Known for its highly selective bank of contractors, Toptal is a well-established recruitment platform used by enterprises to hire top freelance talent across multiple disciplines. But is it really as good as it seems?

Quality of talent isn’t the only key factor to consider when hiring freelancers. With that said, we’ve put together this review of Toptal. Keep reading to see how the platform compares to Toptal alternative in terms of benefits for contractors and hirers, pros and cons, and pricing.

Main Differences Between Toptal Vs.

  1. prides itself on being a friendly and transparent platform that benefits contractors and hirers alike. Toptal is mainly targeted to companies looking to hire top talent, with no information about the benefits for freelancers on their website.
  2. is free for contractors but offers an affordable monthly subscription if they want to boost their profile or enjoy other services. We charge zero commission, instead displaying a transparent and accessible monthly pricing plan for hirers that includes multiple benefits. Toptal is also free for contractors, but charges companies commission on each booking. It doesn’t display pricing on its website, and in fact doesn’t let freelancers and hirers discuss rates or contracts at all.
  3. is a recruiter-free zone, designed to cut out the middleman and provide direct communication between hirers and freelancers. By contrast, Toptal is made up of recruiters. While hirers get personalised matches for their job postings, Toptal ticks all the boxes associated with traditional recruitment services. Many client and contractor reviews point to inadequate customer support, opaque pricing and billing, and huge commissions.

What is Toptal?

Toptal is a professional recruiting platform for high-end freelancers. In fact, the name Toptal stands for Top Talent. The company markets itself as an exclusive network of the top 3% of contractors, claiming that no more than this percentage of applicants pass its rigorous screening process.

It was founded in 2010 in Silicon Valley but prides itself on being a completely remote company. Some customer reviews have noted that this means a lack of team cohesion, as they feel like they’re passed around different managers all over the world. Airbnb, Duolinguo, Shopify, and Motorola are counted amongst Toptal’s global clientele.

Toptal: Key Features

For Contractors

  • Very selective process to join freelancer database: apparently only 3% of thousands of applicants are accepted each month. Screening includes:
  • English language test
  • Personality test looking for passion and drive
  • In-depth skill review
  • Practice projects with extensive, real-world scenarios to test competence, thoroughness, professionalism, and integrity
  • Toptal’s website is purely targeted at hiring companies, so there is no more information about the benefits for freelancers themselves.

For Hirers

  • Personalised recommendations for top freelance talent targeted to job profiles across different industries.
  • Fast placement process: typically 0-3 weeks, although they claim that in most cases they can source a suitable freelancer within 24 hours, and 90% of clients hire the first candidate introduced.
  • No-risk 2 week trial period for up to 3 different hires: if a company is not happy with a hire, they don’t have to pay and can start the recruitment process over again.
  • Global pool of contractors and clients: it theoretically targets companies worldwide, however, Toptal is priced too high for emerging markets.
  • Can also be used to assemble cross-functional teams of finance experts, senior project managers, web and developers, user interface designers, and freelancers with other technical skills.

Toptal Pricing

There is no pricing data on Toptal’s website. It’s free for contractors to create a profile, with revenue made from massive commissions charged to companies for each booking. Companies are charged an initial deposit of $500, which is applied against their first invoice and refunded if they decide not to work with the freelancer found for them.

Reviews from clients and contractors suggest that both are prohibited from discussing rates with each other, but that commissions can often be upwards of 100% of the freelancer rate. They also mention that freelancers are restricted to hourly, 20-hour or 40-hour per week fixed contracts with no discounts offered on long-term collaborations.

Overall, Toptal’s pricing is inaccessible for most startups and cash-strapped companies.

Toptal Pros And Cons


  • Well-established company
  • Good for finding top talent who have gone through a rigorous screening process


  • Global company so no advice on country-specific contracting topics, like IR35
  • Poor customer support
  • Non-flexible contracts: they only charge hourly, or for fixed 20-hour or 40-hour weeks, no discounts on long-term partnerships
  • Lack of transparency in pricing and billing, very high commissions
  • Not much focus on contractors themselves: website designed to attract clients
  • Overkill for smaller projects or startups

Toptal Alternative: What is is a recruiter-free job marketplace for premium contractors and hirers in the tech industry. Trusted by companies including Google, Maplin, Crew, Crucial, and Equipment Connect, we mainly target experienced UK-based contract developers and hirers at digital consultancies, because that’s what we know best.

