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Toptal

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27 User Reviews

7.0

Overall Score

LAST UPDATED: November 6th, 2020

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. 

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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)
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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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Star Rating

3.5

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27 Reviews

Review Breakdown

5 grade

52%

4 grade

4%

3 grade

11%

2 grade

4%

1 grade

30%

Sentiment Criteria

Value

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Quality

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Service

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Trustworthiness

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TopTal Reviewer New York, NY

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.

3 years ago

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Preben

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.

4 years ago

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Josh W 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.

5 years ago

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Del Stone

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.

5 years ago

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Alfredo Balmaseda 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.

4 years ago

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C P 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.

4 years ago

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Juan 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.

2 years ago

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Logan Hopkins

toptal is a rip-off, i found the same developer on CloudDevs.co.uk for half of the price?

3 years ago

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