Toptal was founded in 2010 and has since emerged as one of the best freelance marketplaces due to the quality of its freelancers. Starting with developers, the company rapidly expanded its service to designers and most recently to finance experts with clients in North America and Europe mostly.
Toptal pricing to its clients depends on a series of factor from your required skills to the length of your project. In any case, Toptal promises to "work with [their] clients to find a price that works for [them]", ensuring some flexibility to their clients. Typical part-time rates range from $1,000 to $1,600+ per week while full-time rates range from $2,000 to $3,200 per week.
Freelancers rates are based on the freelancer location and skills. The total value of the project is not shared with the freelancer and the freelancer is asked not to discuss those details with clients.
In order to become a Freelance Developer or Designer with Toptal, you will need to complete an extensive screening and interview process. There are five stages:
First, you will be interviewed to determine your English proficiency, your overall personality, and your general communication skills. Toptal prioritizes people who are driven and proactive.
Second, you will complete assessments to determine your technical abilities, as well as your intelligence and problem-solving skills.
Third, an expert in your specialty will ask you to complete a set of live exercises. These tasks will be used to evaluate your level of experience, and your creativity in finding efficient solutions.
Fourth, you will be assigned a test project. As you complete the assignment over the course of one to three weeks, Toptal will look for your competence and professionalism in a real-world scenario.
Finally, after acceptance to Toptal, you will be expected to keep up your performance levels to continuously meet their rigorous standards.
When you accept a new assignment on Toptal, a recruiter will act as an intermediary between you and the client. This allows you to focus on your work, while your Toptal representative handles the go-between. If any questions or concerns arise during your project, speak with your recruiter, who will be in touch with the client to can resolve any issues.
Toptal will help you to move from one job to the next. If your assignment is nearly complete, alert their team and they will begin sending you new requests. You can then set up your next project for a seamless transition.
Billing will also be handled by Toptal. They will interface with the client to establish your rate, manage timesheets, and arrange for your payments.
As mentioned above, you will not typically be interacting directly with the client, but instead will work through your assigned recruiter.
Once you are accepted as a Toptal freelancer, you create a profile. You will fill it out with your skills, education, experience, rate, and availability. This profile will be used to match you up with possible clients.
Just as Toptal only accepts the finest freelancers, they also tend to work with top-notch companies. Because they carefully interview and vet each client, you are more likely to work with teams that have a clear idea of their goals, and realistic expectations for timelines and deliverables.
Toptal offers clients a two-week trial period, during which time they will assess if you are truly the right fit to continue working with them. It’s possible they will take on multiple freelancers during this time while making their final decision.
If you are unable to complete an assignment to a client’s full expectations, Toptal steps in to mediate the situation. The client will be refunded their full amount, and Toptal will work to find them a new freelancer.
While working as a freelance developer or designer with Toptal, you can choose part-time or full-time hours, and you can set your own rate.
Clients make payments directly to Toptal when a job is completed. Payments will then be released to you every two weeks. During this period, both you and the client have time to review time sheets and charges to ensure everything is correct.
You may receive your payments through direct bank transfer, or other online payment systesms such as PayPal. Review your options to determine what is best for you—especially if you are outside of the United States, so that you can minimize banking fees.
If any payment issues do arise, the team at Toptal will be there to assist you.
Although Toptal receives thousands of applications every month, only about 3% are accepted. This is due to a lengthy screening process that involves several interviews, examinations, and even a fully-fledged test project. Because of this, Toptal pledges to provide you with only the highest quality freelance developers and designers.
Each applicant is vetted for technical skills, problem-solving abilities, intellect, proficient communication, professional demeanor, and creative talents. In addition, your recruiter works to hand-pick a very small number of freelancers (usually just one or two) who are best suited to your team and company values. Toptal recruits top-tier talent that previously worked in places like MIT, CERN, and Google.
Your recruiter will find you a freelancer for your project in three weeks or less. Toptal maintains that 90% of matches work out, but if for some reason things don’t fit, you have a two-week trial period in which you can request a new match.
Due to the rigorous application process, most freelance developers and designers on Toptal will already be familiar with digital platforms for project management. Chances are good that they will know how to use your online collaboration tools from day one, which makes your onboarding process much simpler. Freelancers are also tested for professional demeanor and good communication skills, leading to a smoother experience throughout the project.
Toptal also offers a flexible system that adapts to your changing needs. You can easily add additional freelancers, transition them into ongoing part-time positions, or end contracts with little fuss. If you would like to hire the contractor to your team full-time, you can speak with the Toptal team about buying out the contract.
There is no recruiting fee for using Toptal. However, you will need to put down a refundable $500 deposit, which will be credited towards invoices after the project begins. If things don’t work out prior to starting the job, and you do not want to move forward, your deposit will be refunded in full.
As mentioned above, you have a trial period of up to two weeks when you sign on a freelancer through Toptal. During this time, if you are not completely satisfied with the freelancer’s work, you can take advantage of Toptal’s guarantee and decline to continue. You will not be charged anything, and you will maintain ownership over any work generated during the trial period. Toptal will then find you a new match.
Depending on your setup, you can choose to pay your freelancer hourly, part-time, or full-time for a fixed price, with no hidden fees. You will receive invoices from Toptal every two weeks, with net 10 terms so that you have time to review before completing payment. Your payments can be submitted via credit card, bank transfer, bank wire, and PayPal.
When you work with freelance developers and designers through Toptal, all generated assets will belong to you, the client. Even if the contract is terminated prematurely, you will maintain ownership of all intellectual property.
Before you are even paired with a freelancer, they have already signed talent agreements with Toptal. This ensures that Toptal has total and exclusive rights of ownership to all work created by the freelancer. Then, through the client agreement that you sign with Toptal, the intellectual property and all associated rights are passed on to you.