Founded and run by experienced IT contractors, was created out of frustration with recruiters. That’s why we’re so focused on being friendly and transparent, unlike traditional recruitment services. We’re dedicated to mutually benefiting the freelancer as well as the hirer.

Our expert knowledge of the industry also means we offer great, actionable advice on advanced contracting topics like IR35 too! Key Features

For Contractors

  • Free to create a contractor profile and specify availability, tax residency, and rates.
  • Always outside IR35 gigs.
  • Opportunity to boost profile in search results, contact hirers directly, get an IR35 assessment and enjoy discounts for an affordable £19 per month.
  • Membership of community forum to discuss contracting topics and even subcontract work.
  • Search public job board for free and get contacted by hirers.
  • Recruiter-free job marketplace: hirers are vetted before being allowed to join the community.
  • Direct communication with hirers and ability to discuss rates.
  • Access to practical advice on advanced contracting topics like IR35, accounting, and subcontracting etc.
  • Flexible: find digital, tech, and product consultancies, agencies and start-ups offering regular work, long-term, or one-off projects.

For Hirers

  • Find experienced UK-based contract developers, amongst other disciplines, who have been vetted by tech experts to ensure their quality of work.
  • Search and filter outside-IR35 freelancers by rate, currency, location, and whether they’re available for onsite or remote work.
  • Directly message contractors on the database who fit what you’re looking for, or post a public job listing to receive enquiries from interested freelancers.
  • Flat and accessible monthly subscription rate based on 1 job listing per month, with additional listings at extra cost. Listing credits roll over to the next month when unused.
  • Discounts on Notion, accounting services, IR35 tax insurance and contract reviews.
  • 0% commission.
  • No recruiters! Pricing

Unlike Toptal,’s pricing is transparently displayed on our website. Our platform is completely free for contractors to use, but they can choose to boost their profile and enjoy a range of other benefits and tech discounts for a very affordable £19 per month.

Instead of charging ever-increasing commissions,’s pricing model is based on monthly subscriptions for hirers. At a flat rate of £199 per month for one job listing (additional listings at £99 each, which roll over to the next month if unused) plus a host of other great benefits and discounts, our pricing is fully accessible to SMBs, startups and cash-strapped businesses. Pros And Cons


  • No commission
  • No recruiters
  • Direct communication between contractor and hirer and freedom to discuss every aspect of a contract
  • Premium, experienced contractors who have been carefully vetted by tech experts
  • Actionable advice on IR35 and other UK-specific advanced contracting topics
  • Profiles include up-to-date availability to avoid time wasting
  • Customer support run by developers who understand what you’re looking for
  • Discounts on great, relevant products and services


  • We focus on UK-based contractors, which may not be ideal for hirers based in other countries with different tax requirements, etc.

Toptal Vs. Feature Comparison



Free for contractors

Experienced contractors vetted by experts

Trial period after hire

Help with advanced contracting issues like compliance and IR35

Direct communication between hirer and freelancer to discuss the contract and make sure it’s the right fit for both

No commission

No recruiters

Customer support from tech experts


Free for contractors, commission charged to companies for each booking

Free for contractors, £19 for Pro contractors, affordable monthly subscription for hirers

Find Top Contractors For Your Next Job With

There’s no doubt that Toptal is one of the leading recruitment platforms for sourcing top freelance talent. However, with massive commission rates and a focus on finding new clients rather than supporting contractors, it’s definitely not the solution for every company.

By contrast, connects hirers with quality, experienced contractors via a platform that benefits both parties. Importantly, it’s accessible to all budgets, with no hidden fees or commission. In fact, you can discover our services for free!

If you’re a contractor, apply for a profile on our database and search contracts for free. Hirers: browse our database of premium freelancers for free to find top talent for your next job!