Toptal is a global network of top talent in business, design, and technology that enables companies to scale their teams, by hiring on demand. The company serves thousands of clients, including Fortune 500 companies such as Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Bridgestone, and Pfizer, among many others, delivering expertise and a world-class freelance solution. 

The company was founded in 2010 by CEO Taso Du Val and COO Breanden Beneschott. Admission to the Toptal network requires passing an extensive screening process, with an emphasis on problem-solving capabilities and soft skills, such as collaboration, communication, professionalism, and creativity. The screening process underscores Toptal’s unique attitude that remote teams are motivated by impact, not hours worked. The top 3 percent of applicants make it through the screening process to join the website's hiring network.

Clients can engage freelancers in part-time, full-time, or hourly positions and each engagement starts with a no-risk trial period. 

Keep reading for pros and cons, plus Toptal reviews from real users. 

The Good

  • Focused on Top Quality Talent in a Variety of Fields
  • Fully-Managed Billing/Payments
  • Professional Growth
  • Community Support
  • Work Flexibility
  • Giving Back

Focused on Top Quality Talent in a Variety of Fields

Through its comprehensive screening process, Toptal will only hire the very best software engineers, designers, and business experts. By focusing only on those fields of expertise, Toptal promises to provide its clients with talented individuals who are the best fit for clients’ projects and who can produce excellent work.

Toptal engineering offerings include:

  • AI/machine learning
  • Back-end development
  • Blockchain engineering
  • DevOps
  • Front-end development
  • Full-stack development
  • React development
  • Among many others

Toptal design offerings include:

  • Brand & logo design
  • Mobile app design
  • Product design
  • UI design
  • UX design
  • Responsive web design
  • Among many others

Toptal business offerings include:

  • Blockchain/ICO consulting
  • Financial modeling
  • Interim/part-time CFO work
  • Fundraising consultants
  • Private equity consultants
  • Valuation specialists
  • Venture capital consultants
  • Among many others

Toptal project management offerings include:

  • Technical/digital project management
  • Scrum masters
  • Program managers
  • Lean project managers
  • Technical business analysts
  • Among many others

Fully-Managed Billing/Payments

Members of the Toptal network do not have to handle payment or billing issues. The site bills clients twice a month and then pays the freelancer directly, so there are no concerns with late or unpaid compensation.

Professional Growth

Toptal enjoys healthy revenue gains year over year and has received news coverage from outlets including Forbes and TechCrunch about its success. With this strong revenue foundation, Toptal ensures every member of its talent network can benefit from professional growth opportunities. This is integral to the company’s DNA, and Toptal puts emphasis on progressing the careers of freelancers through high-impact business projects, internal courses on hard and soft skills, mentorship, and more.

Ongoing professional development opportunities are offered to enhance skill sets, with one-on-one guidance on technical and professional skills in everything from cutting-edge technology certifications to public speaking. 

Community Support

Toptal has built an elite global network of experts unlike any other. The company organizes hundreds of community events around the world each year, and as a Toptal freelancer, you have immediate access to a global community through co-working events, volunteering, happy hours, and conferences. 

The company also has a network of conference speakers that deliver keynotes at high-profile events, as well as a network of mentors for members of the network to connect with and support the next generation of top talent.

Work Flexibility

Toptal freelancers work remotely from anywhere and everywhere—they are fully-distributed in over 100 countries. Toptal offers guidance on making the most of your remote work experience while keeping you in the driver’s seat of your schedule. You are in complete control of your hours and rate. 

Giving Back

As a community, members of the Toptal network share the values of giving back and positively shaping the future. Toptal organizes ongoing community programs and services aimed at leveraging the power of their network to give back. Past initiatives have included mentorships, community leadership, academy professorships, and scholarships. Additionally, Toptal Open Source Grants invest $100k each year to members in the network who are contributing to cutting-edge work to open source projects that impact millions of people around the world.

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The Bad

  • Lack of Clear Information Provided to Non-Network Members

Lack of Clear Information Provided to Non-Network Members

The company does not publicly list the number of members it has or how many jobs are available. Given the complexity of the Toptal screening and interview process and the fact that only about 3 percent of applicants make the cut, freelancers may appreciate additional information before they invest time and effort in the screening process. Publicly available information about the number and quality of jobs Toptal has available and how many members you will be competing against should you be accepted by the company would be helpful.

Additional areas where we think Toptal needs to improve its support to freelancers include:

  • The transparency in the number of jobs they have posted (it is currently unknown until you are accepted)
  • The transparency in the quality of jobs they have posted (it is currently unknown until you are accepted)

The Bottom Line

Because the platform has such a strong focus on connecting top talent with leading companies, it’s a great place to grow your professional skills and do impactful, resume-boosting work from anywhere in the world.

