standard of work. If the freelancer’s job quality deteriorates or there is insufficient communication, the freelancer is terminated. According to Toptal, only 3% of candidates meet their stringent requirements.
Even with this amount of screening, Toptal has a sizable talent pool comprised of a niche talent set. Rather than requesting a DevOps engineer, Toptal can assist you in locating a “AWS DevOps engineer who understands Docker, Jenkins, and RDS…” and any additional requirements you may have.
When a specialized skill set is required, the hourly rate frequently increases. However, you’ll know the freelancer is a better fit for your needs than if you were to find one on Fiverr.
Merits: Here are some of the things I enjoy about Toptal.
Rapid placement method to meet hiring requirements.Typically, it takes 0-3 weeks to locate an expert who meets your specifications. According to Toptal, “in the majority of circumstances, we’ll expose you to prospects within 24 hours during a regular engagement, and 90% of our clients hire the first applicant we introduce.”
Slow, thorough screening (which most employers are unable to duplicate). Toptal weeds out employees who have no business being there, whereas anyone can create an account and showcase their “expertise” on Freelancer.com, Upwork, or Fiverr. For example, Toptal does not hire individuals who cannot pass language examinations, skill assessments, or test projects. Only 3% of freelancer applicants make it through the process. The screening process comprises an assessment of abilities, English language proficiency, a personality exam, and a comprehensive, real-world test project that takes between one and three weeks to complete.
Freelancers (or “toptallers”) must maintain the greatest level of client satisfaction or they will be removed from the program.
Communicators in fluent English. Candidates must be fluent in English, reading, writing, and speaking.
Along with developers for every platform, there are a variety of skills that you won’t find on other freelance sites, such as CFOs, M&A specialists, start-up consultants, and blockchain experts.
Risk-Free Policy. When you work with a freelancer for the first time, you receive a two-week trial period. If you are dissatisfied with the job, Toptal will absorb the cost and will not charge you for the freelancer’s time. (Please note that this is not a “free trial,” since you will be charged for the hours billed if you accept the project.). You are entitled to a two-week trial period with your freelancer. Additionally, you are only billed if you are entirely happy. Otherwise, Toptal will not charge you for the freelancer’s work performed during the trial period.
Personalization and project-specific pairings are available through the freelancer search system. Toptal examines your project description and matches it with people who are a good fit based on their experience, rates, and availability using a combination of AI and customer service agents.
Toptal takes care of the grubby task. You may concentrate on selecting a freelancer from a curated list and starting work on your project immediately, while Toptal takes care of the majority of the talent selection process, billing, and vetting.
You can recruit personnel remotely or on-site.You can recruit individuals on a remote work basis or invite them to work in your office.
Additional distinctive characteristics that set Toptal apart?
Toptal’s placement process is lightning fast.“In a typical engagement, we’ll introduce you to applicants within 24 hours,” Toptal states. And 90% of our clients hire the first applicant introduced to them.”
Toptal has high expectations of freelancers.Independent contractors must maintain a high level of customer satisfaction. Otherwise, Toptal will deactivate their account.
Toptal’s 3% screening process will eliminate some quality workers. However, it is preferable to miss out on a prospective A player than to squander valuable time on a borderline freelancer who ends up becoming a B or C player.
Demerits: The aspects of Toptal that we dislike
If you’re looking for assistance with a modest job, it may be a difficult thing to get. In general, Toptal is more pricey. In terms of price, you should anticipate paying more than you would on Upwork or Fiverr. Additionally, you must make a $500 initial investment to begin (this will either be applied to your first payment or refunded if you decide to not move forward with the project).
If you require an onsite hire and do not have a location in a large city, Toptal is unlikely to be a viable option. The majority of their placements are for remote employees.
It excludes a wide variety of creative freelancers. While Toptal is excellent for hiring technical, project/product management, and financial professionals, it is lacking in creative sectors such as writing, photography, and music. If you’re looking for such creatives, you’re definitely better off looking elsewhere. However, you can find illustrators and animators on Toptal, indicating that there are some creative freelancers.
