What is Toptal? Is Toptal good for freelancers? An Ultimate Guide 2023!

With many freelance job boards available online, Toptal takes a different approach for those seeking work and talent. With Toptal, freelancers have the opportunity to access a platform that is specifically designed for them. Various features include a marketplace where freelancers can find clients, a chat interface, and a payment system.

Also read about other freelancing platforms: Guru, Upwork, and People Per Hour.

Beyond that, let’s examine Its pros and cons to determine whether its high price tag is justified in bringing in the best talent.

What is Toptal?

Toptal, which draws its name from top talent, is an intermediary between companies seeking to hire freelancers and freelancers seeking employment. In addition to its pre-vetted freelancers, it has some other advantages.

Toptal uses its screened database of freelancers to ensure that companies only hire the “top 3% of freelance talent”. Most job boards and freelancer marketplaces allow anyone to create a profile.

How does Toptal work?

The main objective of this platform is to connect highly qualified professionals with significant clients from around the world. While you might believe that Toptal is a platform for freelancers of all expertise levels, that is different.

It employs freelancers primarily from five professional fields:

  • Designers
  • Developers
  • Finance experts
  • Project Managers
  • Product Managers

In addition, It has a long list of sub-categories within each genre, but that is all there is to it. Therefore, if you are seeking freelance work as an HR manager or writer, Toptal may not be the right place for you. One feature that makes this platform stand out is that it employs only 3% of the talent available online. In other words, It receives thousands of applications monthly but only selects a few talented individuals for employment.

A thorough screening process is utilized on the site to determine the freelancers’ skills, abilities, and personalities. As a result, the platform uses this information to match freelancers with clients who need their services.


Is Toptal free?

However, Toptal only provides this service for a fee. In contrast, Toptal charges employers a substantial upfront fee so that only the most innovative and well-funded companies can afford to hire through the platform.

Similarly, freelancers cannot choose their hourly rates on Toptal as they may on other sites. While they can specify their expected Toptal freelance rate during the sign-up process, the remuneration is determined by the nature and duration of the project.

How to Sign Up for Toptal?

You may have already decided whether or not you would like to join Toptal as a freelancer now that you understand what to expect. You can begin the registration process by following the detailed instructions. It is true that the entire process is quite lengthy and may require quite some time to complete, but beginners should be able to navigate the website easily as it is engaging and intuitive.

As a first step, you will be required to fill out an application containing information about yourself, including your name, location, and expertise. The email confirmation you receive after submitting the initial form will be your confirmation. Click on the link in the email, and you will be redirected to the site where your dashboard will be displayed.

The site will ask for additional information on this page before beginning the screening process. Various tests will be administered during the screening process to determine your personality and skills. Furthermore, the platform conducts a live screening, a practice project test, and an evaluation of your consistency.

You must pass all five phases to be granted access to Toptal. It usually takes about five weeks for the complete screening process to be completed.

The process is much easier if you are an employer; however, you must be prepared to spend considerable money. It charges employers $500 at the beginning of the process to connect them with qualified talent. Should the employer be satisfied with the services provided, there is a trial period during which he may receive a refund.


Toptal’s prices are higher than those on unregulated marketplaces such as Upwork and Fiverr, although it depends on your specific project and the freelancer you select. To begin with, let us examine some of the positive aspects of pricing:

  • There are no fees associated with recruiting or terminating with Toptal.
  • Moreover, before you commit to a freelancer, you can try them out for free.
  • It is up to you to determine the initial budget.

The price that Toptal provides you will include both Toptal’s service fee and the freelancer’s wage, so there will be no additional charges.

Prices You can Charge!

The price will depend on the job you are seeking to fill and which freelancer you work with. You can get an idea of what to expect by experimenting with Toptal’s salary calculator. For some of the most popular categories of developers, here are the global averages:

  • Full stack developer – $45-$80/hr.
  • Front-end developer – $40-75/hr.
  • Developing backends: $40-$75/hr.