The application process to join Toptal is involved because the company carefully screens its members to guarantee they have the required professional and technical skills to complete projects with the highest quality. Toptal’s revenue growth indicates that the company is providing client engagements for the members of its network. As with any agreement, if you are accepted by Toptal, read the terms of service carefully and ask for clarification if anything confuses or concerns you before joining the network.

Toptal has the expertise to seek out challenging and well-paid jobs for its members and it is actively seeking team members based in countries throughout the world. This business model can help developers, engineers, designers, and finance experts work on their own terms and can assist its clients in connecting with the best talent regardless of location for their most critical initiatives.

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User Reviews

Star Rating

3.5
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26 Reviews

Review Breakdown

5 star
54%
4 star
4%
3 star
8%
2 star
4%
1 star
31%

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Juan

April 26th, 2019 Washington, DC

Project managers be warned. Toptal solicits for "Project Managers" to go through their application process, however, be very careful. Toptal only wants scrum masters. Don't waste your time if you're not focused exclusively on engaging in assignments as a scrum master.

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Enrique K

April 15th, 2019 DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Services are OK but not worth the prices at all. did the initial bit with them then we sourced a developer from Cloud Devs to do the rest of the work as they were much more reasonable on the pricing

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daniel kelly

February 18th, 2019 DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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they are good price are way too high then i decided to go with Cloud Devs

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James

January 15th, 2019 Southlake, TX DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Our small company needed a database project to collect data and produce required reports. Toptal found us an expert who developed a tool that meets all our needs, and we are very satisfied with the results.

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Don McMurtry

September 20th, 2018 Clifton Park, NY DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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We were searching for a very specific technical skill. The Toptal team identified a candidate very quickly and the consultant was soon working on our project. We were thoroughly pleased with the results and we will certainly work with the consultant again and we will look to Toptal for other needs if the circumstance should arise.

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Alex Martell

August 20th, 2018 DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I've worked with Toptal for 3 years now and every time I wrap up a project I'm looking forward to starting the next with them. Not only do their engineers deliver superb work, in every engagement I learn something new from them.

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James

August 2nd, 2018 Sarasota, FL DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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We are starting up and taking quite some time to source permanent hires. Toptal has been invaluable in filling in the talent gap and keeping our product development on track while we build up our permanent team.

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Yucheng

July 24th, 2018 San Francisco, CA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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It's been a great experience! Finding freelance or contract designers can be hard. TopTal took the time to understand my project and needs. It's great that there's you have a liaison who help you write the scope of work and then recommends the right designers. They have great people and a lot of experience. We're sticking with them long-term because it's been such a convenient solution. Their customer service is also all-around great -- prompt and courteous. Our designer, Pawel, in particular, has done an outstanding job with a variety of projects. He's versatile and patient. He usually gets to a great outcome in a couple iterations, and he takes feedback really well. He's also incredibly nice and has fast turnaround time. I'd highly recommend working with him!

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Cesar Garza

July 20th, 2018 Houston, TX DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Awesome experience! The Toptal designer really exceeded our expectations. From listening to our needs and wants to actually executing the plan, we could not have asked for more. He truly nailed the design and we could not be happier.

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Jessica Brown

July 19th, 2018 Seattle, WA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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My company has had an excellent experience with Toptal. Over the last few months, we've hired two freelancers via Toptal. One is full time and the other is just a few hours/week. Both freelancers are excellent fits for our projects. My small team especially appreciated the Engineering Director's assistance in finding a developer, since this is our first foray into software development. The Toptal team has always been helpful and responsive to questions. Next time I need a freelancer Toptal will be the first place I go. I will certainly recommend them!

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Daniel Miller

July 16th, 2018 Saint Paul, MN DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Toptal has been a great company to work with from day one. Prior to working with Toptal I had terrible experiences with developers for my mobile app. Apps were buggy, improvements were delayed, etc. I have used Toptal for web development and app development and the developers have all been terrific and responsive. The onboarding process is super smooth and the support is terrific. If your company has development needs Toptal is a no brainer.

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Sam Rizk

July 10th, 2018 Westlake, OH DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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The consultant that TopTal provided was excellent. She did what she was asked to do , provided creative feedback and was a no nonsense quality driven database developer. I would hire her again any time

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Andrew Bellay

June 15th, 2018 San Francisco, CA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Great experience. The entire Toptal team and our developer were prompt, professional, and a pleasure to work with. Thanks for helping us hit a home run with our project!

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Lindsay Irwin

June 7th, 2018 Tecumseh, MI DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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Toptal talent saved our business! We had a terrible developer who took advantage of us and our lack of knowledge to put us months behind schedule with no hope to launch our website on time. Toptal found us a talented developer who communicated and worked with us to get our project moving in the right direction. Professional AND knowledgeable. I would suggest Toptal to anyone!