The quality of Toptal’s work and the hiring procedure
Hiring the greatest people begins with identifying the best sources of talent. We feel that Toptal has an abundance of talent available if you’re prepared to put in a little more effort to locate it.
Regrettably, they now have this new manner of hiring in which an automated system matches you with random people from all over the world, with limited interview processes and information about those freelancers. Toptal, on the other hand, maintains its own talent database and narrows the list based on your preferences.
Following that, you’ll speak with a Toptal hiring professional to discuss your job in greater detail. They use this information to narrow the field to the top two freelancers based on pricing, availability, and skill set.
Finally, you communicate with each freelancer to establish the project’s scope.
In general, you should have some possible candidates accessible for screening within 24 hours, and Toptal reports that 90% of users hire the first applicant suggested by Toptal.
That is both advantageous and concerning from the standpoint of the hirer. Using a service like Fiverr, I can rapidly locate designers and developers by perusing their profiles, portfolios, and reviews. I can hire workers in a matter of seconds, which simplifies quick jobs.
However, this may result in dubious employment decisions. Toptal, on the other hand, handles the screening for you, even though it requires you to follow its method. Additionally, Toptal enables Skype interactions with talent, negotiation, and test projects to determine whether someone is a good fit for your firm.
Toptal’s rates and fees
Toptal’s pricing are often higher than those on more uncontrolled marketplaces such as Upwork and Fiverr, though this varies by job and freelancer.
However, let us begin with some of the beneficial aspects of Toptal’s pricing structure as outlined in our Toptal review:
Toptal does not charge for recruiting or firing.
Additionally, you receive a risk-free trial to evaluate your freelancer prior to committing.
You are the one who establishes the initial budget.
When Toptal quotes you a price, you’ll see a single consolidated figure that includes both Toptal’s service charge and the freelancer’s compensation, so there are no additional costs.
What you pay for Toptal is determined by the type of task you’re wanting to fill and the freelancer with whom you work. You can, however, get a sense of what to expect by experimenting with Toptal’s pay calculators. The following table summarizes the global averages for several common developer categories:
$45-$80 per hour for a full stack developer.
$40-$75 per hour for a front-end developer.
$40-$75 per hour for a back-end developer.
Again, fees may vary by specialty, but this should give you a sense of what to expect on Toptal. Additionally, charges are greater in certain locations. For instance, if you’re looking for a full stack developer in North America, the typical hourly fee for a freelancer increases to $70-$120.
Additionally, keep in mind that these are the typical rates established by freelancers and do not include Toptal’s service fee. Toptal does not charge freelancers a commission. Rather than that, they add their service fee to the freelancer’s rate and promote it as a single rate to employing organizations.
If you’re really strapped for cash, you can find lower average rates elsewhere. For instance, Upwork rates their “intermediate” full stack developer at $32.80 per hour, which is significantly less than the industry average on Toptal. However, the “Expert” rate on Upwork is $100 per hour, so there may not be much difference if all of Toptal’s devs are considered experts.
However, Upwork earns money by commissioning freelancers rather than charging hiring corporations like Toptal an additional service fee. Therefore, if a freelancer costs $100 per hour on Upwork, you will pay that amount. However, if a freelancer charges $100 per hour on Toptal, you would pay the $100 plus the service fee charged by Toptal. Again, these figures are presented as a single pricing (you will not notice separate fees for the freelancer and the service charge); nonetheless, this is what is happening in the background.
As a counterpoint to Upwork and Fiverr’s pricing policies, Toptal’s legal team states the following:
[…] the talent’s fees Toptal offers vary significantly and are determined by a variety of factors, including the client, the function, the level of experience required for a particular task, and market demand for specific skill sets. To use these skewed figures to argue that Toptal is more expensive than competitors is grossly misleading.
You can conduct your own analysis of how Toptal compares in terms of price to competitors and draw your own findings. You’ll quickly discover how all of this works in practice.
Finally, before you begin working with your new freelancer, you must make a deposit. The deposit is $500, but it is applied to your first invoice (or returned if you decide not to proceed with your project, allowing you to reclaim your money if Toptal does not work for you).
