Toptal vs Upwork - which site is best for hiring developers?

Want to outsource your development? How does  Toptal fare against Upwork?

If you've ever been in the position to hire developers, you've probably been faced with the decision of which outsourcing company to choose, particularly when looking at the most popular sites - Toptal vs Upwork?

These two major sites both offer development resources for hiring - but what is the difference between them? Which ones makes most sense for you?


toptal vs upwork

We are writing this article because we've hired WordPress developers from both Toptal and Upwork. CollectiveRay has experience working with both.

With Toptal, we went through the onboarding process and quickly got working with a freelance developer who exceeded our expectations.

But before we used Toptal, we tried hiring on Upwork and this is what happened:

1. We hired a developer who copied the code and gave us very shoddy work.

2. We hired another developer who after some time became very unresponsive and never actually gave us the work.

3. We tried multiple times with multiple developers from different countries at sifferent budgets. It took us a long time, and a lot of frustration, to find good developers . Besides plenty of missed deadline.

So let's first compare Toptal to Upwork.

What is Toptal and should you consider them? 

Toptal logoToptal's basic premise is very clear - even from the very name they've chosen for themselves. Toptal is short for "top talent" - and is essentially what this developer hiring company is all about.

Toptal was founded in 2010 by Taso Du Val and Breanden Beneschott - and their aggressive growth has been attributed to the way they operate. In fact, they have been named as the fastest growing software company in 2015

But what is so special about Toptal?

Essentially, Toptal only hire the very best talent - they accept only the top 3% of developers who apply to become freelancers with them.

They have very tough tests, to make sure they weed out any developers who are not of the highest-quality. This pre-vetting of the developers that apply to be listed with the company means one thing.

When you hire with Toptal - you're hiring the very best.

As a company doing the hiring, this means, you're going to save all of the time and hassle that comes with finding and hiring developers.

You don't have to worry about whether the developer you hired will meet your expectations - these developers are guaranteed to be the best in the business.

Toptal cover all of the main development niches, including Javascript developers, WordPress developers, PHP developers, web designers. In essence, if you're after any kind of developers for hire, Toptal has your back.

To get approved as a freelance developer with Toptal, you'll need to pass through 4 phases of testing

  1. Vocal interview to test language
  2. Skills review to assess knowledge
  3. Live tests to prove skillset
  4. Practice projects to assess quality of work

 As you can see, this rigorous testing process guarantees that only top talent is listed with Toptal - so when you hire with Toptal, quality is guaranteed. 

Check out Toptal freelancers

What is Upwork?

Upwork logoUpwork on the other hand is a developer marketplace - essentially, as a hiring company, you submit your project description and developers essentially bid to win your project.

Upwork essentially came about by merging two popular freelancing platforms, elance and oDesk, in December of 2013, essentially creating the largest freelancing platform, connecting thousands of freelancers to clients.

Developers from all over the world will be competing to win your project, so you can expect tens of proposals to come in for your project at various prices.

You typically decide what you want to pay beforehand, whether you want to pay by project, or on a per-hour basis and developers who apply for your job will submit proposals accordingly.

Rather than being limited to developers, Upwork is a marketplace for all sorts of skills.

Clients hiring on Upwork can perform interview as part of the hiring process.

With so many freelancers available for hire, making a good choice is actually quite tough - especially when you get so many applicants for most jobs.

Upwork tries to guide you by awarding "achievements" to freelancers on their network. You'll get such achievements as "Rising Talent", freelancers who are relatively new but have a good success rate. Individuals who have been on the platform for a while and have a good rating can also achieve such statuses as "Top Rated".

However, you'll typically get all sorts of applicants applying for most jobs, so the toughest job for a hiring company is sorting out the wheat from the chaff.

Visit Upwork now

What is the difference between Toptal and Upwork?

When you're considering who to use, from Upwork vs Toptal, there are a few very clear differences.

  1. Quality - with Toptal the quality is guaranteed. With Upwork, although you'll find good developers, you'll need to actually discover this yourself through trial and error.
  2. Price - you'll probably find that hiring on Toptal might be somewhat more expensive on a price/per hour basis. However, this difference is typically recuperated due to the shorter development time frames and quality of the work delivered, if you choose to hire freelancers from Toptal

Should you hire From Toptal or Upwork?

If you're trying to decide between Toptal vs Upwork, your choice is this.

If you want top-notch developers hired in a short time-frame, chose Toptal.

If you have the time to go through a hiring process to find a good developer yourself, chose Upwork.

As a freelancer, understand that if you're not the best in the business, you're not going to get accpeted woth Toptal. It would be best to work hard and prove yourself slowly over time on Upwork than Toptal. This will earn you the reputation to get good work from Upwork- you'll also build your skill set to eventually be accepted as a freelancer on Toptal.


See Toptal freelancers or visit Upwork now


Have you hired from Upwork or Toptal? What was your experienc? How do you compare the two? Let us know in the comments below.




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