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Gael Parra

January 30th, 2018 La Honda, CA DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I am a software developer graduated from Stanford and MIT. After experiencing the quality of their talent through different informal situations, I hired talent from the network for my side projects. Their back-end and front-end developers were great. Toptal provided top candidates within 2 days, and despite my very specific requirements, they always kept a great customer service. I definitively will trust them in my future projects.

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Logan Hopkins

January 30th, 2018 DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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toptal is a rip-off, i found the same developer on CloudDevs.co.uk for half of the price?

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TopTal Reviewer

January 25th, 2018 New York, NY DETAILS arrow_drop_down
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I'm writing about TopTal Finance, which is part of the TopTal company that offers tech freelancers. TopTal is a virtual company, and it shows; they are extremely disorganized and the right hand doesn't know what the left is doing. Their client development effort is really quite feeble. They post very few jobs in absolute terms, not to mention relative to the number of freelancers on their platform. THEN, most of the jobs (about 2/3) are deleted / withdrawn. Only a small percentage of the jobs are "real" and get filled. I agree with other reviews that question the "top 3%" claim. Definitely, a number of their freelancers are not "top 3%" in quality. In fact, the rates that TopTal clients are willing to pay would not attract "top 3%" freelancers. Almost ALL TopTal Finance jobs are for very early stage "companies" (which often means one person and an idea). I'm pretty sure that none of them are Fortune 100 or 1000, as claimed in the TopTal adverts. All in all, I cannot recommend working with TopTal Finance.

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Preben

October 9th, 2017

Disappointed. I hired a TopTal contractor to work with me and one other developer on an important project. The contractor was unable to communicate effectively and alienated the other developer by ridiculing him during our daily scrums. He had a prima dona attitude and on more than one task, he implemented functionality in a way that I had asked him NOT to - he thought he knew better. In one case, I had to throw away several weeks of his work and redo it myself. I tried to turn things around by speaking to him about his attitude but this didn't work. So, I communicated with the company and they let me cancel with no notice but didn't apologize or reimburse me any amount. They seem to consider themselves a simple matchmaker (not a good one in my opinion) without any commitment to the results obtained.

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Alex

August 7th, 2017

I didn't see any of these negative reviews here before I tried Toptal, and I am glad I didn't because I think I wouldn't have given them a chance. First of all you need to understand what you getting. You are not buying a final product, you are not getting an agency that usually has a process on how they get something done. What you are getting is a contractor that comes pre screened and then picked for you by Toptal. If you understand that you will have a good experience. This is not a service where you just hire someone, send them some wireframes and comeback to a finished product 2 weeks later. You have to manage your contractor, create a schedule and check in on them. We worked with a few people from Toptal and we had great experience at all times. Yes, there were road bumps and there were some delays, but they were never unexpected as contractors kept us in the loop at all times with daily meetings (again that's what we asked and that's what we received). I think most people expect some quick and easy solution that will take care of their problems and that's where miscommunication happens.

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Saad

August 5th, 2017

Top rated developer on Upwork with number of successful projects. And recently joined toptal and landed on my first job. After a month, I can say its far better than other sites like Upwork or Fiverr where you have to beg and compete with low quality developers to get a project. Where one bad experience can ruin your whole profile. Toptal on the other hand, due to vetting and fixed rates done justice to client & developer. On toptal, you can work calmly without tension of billing or rates negotiation. You can also schedule break. If there is some issue, you can talk to assigned recruiter to discuss and fix the issue. So, from freelancer's perspective, I must say toptal is far better than Upwork.

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Oliver

July 15th, 2017

Used Toptal and had a good experience despite a few issues they had to resolve

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Alfredo Balmaseda

July 12th, 2017 Oregon, WI

TopTal's hiring practices are unfair and disadvantageous. Even when the objective of the assessment has been accomplished, they still deny continuing in the process and they make artificial hurdles that prevent people from getting in. Without improving their discriminatory recruitment practices I do not know how they could be given a good review.

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C P

June 9th, 2017 Dublin, CA

Awful experience. Toptal doesn't care about the clients or projects, they just care about the $. After spending over $100k with them, a small bug was found during an engagement with one of their resources. Over a week goes by without any resolution or care, just a "sorry" and "things happen." Unprofessional, unreliable, and a poor experience with all of the "talent" provided.

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Dmitry Pavlov

April 16th, 2017

As a remote .NET developer I work via Toptal for thier clients with very careful assistance since 2012.

