What is toptal.com? A comprehensive review

Toptal.com is a platform where freelancers in software development, design, finance and management from around the world can be hired by those who require their services. A lot of leading companies around the world employ the services of Toptal.com freelancers for important projects that they wish to outsource.

Toptal was founded in 2010, as a platform solely for software developing talent. But designers and finance consultants have since been added to the line-up. Toptal is a fully distributed company, meaning that all the registered freelancers operate remotely.

Toptal provides highly skilled remote contractors for large corporate clients. Employers can get individual experts or virtual teams to perform their tasks. All they need to do is to describe in detail exactly what they are looking for so that Toptal can help them choose the best match for the job. The search continues until the most suitable match for the job is found.

All freelancers on Toptal must speak the language of computers fluently and are well-versed in the software and programs associated with their respective fields.

For clients or companies with a work overload that their in-house team couldn’t handle, those in need of some specific expertise or skill that nobody on their staff possesses, or those looking for talent but unwilling to hire a fulltime worker, Toptal.com is the platform to meet such needs.

Similarly, for people that have become highly skilled in their respective fields, looking to make money from their skills without being tied down to a 9-5 office job, Toptal.com is a wonderful platform.


Toptal requires an initial refundable deposit of $500 before the commencement of the project. Payment may range from $60 to $200 hourly. Fulltime freelancing services may also be employed for between $2,000 and $6,400 weekly.


Here is a rundown of what to do when seeking to hire talent from Toptal.com:

  • Submit a project: The first step to take is to submit a job. Toptal prefers more detailed proposals so that they can better understand what your project requires and match you with the right freelancer or team. On receiving your job description, a team of experts will review it and then contact you to clarify the details.
  • Toptal finds the best match: After the details of your project have been reviewed, Toptal begins to look for the best fit for the job. You will have to wait a few days (at most three weeks) for this to happen. During the process, Toptal will keep in touch constantly updating you concerning the process.
  • You get introduced to your freelancer(s): When the best match has been made, Toptal will get you introduced and they can begin working as soon as you’re ready.
  • No-risk trial: One of the greatest benefits of Toptal is that risk is eliminated. If you’re not satisfied with the match made after the trial period, you may begin the process again at no cost.


It eliminates recruitment and termination costs.

From a company or employer’s perspective, the workers employed do not need to be recruited. Furthermore, they are not on a fixed payroll, and so once the project ends or gets canceled, the employer doesn’t have to pay any termination fee.

There is also no agency mark-up. It takes a maximum of three weeks to hire freelancers on Toptal, as opposed to the over two months that it takes to hire full-time employees.

Once a request is submitted to Toptal, the search for the perfect match begins. The time taken to find the right freelancer or gather a team will depend on the nature of the project.

Teams can be multi-sized.

With Toptal, employers can get teams comprising of whatever number of specialists as is required for the different stages of their project or for particular tasks. Toptal is highly flexible in this regard, and can set up teams of different sizes that would be most suitable for the project at hand.

Toptal provides access to some of the best freelancers in the world.

One of the major benefits of the Toptal platform is that it creates a scenario where only the top talents can be met by those who need them.

In fact, Toptal grants clients access to only the top 3% of freelancers that apply. It’s that competitive. The screening process is very thorough to identify the best hands. Toptal prioritizes offering the best talent, and so it is very difficult for freelancers to get accepted.

Toptal Screening Process

Toptal boasts experts in particular fields – passionate and driven problem solvers. Less than 3% of the thousands of applications they get per month are accepted. Toptal selects its freelancers based on the following criteria:

  • Language & Personality: The very first step in the screening is interviewing the candidates to evaluate their language, personality and communication skills. Ability to read, write and speak English fluently is a key criterion. A driven and passionate personality is also a major requirement for Toptal freelancers. Only about 26% of the applicants make it past this first stage.
  • In-depth Skill Review: The second phase is where Toptal ensures that the candidate has a skillset that matches their requirements. The technical know-how, problem-solving ability, and intellect of each applicant is tested via several assessments. Only about 7.4% of the applicants make it through this round.
  • Live Screening: Toptal performs a live screening after testing the skills of the candidates. This is carried out by experts in each domain. The screeners conduct live exercises covering core topics within the candidates’ primary area of expertise. Only about 3.6% of the applicants scale through.
  • Test Projects & Continued Excellence: Each candidate is then assigned a test project to truly evaluate their skills. This is a means of providing real-life scenarios for the candidate to display their professionalism, competence, thoroughness and integrity usually over a period of one to three weeks. Only about 3% of the applicants are successful after this final stage.