You should note that rates may vary depending on the specialty, but this should give you a general idea of what Toptal charges. There are also higher rates in some locations. For example, if you are seeking a full-stack developer in North America, the average freelancer rate is $70-$120 per hour.

It is also essential to keep in mind that these average rates are the prices that freelancers set, not Toptal’s service charges. Toptal can’t take a commission from freelancers. Instead, they charge an additional fee on top of the freelancer’s rate and present it as a unified rate to the hiring company.

It is up to you to determine how Toptal stacks up in price against its competitors and draw conclusions based on those results. In practice, you will quickly come to understand how this all works.

The last step before getting started with your new freelancer is to make a deposit. Deposits are $500, which will be credited to your first invoice (or refunded if you decide not to proceed with the project). The payment terms for an ongoing arrangement are usually Net 10, with Toptal invoicing twice per month.

Explore The Pros and Cons

Much attention is given to Toptal due to the company’s claim that it only hires the top 3% of freelancers. According to this statement, only the cream of the crop is employed by them. Keep this in mind. However, good developers are only a tiny part of a project’s success.

Product development processes and development practices are essential to a successful project. Project managers with technical expertise and experienced account managers are included in this group.


  • Using Toptal, companies can find freelancers (freelancers, designers, and financial specialists). Small projects may save a lot of time by hiring developers this way.
  • The cost of hiring freelancers is lower than hiring agencies. Despite freelancers costing more per hour than traditional part-time or full-time employees, they can save companies a lot of money on a project-by-project basis.
  • Even though you can’t specify an hourly rate on Toptal, your clients won’t haggle over price. You can determine competitive market research based on your expectations.
  • You won’t find Toptal’s worldwide events on other freelance websites. Members get access to these events, learn new skills, gain exposure, and grow their networks.


  • It does not allow freelancers to set their hourly rates. Your expected rate is requested, and the platform claims to be market competitive.

Is Toptal Suitable For Freelancers?

Only some people are suited to the business model. This model is ideally suited to talented individuals who want to work for themselves, set their hours, and work on exciting projects. Furthermore, it gives businesses access to a global talent pool and enables them to hire the best candidates. While its business model may not suit everyone, it is a great model for those it serves.

Many talented software engineers, designers, and product managers are available on the market. Yet, most of them cannot work with the world’s most innovative companies simply because they need to learn how to find them. Its business model addresses this problem by connecting clients with top talent worldwide.

As reported in Toptal reviews from freelancers, the platform pays well for high-quality work. Considering the platform spends significant resources screening freelancers, it advertises each member at a high price.

You can earn approximately $60 per hour as a freelance developer. As a bonus, you can earn up to $10,000 upon completion of a project lasting a week or a month. According to the platform, its freelancers are the best on the internet, but they also offer a refund if the client is unsatisfied with their services. This is why many significant clients are willing to invest in the platform since it safeguards the client’s investment.

Frequently asked questions

How hard is it to get into Toptal?

Its entry requirements vary depending on your experience, qualifications, and market conditions, making it impossible to give a one-size-fits-all answer. A common barrier to entering TopTal is its competitive nature. Software development platform Toptal connects companies with top talent.

How is Toptal different from Upwork?

Both platforms favor clients. Clients have priority over freelancers in this setup. The client generally wins arbitrations and complaints so you can hire a freelance developer from either platform.

There is a narrow field with Toptal, but one that is weighed, measured, and not lacking. Their skills are guaranteed, but they are at the premium end of the freelance market.

Free-for-all marketplace Upwork. The talent pool will be huge, but you’ll need to filter the good from the bad. Both offer hourly or project-based payments and escrow services. They both provide feedback systems and ways to rate freelancers.

Is Toptal free for freelancers?

Freelancers are not permitted to use Toptal for free. In addition to the lack of upfront costs, freelancers are expected to pay a 20% fee on all projects they are hired for through the platform.



No comments yet. Why don’t you start the discussion?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *