Toptal Vs Upwork

Toptal Vs Upwork [Pros, Cons, Features & Pricing 2022]

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Toptal vs Upwork

Toptal and Upwork are innovative online platforms that match freelancers to jobs. If you are a freelancer searching for a short- or long-term job, you can also explore job opportunities with companies that are hiring now on Upwork and Toptal. At the same time, these platforms help companies hire freelance talent for projects ranging from creative services to engineering. If you’re a freelancer looking for work, or a company looking for a skilled worker to fill a gap, chances are you will use one of these platforms sooner or later. Let’s take a look at both Toptal and Upwork, so you can determine which one is the best fit for you. 

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About Toptal

Toptal provides clients with reputable freelance designers and developers for short/long periods of time based on client requirements. They save individuals or businesses time searching through many applicants for individual skills that may not always need to be applied when living contract-to-contract. This allows for full control over when independent contractors are awarded contracts because payments are held until satisfactory completion. The platform also offers different payment models to ensure minimum risk for both sides of the agreement.

Toptal is noted for curating its freelancers and claims to have the “top 3%” of freelancers in any given career field. As a freelancer, if you meet the cut, Toptal is a great place to hang your hat. You can find any type of job you’re looking for, from writing to designing, etc. The best part about it is that there are no fees or commissions taken out, either. 

From the employer’s perspective, Toptal has numerous benefits:

– It costs less than hiring an in-house resource and has a much lower overhead than traditional staffing agencies. Toptal freelancers also need not fill out lengthy job applications and undergo extensive background checks before getting hired for a position.

– Freelancers can be contracted for loads of different tasks including design, programming/development, copywriting, photography, etc., so you never know when you might need one such service such as photography services on the fly!

Toptal is well regarded in the industry because the platform offers high-quality freelancers at competitive price points in comparison to other services, freelancers can be hired in 24 hours with no legal strings attached, and payments are held in escrow until you’re completely satisfied with the freelancer’s work.

About Upwork

Upwork is the world’s largest online workplace, where savvy businesses and professional freelancers go to work! With Upwork, you can find jobs in over 80 categories including web development, design, sales, writing, translation, and more. There are many reasons to choose Upwork, such as cost which is one of the platform’s best features as far as companies seeking freelancers are concerned. There are freelancers from all over the world looking for work, so it’s never limited to geographical boundaries either. If you are looking to build a global team of capable freelancers, Upwork is a great place to start. 

Upwork has been rapidly growing over recent years because it offers efficiency without sacrificing creativity or independence, which makes this platform perfect for any type of professional looking towards growth opportunities. Upwork has helped millions of entrepreneurs find talented professionals they otherwise wouldn’t have access to through traditional methods like hiring an agency or recruiting firm. If you’re looking for a flexible way to earn extra cash or grow your business check out how Upwork can help you.

Whether you are a company seeking freelancers or someone searching for a new job, Upwork is intuitively easy to navigate. As a client, you simply post your project description on Upwork and potential candidates bid to win it – once a freelancer is hired, the platform makes it easy for freelancers to submit work for approval, and all payments occur within the platform as well. 

Vetting Process on Toptal vs Upwork for Freelancers

Toptal is a leading provider of freelance talent to top companies in the industry. They start by putting you through their 5-step recruitment test that begins with language and personality exams, followed by various project assignments tailored for qualifications and experience level before deciding who will be best suited as company employees or contractors.

In order to be a part of the Toptal freelancer community, users must meet very high standards. These rigorous tests ensure that only qualified applicants make it into their ranks and can work towards helping develop new products or services for clients with incredible precision. A dedication to excellence has led this company to be one of the most sought-after freelancers in town. They only hire the top 3% of developers who are able and willing, so if you want an opportunity for professional growth with great people then look into Toptal.

Conversely, Upwork is more of an open for all platform for all freelancers, and no mandatory tests are required to become a part of the Upwork community. After you create a basic profile on Upwork as a freelancer, you will be ready to start seeking work. Companies or individuals seeking freelancers can use prior customer feedback as a tool among others on the platform to find a worker who is a good fit for their project, and then interview them to ultimately get a contract in place to commence work. 

Upwork Vs Toptal Fees & Charges

Charges and Fees

Both Toptal and Upwork offer a variety of payment options so you can work with them on your terms.

Hourly Rate: 

You choose how many hours per week, and Toptal/Upwork will pay an hourly rate based on that number for as long as it takes to complete the project; this option works well if there’s no specific deadline in mind, and you just need a system to capture the amount of time worked. Both platforms do a good job of capturing the hours a freelancer works on a project, eliminating the need for invoicing. 

Project-Based Model: 

In consideration for all those hardworking independent professionals out there who need help completing projects within certain deadlines the two platforms have created what is called “fixed fees”. This means both the client and the freelancer would agree on a fixed price before the commencement of the project.

Also, for each project, Toptal requires a $500 minimum deposit while on Upwork, you can deposit at low as $5. These fees are refundable on both sites if the project doesn’t go as planned. 

Upwork has four business plan features for clients, which are summarized in this table:

 Monthly ChargesDedicated SupportPayment Fee
Business$499YesNo (Only, 10% Client fee)
EnterpriseContact support for pricingYes 

Escrow Policy

On both Toptal and Upwork platforms, funds are held in escrow and only released when projects are completed.

Toptal and Upwork use escrow, a payment system where the fee must first go through an independent third party before it can be released. As a freelancer, you decide how much you want to be compensated per milestone or if you wish for all of your money paid once completed with the assignment instead.

In both cases, there are no refunds unless requested directly from one party involved which will require following up again after each interaction until then agreement has been reached on final terms. 

Toptal and Upwork both protect Clients and Freelancers. Over the years they’ve been very successful at that with low report of fraud from both platforms.

Hiring Process

Toptal has a proven hiring process that will help you find the perfect expert for your project’s needs. They’ll conduct an expert assessment of what’s required and shortlist several candidates from which to choose based on skill level or location. There is no guarantee they will be able to fulfill all requirements, but Toptal offers a 2-week trial period which helps you to confirm if the freelancer you employed is the right fit for the job.

Conversely on Upwork, you can find any freelancer with the right skills. Although there isn’t an expert assessment that helps to shortlist candidates thus the hiring process on Upwork is more stressful as you have to receive bids after you’ve posted a gig on the Upwork marketplace and then narrow it down yourself – just create your project with any keywords or requirements in mind.

Freelancer’s Rates

Toptal is known for screening professionals and only allowing the most skilled to join its platform. Developers on Toptal are paid higher fees than those who use Upwork, but it’s worth considering that your chance of finding someone qualified may be better here as well if you want an easy hire without any upfront costs or a long recruitment process.

Toptal charges tend towards being costlier due in large part because only high-level contractors will be accepted by this site meaning pay rates will have to match their standard.

Commission Applied

Upwork is a popular place to find freelance developers, but its high 20% commission fee turns off many quality prospects. Although after accumulating $500 from a client, the charges are reduced to 10%. 

Toptal may be an agency, but it’s not like any other. Toptal takes more of their cut from the client than they pay out in wages. 

Unlike Upwork where the client negotiates directly with the freelancer on the rate, Toptal is not exactly transparent about its rates. Clients don’t know the real wage of the freelancer employed and vis-à-vis. Toptal bills the Clients and pays less to the freelancer. No one knows exactly the percentage cut on every freelancer except for Toptal management.

Payment Structure

Toptal and Upwork both provide a similar experience when it comes to billing. They accept most major credit cards, PayPal as well as bank accounts for fees if needed.

Alternatives to Both Toptal and Upwork

Toptal and Upwork aren’t the only games in town when it comes to freelancers. Here are some other platforms that are worth taking a look at as well. 

Fiverr: Fiverr is a freelance platform that allows people to sell their services for $5 or more. The site has been around for almost 11 years and has become very popular with freelancers looking to make some extra money. Services range from programming to graphic design, to voiceovers. The site has grown in popularity over the past few years due to its convenience and low cost.

Freelancer: Freelancer is a website that offers freelancers the chance to apply for all types of jobs, from graphic design to writing and translation. It is the world’s largest freelance marketplace, with over 2 million registered users in more than 180 countries. You can find work on Freelancer by setting up an account or using their quick search bar to find out what type of job you are looking for.  There are plenty of opportunities available with freelancers in your area who have top reviews and ratings.

Flexjobs: Flexjobs is a great resource for anyone looking for work that’s flexible. They have openings in many different fields, including customer service, finance, and accounting, medical billing and coding, as well as office administration. In addition to the jobs, they advertise on their site you can also post your resume or apply directly to any of the companies listed on Flexjobs. If you’re seeking a job with more flexibility than what is typically available from traditional employers, then Flexjobs may be a good place to start your search.

LinkedIn: If you’re interested in a career in the freelance industry, then LinkedIn is also a great place to start. Not only can you search for jobs and connect with people, but it’s also a wonderful tool for finding out about companies that interest you. LinkedIn can be an effective job-hunting resource if properly maximized.

Parting Thoughts: Toptal Vs Upwork

With remote work and building talented teams more important than ever before, freelancing has become both a popular way of work and a critical resource to help companies get the people they need to accomplish their missions. Both Toptal and Upwork are great places for freelancers to find work. They are also great places for companies to find the talent they need to succeed as well. So, based on your budget, experience, goals and requirements, check out these two platforms, and see which one is the best fit for your own employment, or your company’s human resources needs. 


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