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Josh W

August 11th, 2016 Cookeville, TN

**Buyer Beware* Total Estimated Cost: $8,800 Total Actual Cost: $22,745.13 Estimated Project Completion: 8 Weeks Actual Project Completion: Never completed after 26 weeks of work and payments As you can see by the numbers above we had a very poor experience with Totpal. We are taking time to write this honest review to help others that might be looking at Toptal for a future development project. We can only attest to the one project we had with them so this experience will obviously differ from some of the other reviews they have had. Here are some highlights of what we experienced: Lack Of Communication: This was our first development project and we were using Toptal as being an expert in finding the top developers in the world. Toptal had us interview three developers that they said were fully capable of completing this project and from those interviews, we chose one. This developer was friendly to work with but we had a hard time getting a timely response from him. During the 26 weeks of the project we had several times that we would go days without being able to get in touch with him. We often communicated this with our project manager at Toptal who would have to get involved to get the developer communicating again. Toptal never did fix the communication problem but instead just sent an email to the developer each time we contact Toptal. Lack of Delivery: Our developer initially estimated 8 weeks to complete the project. We gave a very detailed overview of our project with 20 plus pages of “mock ups” showing what the final project should look like. The developer commented that this was one of the most detailed project descriptions he had ever received. We added very little to the original project and the stuff added was typically a change the developer recommend to the project and not an addition to the overall scope. Despite our detailed instruction, the project dragged on and on as the developer kept saying he was running into “bugs” or he needed more time. Every time we pinned down a “new” date of completion with the developer he would miss the deadline and we would continue with a new deadline. Toptal was aware of the delay and did very little to speed up the process or question why it was taking so long. At one point, Toptal added a second developer to help speed things up and the second developer was worse than the first developer. The second developer rarely communicated with us and was not getting things done. He was however very prompt at billing his hours to us. After 26 weeks, we were no closer to completion and ended the project with Toptal. We are now working with a new company and developer that is night to day better than the experience we had with Toptal. Our new developer communicates with us daily and we are now almost at completion. Excessive Cost: Be very cautious of the estimate you get from Toptal in the beginning. We were estimated $8,800 and ended up paying over $22,000 with no completed project. If we kept going with them, we likely could have just poured in more money with no results. We asked Toptal for a partial refund and have yet to get one. If we do get a refund, we will update this section of the review to let all of you know. We are paying an additional $5 to $7k to have our new developer finish the project. If we had gone with this developer originally we would have saved SO much money. Bottom Line: The bottom line is we were charged almost 3 times what we expected and did not even get a completed project out of it. Toptal fail far short of our expectations. Toptal claims to have the best developers in the world but the two that we worked with were very poor. Toptal management has yet to rectify the poor experience and the negative financial impact this project has had on our company. We hope that you do your due diligence in talking to several companies before you make a decision on going with Toptal. Our mistake was not looking around more and taking Toptal's online reviews and their word in assuming our experience would be a good one. We learned our lesson and hope to help you to not make the same mistakes as us.

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Del Stone

February 20th, 2016

Having seen lots of positive reviews, which we now suspect are instigated by Toptal themselves given some posts we have seen by employees, we decided to give them a try. We tried to recruit for a couple of projects and throughout the process we found Toptal reminiscent of pushy salesmen, self-interested, intimidating and attempting to bill as much as possible whilst doing as little as possible. In our experience, their focus is on helping their consultants maxing the invoicing whilst doing as little as possible more interested. **Questionable Timekeeping and over-billing** Their developers working hours were all over the place. They wouldn't even bother to log his hours on our time-monitoring system, despite being asked to do so on a number of occasions and having agreed to do so from the start. Hours would be often be plucked from thin air and billed. On questioning them developers would become argumentative and develop a strop. **Misleading 10 day trial** The 10 day trial is misleading marketing designed to hook in clients. They allocate trial days based on the length of the project - thus beware. We were told to make a decision within 5 days, impossible given one of the developers was unprepared to start the project and the other had been doing odd hours here and there - both much less than 5 days. **Unprepared developers** The first developer was totally unprepared - we had asked for them to undertake a simple review task prior to the interview. One had a brief glance and the other didn't bother - a warning signal that we should have paid more heed to than we did. When the project started, one spent a number of days to install the basic php development environment on his local machine despite claiming several years experience developing in php - we were expected to pay for something that is expected as default. The other did a few hours here and there whilst working full time on other projects and completing Toptal recruitment tasks. This meant our project came in last typically at the end of a long working day - leaving him exhausted and unable to complete anything but the most trivial of tasks. Strangely, we were informed by Toptal that our expectations were unsatisfactory! **Conclusion** Overall poor experience and one that overall added significant delays to our projects - our clients were unhappy with the results as were the other developers who had to review the work that was done. Ask lots of questions before you use these guys - as you would of used car salesmen. Don't believe the positive reviews - and lack of negative reviews simply means Toptal bullies, pressurises and fabricates stories to get websites to take down reviews. This has happened with ourselves with this review and if anyone is interested supporting emails can be provided.

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