Must read guide before using Toptal | Detailed Toptal Review (2023)
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Must read guide before using Toptal | Detailed Toptal Review (2023)

Toptal, which derives its name from the word “top talent,” acts as a middleman between organizations and freelancers. Its main edge is its pool of pre-screened freelancers.

What is Toptal?

Toptal, which derives its name from the word “top talent,” acts as a middleman between organizations and freelancers. Its main edge is its pool of pre-screened freelancers in various fields such as software engineering, design, product development, and financial consulting.

While most job boards and freelancer marketplaces allow anyone to create a profile, Toptal uses its screened freelancer database to ensure that companies only hire the “top 3% of freelance talent.” This does not necessarily mean that they hire the top 3% of the world’s talent but more so that they accept less than 3% of the applications they get. This article goes over Toptal’s model of work and how businesses and clients make use of it.

To get hired at Toptal, freelancers must pass a series of exams, including language tests, skill reviews, a live screening, and test projects, which is a far more thorough vetting procedure than done at Upwork or Fiverr which are pretty much just open marketplaces where any freelancer can make a profile. Toptal used to be a place where you could hire freelance software engineers. It has subsequently expanded to include freelance designers, financial specialists, product managers, and project managers, among other verticals.

So, what is Toptal company? It is a platform for freelance software engineers and developers, project managers, product developers and managers, finance experts, and designers to work with clients on. Clients in turn use the platform to find experts as per their needs.

Toptal’s Business Model:

Toptal’s business model is to essentially act as a middleman. They make money by putting corporations and freelancers in touch with one another. While you can make money on the site, it may be slightly tricky since you will have to compete with other freelancers who have talents and prices that are comparable to yours.

An applicant’s review procedure and acceptance to work for the firm might take up to five weeks. Toptal selects just the top 3% of thousands of candidates each month.

The following steps are included in the onboarding process:

Timed Skills Test

This skills test is difficult, and you only have a limited amount of time to finish it. About 90% of candidates are disqualified if they fail to complete stages one and two of this onboarding procedure.

Video Call Interview

The video call interview is used to assess English language proficiency, as well as the capacity to comprehend and be understood by others. The interviewer assesses the applicant’s soft skills, such as their ability to communicate effectively with the interviewer and interact with others.

Simulated Project

The candidate is given a sample of a real-world project to complete in a specific length of time, generally 30 work hours.

Despite the fact that applying for approval into the Toptal system takes a long time, thousands of people try each month. They wish to work for Toptal’s large clientele at the top of their profession.

Screen Sharing Testing

While going through various tests, an applicant shares his or her screen with an evaluator. The evaluator looks for speed, accuracy, and problem-solving creativity.

For Clients

Toptal’s business model is straightforward. Clients are directly invoiced for the length of the freelancer’s engagement. It accepts the payment, deducts the commission fee, and pays freelancers the appropriate amount. Toptal gives freelancers the option of setting their hourly charges based on the recommended rates. These are calculated by taking into account criteria such as the freelancer’s location and level of experience.

Toptal invests a significant amount of money on marketing, branding, and sales – they are the market leader for a reason.

The Benefits of Hiring from Toptal:

Professional and Vetted Resources:

A continuing excellence test and a personality analysis are both important parts of Toptal’s review procedure. They want to ensure that they hire the top talent who aren’t prone to the inability to deliver on client’s requirements. Toptal focuses on attracting and retaining top talent. As a result of this focus, their programmers are highly capable. A significant number of them have also worked for respectable organizations in the past.

Personalization and Project Specific Pairings:

Toptal’s in-depth understanding of both job needs and freelancer abilities enables it to provide customers with highly personalized candidate suggestions. Toptal evaluates your project description and finds people that fit based on experience, prices, and availability using a combination of AI and customer service agents.

Minimal Risk:

If you don’t employ a freelancer, you get your deposit back. There’s also a free trial. They also hold freelancers accountable, ensuring that you don’t end up with a worker who completes half of the task, pockets the money, and then disappears. Toptal weeds out resources who shouldn’t be there, but on, Upwork, or Fiverr, anyone can create an account and flaunt their “expertise.” Toptal, for example, does not hire anyone who fails language examinations, skills assessments, or test projects.

Is Toptal Legit?

Toptal is a legitimate platform for freelancers to offer their skills to business clients who can also hire vetted talent from the site without any issues. Toptal is a primary source of income for many a freelancer, as well as a major platform for talent sourcing for many businesses. Rest assured, Toptal has a very good reputation in the freelance world and individuals and businesses can use it easily to further their professional goals.

Is Toptal Worth It?

