Hiring Top Talent Comes at a Price: Is Toptal Worth It?

in Productivity

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Founded in 2010, Toptal has earned a global reputation as one of the best freelance marketplace platforms. Toptal (short for “top talent”) works by connecting highly qualified, expert freelancers with clients who need their skills. Thanks to the remote nature of its platform, Toptal is a truly global company with English-speaking freelancers available for hire worldwide.

However, one of the first things potential clients will undoubtedly notice about Toptal is its price tag. Freelancers on Toptal charge significantly more for their work than freelancers on most competitor sites, leaving many wondering whether it’s really worth the cost.

In this article, I’ll explore why Toptal is more expensive and make a case for why hiring freelancers on Toptal is absolutely worth it.

TL;DR: Is Toptal worth the price?

  • Thanks to its rigorous vetting process, Toptal is the best freelance marketplace for finding highly qualified experts in a wide variety of fields.
  • Although it’s pricier than many of the alternatives, the quality of talent and professionalism you’ll find on the platform makes Toptal absolutely worth the cost.

Reddit is a great place to learn more about Toptal. Here are a few Reddit posts that I think you’ll find interesting. Check them out and join the discussion!

Why Toptal?

To put it simply, Toptal is the best talent marketplace hiring experienced and vetted freelancers in fields such as project management, web design and development, finance, and more.

is toptal worth it and safe and legit?

Accordingly, there’s no denying that Toptal is much more expensive than non-vetted marketplaces such as Upwork, Fiverr, Freelancer.com, and others.

The difference in cost is due to the fact that Toptal carefully vets all of its freelancers before allowing them to advertise their services on its platform.

This vetting process can last several weeks and includes an in-depth skill review, a personality and compatibility screening, a live interview, and a skills test.

Even though freelancers are, by definition, not employees, Toptal’s rigorous screening and vetting process is the same as what any employer would do when evaluating potential employees.

When you want to hire a freelancer through Toptal, the platform requires you to sign up and create a profile that includes a clear outline of the project or job you need to get done.

Once your project (and your legitimacy as a company or hiring entity) has been established, Toptal’s sophisticated algorithm and its expert team members will help you find the right freelancer for your needs.

The saying “buy it nice or buy it twice” refers to clothing, but the same is true of freelance work as well: Toptal promises that its freelancers represent “the top 3%” of talent in their given fields, and the quality of work you find on the platform speaks for itself. 

toptal top 3%

It may be tempting to pay less for a freelancer on a different platform, but given that cheaper platforms generally don’t vet their freelancers, it’s a much bigger gamble.

If you want to learn more about what Toptal has to offer, check out my full Toptal review.

Toptal Cost & Fees

Toptal Cost & Fees

So, we’ve established that Toptal is absolutely worth the cost when it comes to hiring freelancers. But exactly how much money are we talking about?

Although the exact cost of hiring a freelancer on Toptal will vary based on the nature of the project or job you need completed, let’s take a look at what you can generally expect.

How Much Does It Cost to Hire a Freelancer on Toptal?

Because Toptal’s freelancers are carefully vetted and guaranteed experts in their field, it stands to reason that they charge more for their labor than freelancers on sites like Fiverr or Upwork.

The cost of hiring a freelancer varies widely based on factors, such as their profession, the nature and specificities of your project, and whether you’ve made a contract agreement to pay hourly, daily, part-time, full-time, or with a flat fee (Toptal allows all of these options).

If you’re paying a freelancer hourly, the cost can range anywhere from $60 – $250 per hour. If you’ve hired part-time, it could be from $1,000 – $4,000 per week, and full-time work could be anywhere from $2,000 – $8,000. 

As for paying a single flat fee, it’s difficult to estimate the cost as it will depend entirely on your project and on the freelancers’ specifications.

Additionally, it’s important to know that Toptal’s fee comes out of the client’s side, not the freelancers’. 

Once your job is complete, you’ll be quoted a single fee that includes Toptal’s service charge (i.e., their cut). This won’t be listed as an extra charge but rather included in the overall fee.

Does Toptal Charge an Initial Deposit?

In short, yes. Toptal requires all of its clients to pay an initial deposit of $500, regardless of the scale or nature of your project.

“Initial” in this case means when you first sign up and create a project profile with Toptal, not when you first hire a freelancer. In other words, you’ll have to put down a $500 deposit in order to have your project considered by Toptal’s team and be matched with a freelancer.