This thorough screening is to ensure that their freelancers will be able to do exactly what they say they can when hired by clients. Aside from the initial test project, Toptal freelancers are expected to maintain an excellent track record once they begin to work with clients. Toptal is very particular about this to ensure that their clientele gets the best over time.

It provides a wide range of specialists.

Toptal boasts front-end developers (proficient in JavaScript, CSS3, HTML5 etc.), back-end designers (proficient in Java, Python, C++, Django, PHP, Ruby, Rails, iOS etc.), quality assurance specialists (proficient in Selenium, Cucumber, Unit testing, PHPUnit, JUnit etc.), designers (proficient in UX, UI, Visual Interaction etc.), as well as finance experts (proficient in financial planning and analysis, financial modelling and evaluation, market research, fundraising, pricing analysis etc.). And you can have experts in each field on your team.

It takes the guesswork out of hiring.

One of the greatest benefits of using Toptal, from a client’s perspective, is that it eliminates the guesswork. They take upon themselves the burden of ensuring that the freelancer is skilled and accepts a fair and standard rate. Hiring a freelancer by oneself can be challenging in this regard. Using a tested and trusted platform like Toptal, you can be sure that you are getting the best, and you don’t have to stress about it.

It has a global reach.

On the Toptal platform, clients can access specialist freelancers from all around the world to work on their projects. Toptal has freelancers from different countries, and may even relocate them for a project if necessary. Teams normally work remotely, but if you need a specialist to work physically at your office, Toptal can make it happen. As a client, your involvement isn’t needed in terms of organizing an office space for your team. You only have to let Toptal know your requirements, and they will be taken care of.

Clients are guaranteed privacy.

All that Toptal freelancers do for their clients is kept private. Clients’ IPs and details are all protected with a very high level of security.

It offers a no-risk trial.

Toptal offers a no-risk trial period with a guarantee that you don’t have to pay if you aren’t satisfied with the results of the initial stages. You may also request for the project to be redone in the case that it doesn’t meet your requirements.

Failure rates are low.

Toptal boasts extremely low failure rates. The thoroughness of their acceptance process for freelancers ensures that it is almost impossible for a bad freelancer to make it through. Most other freelancing platforms cannot guarantee their clients this much quality.


Toptal is a great platform, no doubt, but there are a few setbacks to be considered. Some of these include:

There are way more freelancers than projects.

Even though Toptal has a policy of enlisting only 3% of the freelancers that apply to the platform, In comparison to the number of projects that come into Toptal, there are still too many freelancers. For every one project, there are about 10 experts. Thus, freelancers are in a massive competition to emerge as the best fit for projects. For this reason, while Toptal is great for clients and companies looking for the best talent, it is not a great place for freelancers to begin their freelancing careers.

Freelancers cannot set their own hourly rates.

Freelancers on Toptal have to ask the recruiter to adjust their hourly rates as required.

Projects can be delayed for three weeks.

It takes any time within three weeks for Toptal to find the best freelancer(s) for a project, and so, Toptal may not be the best platform for urgent projects.


When it comes to hiring a remote employee, there are so many options available employers. They may hire by themselves, use a recruiter to find a good fit or visit other virtual freelancing pools online.

Freelancers are selected based on the requirements and budget of the employing client or company. If, however, you are looking to skip the recruitment process and fees, and yet find a guaranteed professional to handle your project at a reasonable price, Toptal may just be the place for you.

In the same vein, if you consider yourself an expert at what you do and you fall into any of the freelancing categories that Toptal offers, you can boost your career by applying to freelance on the Toptal platform.

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