Toptal. like any other platform, requires some getting used to in order to glean the maximum value from its offerings. For developers, Toptal may be a little tricky to get into sometimes if one is not able to pass their rigorous vetting stages. In such a case, developers (and other experts) should not reserve their efforts exclusively for the platform and should look to apply their knowledge and skills elsewhere so as to not halt their professional growth. Sometimes, the clients that one gets to work with on Toptal may not be the right fit for them either. In this case too, other avenues of work might serve one’s professional goals and fulfillment better.

For businesses looking to hire from Toptal, the platform may be worth it if they end up finding the resource(s) that are a right fit. Sometimes, the platform may not deliver on this front, and a business that has very specific needs for its team could look elsewhere to hire experts for their team.

In short, Toptal is definitely worth it as long as it is upholding your business and personal objectives and values and delivering you the service that you need to further your goals.

Alternatives to Toptal

Toptal alternatives have grown in popularity as the concept of hiring remote developers has been adopted by more and more companies. These alternative sources provide a similar skill level and business benefit to clients., like Toptal, is one of the few platforms dedicated solely to the recruitment of software developers. When you publish a project brief, they provide exceptional customer service and a quick matching procedure., like Toptal, has a thorough verification procedure. They conduct in-depth interviews with their applicants to verify that they possess the abilities required to finish tasks. is a marketplace that connects businesses with pre-vetted talent. Our global network allows businesses to leverage resources according to their time zones, budgets and rates, and even cultural compatibilities.

Gaper also strives to ensure the best quality of services to its clients looking to hire remote developers. There are no upfront or hidden costs and a 2-week risk-free trial is offered as well! (previously Coding Ninjas) is a freelance marketplace that mostly employs programmers from Eastern Europe. They have a thorough verification procedure in place to ensure that you are matched with the finest developers for your project. They are one of the greatest Toptal alternatives on this list because of their constant quality. One of the coolest features of their website is that you may get a free quotation with no strings attached. There is no commitment to employ the developer if they are not the correct fit for you.


One of the most appealing aspects of hiring on Fiverr is the speed with which you may find someone to perform your task for a low fee, particularly for a pre-planned project.

Fiverr does not check employees for normal Fiverr services. However, if a freelancer’s feedback is too low, they will be removed from the platform.

The majority of Fiverr gigs will set you back $5. Fiverr Pro, a high-end freelance service, was also introduced where, according to Fiverr, only 1% of candidates get pro status. These hand-picked freelancers typically charge between $500 and $10,000 for their services.


Upwork’s imbalanced freelancer-to-project ratio is one of its most serious flaws. In comparison to the number of tasks published, the site has a large number of freelancers.

Due to the high level of competition, freelancers must offer lower hourly rates in order to secure business. While this may sound appealing to you as a hiring manager, the chances of obtaining high-quality freelancers at such cheap rates tend to shrink.

Cost of Hiring from Toptal Compared to Other Sites

Toptal’s rates are very flexible since they depend on the scale of the project, the skillset needed, the geographic location, and the freelance developers’ expertise level.

Payment options: hourly rate, part-time, and full-time employment

Payment methods: credit card, PayPal, ABA routing, and bank wires

The following table compares the cost of hiring from Toptal,,, Upwork, and Toptal Upwork
Time to start a project 0-2 days 0-21 days 0-2 days 2-14 days 0-14 days
Starting Rates $40 Flexible $30 $18 $50

Is Toptal Worth the Cost?

Toptal reviews by Glassdoor

Toptal has an average 4-star rating on Glassdoor. A majority of people have mentioned remote work and the flexibility that comes with it, as a positive factor. It is always encouraging to see companies promote remote work at a time when flexible systems of work are so significant.

Toptal reviews by g2

From a developer’s perspective, it might be a bit hard to get into Toptal. However, this could potentially help developers increase their competitiveness and marketability and overall raise the developer standard in various sectors.


Is Toptal expensive?

As with any place ever, you will get what you pay for. If you are in the market for a vetted and skilled developer, places like Toptal, Gaper,, and others will charge you according to the skill, expertise, location, and nature of your project. Anything which is too good to be true in terms of cost will likely deliver services of the same caliber. 

How can freelancers work on Toptal?

If the customer loves the freelancer, they can begin working with them as soon as the contract agreement is signed. Clients are also required to pay a $500 deposit, which will be used as a credit to their first invoice in the engagement.

Is Toptal worth the price?

If employing quality engineers is a priority for you, Toptal might be a suitable fit. Its recruiting method gives you a good possibility of finding a decent developer for your project quickly. However, you can also find top-quality developers in places like,, and other platforms also worth looking at.


With its screening procedure and regularity, Toptal has created a good reputation for itself. 

Due to the increased popularity of remote working, distributed teams, and a flexible workforce, the market for freelance resources is expanding. This has aided the development of new cutting-edge solutions, ranging from pure bidding marketplaces to strong verified talent networks.

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