In general, Toptal invoices twice a month with Net 10 payment conditions during an ongoing arrangement.
Questions That Are Frequently Asked
What Is the Price of Toptal?
Signing up with Toptal is completely free. They begin by setting up an introductory conversation to fully understand your employment requirements. Toptal will then bill an hourly cost based on the freelancer’s credentials (starting at roughly $60/hr).
Toptal requires a refundable $500 fee to begin your search (to ensure you’re serious). If you are dissatisfied with the freelancer’s performance during the first two weeks, Toptal will return the deposit as well as any fees associated with the freelancer’s work.
Is Toptal a better alternative to Upwork?
Toptal enables clients to connect with outstanding talent. While anybody may create an Upwork profile, all Toptal freelancers must pass a vetting procedure before being allowed to work on the platform. Toptal asserts that it provides the top 3% of all freelancing talent.
Is Toptal a legitimate company?
Yes, Toptal is a legitimate, professional hiring firm for top-tier freelancers. Small businesses as well as huge corporations such as Google, Disney, and JPMorgan Chase use the platform.
Where is Toptal headquartered?
Toptal’s executive team is based in Silicon Valley, however the majority of their workers work remotely and from all over the world.
How can you apply for a position at Toptal?
To sign up for Toptal, all you need to do is submit your email address. Additionally, you can connect your LinkedIn account to streamline the procedure.
Toptal begins by determining the type of talent you’re looking to hire (designers, developers, project managers, etc.) Following that, you’ll specify the type of project or design that you’re looking for.
They’ll then inquire about the duration of your freelancer’s contract, the type of payment method you like, and the exact abilities you’re searching for. Other questions, such as the size of your business and if you allow remote work, assist Toptal in narrowing the pool of freelancers from which to choose.
When was Toptal founded?
Toptal began operations officially in November 2010 and has since grown to become the world’s largest entirely remote firm ten years later.
Toptal has raised an undisclosed amount of money.
Annual sales for Toptal is anticipated to be around $192 million.
What types of employment does Toptal have available?
The following are the most popular freelancing jobs on Toptal:
Developers of iOS applications
UX designers and front-end developers
Designers of user interfaces
Consultants in financial modeling
Interim Chief Financial Officers
Managers of digital projects
How does Toptal determine which freelancers to hire?
Toptal interviews and screens all candidates based on their communication skills, personality, professionalism, and domain-specific expertise.
While any and all freelancers are eligible to apply, those hired to work for Toptal must pass the aforementioned screening and testing.
How is the Toptal screening process carried out?
They investigate each candidate using portfolio evaluations, technical coding challenges, user or market research, formal examinations, and live problem-solving sessions.
Additionally, they pair each employee with a Toptal industry specialist to demonstrate live proficiency on a project comparable to one the candidate would work on in a real client environment.
How much money can you earn working on Toptal?
According to some freelancers, you can earn up to $75,000 to $90,000 per year on Toptal if you are employed as a full-time freelancer.
Is Toptal Beneficial to Freelancers?
While this piece was designed primarily for businesses looking to recruit freelancers on Toptal, we recognize that many readers are developers searching for additional work.
If you’re a freelancer trying to expand your client base and work with some of the world’s greatest firms, Toptal is an excellent place to start. However, keep in mind that they have a fairly tough screening process and accept only the very best coders. As a result, you will need to undergo an interview and demonstrate your coding expertise in order to join their network.
Is Toptal worth the investment in terms of hiring?
Thousands of dollars can be spent on a recruiting agency. Additionally, you can do it yourself and invest hours in locating freelancers, eliminating dull templates, and filtering through resumes.
Alternatively, you may let Toptal do it for you.
Toptal assesses and screens the abilities of freelancers. Additionally, Toptal eliminates freelancers who are not producing high-quality work on time.
If you believe in the adage “you get what you pay for” and want one less thing to worry about, Toptal is an excellent option.
I would love to hear from you. What’s your own verdict about Toptal?