This may seem a bit steep, but don’t worry: the deposit will be put towards your first invoice and will be fully refunded if you don’t end up hiring a freelancer through Toptal.

Questions & Answers

Wrap Up – Is Toptal Worth It, and Safe & Legit to Hire Talent From?

It’s common sense that you have to pay for quality, and freelance labor is no different. 

Sure, you can absolutely find qualified freelancers at potentially lower price points on other freelance marketplace platforms like Upwork or Fiverr, but the fact that you’ll have to vet and evaluate the qualifications of freelancers yourself means you could potentially lose time and money in the process. 

Toptal (Hire the Top 3% of Talent)

Toptal only lets the absolute best talent join their platform, so if you want to hire the top 3% of freelancers in the world, then this Toptal is the exclusive network to hire them from.

The cost of hiring a freelancer from Toptal depends on the type of role you are hiring for, but you can expect to pay between $60-$200+ per hour.

Unlike most of its competitors, Toptal’s hands-on approach to matching you with the best talent from around the globe means that you’re almost guaranteed to be satisfied with the work you’ve paid for.

This means both satisfaction and peace of mind, which (in my opinion) is definitely worth paying a bit extra for.

How We Evaluate Freelancer Marketplaces: Our Methodology

We understand the critical role that freelancer hiring marketplaces play in the digital and gig economy. To ensure that our reviews are thorough, fair, and helpful to our readers, we’ve developed a methodology for evaluating these platforms. Here’s how we do it:

  • Sign-Up Process and User Interface
    • Ease of Registration: We evaluate how user-friendly the sign-up process is. Is it quick and straightforward? Are there unnecessary hurdles or verifications?
    • Platform Navigation: We assess the layout and design for intuitiveness. How easy is it to find essential features? Is the search functionality efficient?
  • Variety and Quality of Freelancers/Projects
    • Freelancer Assessment: We look at the range of skills and expertise available. Are freelancers vetted for quality? How does the platform ensure skill diversity?
    • Project Diversity: We analyze the range of projects. Are there opportunities for freelancers of all skill levels? How varied are the project categories?
  • Pricing and Fees
    • Transparency: We scrutinize how openly the platform communicates about its fees. Are there hidden charges? Is the pricing structure easy to understand?
    • Value for Money: We evaluate whether the fees charged are reasonable compared to the services offered. Do clients and freelancers get good value?
  • Support and Resources
    • Customer Support: We test the support system. How quickly do they respond? Are the solutions provided effective?
    • Learning Resources: We check for the availability and quality of educational resources. Are there tools or materials for skill development?
  • Security and Trustworthiness
    • Payment Security: We examine the measures in place to secure transactions. Are payment methods reliable and secure?
    • Dispute Resolution: We look into how the platform handles conflicts. Is there a fair and efficient dispute resolution process?
  • Community and Networking
    • Community Engagement: We explore the presence and quality of community forums or networking opportunities. Is there active participation?
    • Feedback System: We assess the review and feedback system. Is it transparent and fair? Can freelancers and clients trust the feedback given?
  • Platform Specific Features
    • Unique Offerings: We identify and highlight unique features or services that distinguish the platform. What makes this platform different or better than others?
  • Real User Testimonials
    • User Experiences: We collect and analyze testimonials from actual platform users. What are common praises or complaints? How do real experiences align with platform promises?
  • Continuous Monitoring and Updates
    • Regular Re-evaluation: We commit to re-evaluating our reviews to keep them current and up to date. How have platforms evolved? Rolled out new features? Are improvements or changes being made?

Learn more about our review methodology here.



About Author

Matt Ahlgren

Mathias Ahlgren is the CEO and founder of Website Rating, steering a global team of editors and writers. He holds a master's in information science and management. His career pivoted to SEO after early web development experiences during university. With over 15 years in SEO, digital marketing, and web developmens. His focus also includes website security, evidenced by a certificate in Cyber Security. This diverse expertise underpins his leadership at Website Rating.

WSR Team

The "WSR Team" is the collective group of expert editors and writers specializing in technology, internet security, digital marketing, and web development. Passionate about the digital realm, they produce well-researched, insightful, and accessible content. Their commitment to accuracy and clarity makes Website Rating a trusted resource for staying informed in the dynamic digital world.

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