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8 Best Toptal Alternatives for Hiring Developers [2020]

Toptal is the most popular solution for finding and hiring freelance software developers.

It isn’t the recommended solution for everyone, though.

Why?

There are two main reasons:

  1. Toptal is expensive.
  2. Toptal is skewed towards enterprises.

We researched, tested and summarized 8 Toptal alternatives that should be a better fit for your business.

What’s Toptal?

To put it simply, Toptal is a freelancer marketplace focused on connecting software developers, designers, finance experts, product managers, and project managers with thousands of companies around the globe.

Toptal – freelancer marketplace connecting IT professionals with companies around the globe.

Toptal was founded in 2010 and since then has helped over 500,000 companies in more than 150 countries find required talents.

# How it works

A company fills out a questionnaire available on Toptal’s website and describes its needs. Toptal’s representative reviews the requirements and works with the client to gather further details.

The process: questionnaire > contact with a representative > hand-picking professionals > candidate approval > start of the project

They then hand-pick the best thoroughly screened candidates for the job and present them to the client. If the candidate is disapproved the representative connects the client with other candidates until they are satisfied.

Toptals success statistics.
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# Pros of using Toptal

  • access to a global pool of talents
  • access to top-tier, vetted professionals with great English skills
  • quick hiring process
  • fast team scale up and scale down
  • flexible forms of employment (full-time, part-time, project-based)
  • low failure rate
  • ensured Intellectual Property protection
  • no termination costs

# Toptal pricing

Toptal requires an initial deposit of $500 that will be used to cover the first invoice once the client starts the project. If the client decides not to hire any of the proposed candidates, the deposit is returned.

The platform also provides a no-risk trial period. You can work with the candidate for 14 days, and if you aren’t satisfied you won’t be billed.

The pricing varies from person to person, but typically falls into the following ranges:

The rates of professionals offered by Toptal.
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The above factors made Toptal a popular alternative to traditional IT recruitment.

Cost of hiring a developer:

  • hourly → $60-150/h
  • part-time → $1,000-2,000/week
  • full-time → $2,000-4,800/week

Toptal alternatives – Are they better?

During the decade following Toptal’s launch, many alternative platforms were created to try and beat it at its own game.

They provide an even more effective hiring process and other perks to satisfy the needs of companies that are interested in hiring developers.

Let us take a look at Toptal’s 8 most interesting competitors.

1. Gigster – Let AI help

Gigster put its own spin on client-candidate matching by applying artificial intelligence and machine learning technologies.

The platform contracts specialists in various fields related to software development, and offers to assemble multidisciplinary teams including engineers, designers, and product managers for its clients.

Gigster is a great Toptal alternative for hiring software developers.
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This way Gigster helped its customers complete over 5,000 projects.

  • SKILLS: developers, designers, and product managers
  • SCOPE: flexible hours, part-time, and full-time
  • LOCATION: worldwide
  • HIRING PROCESS: you provide information about your project and Gigster’s AI system automatically assembles a team of software developers led by a project manager.
  • COMMUNICATION: verified >C1 English; you communicate with a project manager assigned to oversee the development of your project
  • PROJECT CANCELLATION: you can cancel project development at any time
  • SECURITY: contract between platform and client, Intellectual Property owned 100% by the client
  • COST: an AI project quotation system estimates the cost of your project based on several criteria.
  • BEST FOR: building flexible multidisciplinary teams and long-term projects

2. Gaper – Top 1% engineers

Gaper claims to work with only the top 1% of engineers who have worked for companies such as Stripe, Oracle, Google, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft.

Gaper is a great Toptal alternative for hiring software developers.
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The platform was founded in 2019 by Ahmed Muzammil and Mustafa Najoom, making it one of the youngest Toptal competitors out there.

  • SKILLS: developers
  • SCOPE: flexible hours, part-time, and full-time
  • LOCATION: worldwide
  • HIRING PROCESS: you fill out a form to get a quote
  • COMMUNICATION: only fluent speakers of English; client chooses the tools
  • PROJECT CANCELLATION: you pay nothing if you decide to stop within two weeks
  • SECURITY: contract between platform and client, Intellectual Property owned 100% by the client
  • COST: starting at $35/h per developer
  • BEST FOR: hiring individual developers and programming teams, cutting costs, flexibility, simple cancellation

3. YouTeam – Zero time differences

YouTeam believes that “The best engineers are not freelancers”. All developers available through the platform are full-time employees at the top software development houses (vetted by YouTeam) across Eastern Europe and South America. YouTeam is a middleman between the client and the software house they choose to work with.

YouTeam is a great Toptal alternative for hiring software developers.
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The platform takes care of the legal and financial aspects of offshore outsourcing and delivers a number of useful features, including time zone matching and proactive quality monitoring.

YouTeam is backed by Y Combinator, an American startup accelerator.

  • SKILLS: developers, designers, project managers, QA engineers
  • SCOPE: flexible hours, part-time, and full-time
  • LOCATION: Eastern Europe, South America
  • HIRING PROCESS: you send proposals to talent suggested by the platform and interview those who accept
  • COMMUNICATION: only fluent speakers of English; client chooses the tools
  • PROJECT CANCELLATION: no information available
  • SECURITY: You sign a direct contract with the selected specialists’ employer agency via YouTeam
  • COST: between $40 and $50 an hour for a single developer + payment processing fees
  • BEST FOR: limiting time zone differences, hiring existing experienced multidisciplinary teams

4. Pangara – Vietnamese specialists

Pangara is a rather unique platform. Although it was created by Swedish founders and has a headquarter in Stockholm it contracts only Vietnamese developers who have passed their verification.

Pangara is a great Toptal alternative for hiring software developers.
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Their four-step qualification process involves application screening, psychometric tests, technical tests, and a structured interview. The purpose of this unique process is to evaluate the candidate’s language skills, drive, motivation, and work ethic.

  • SKILLS: developers, designers, project managers, QA engineers, finance and BI professionals
  • SCOPE: flexible hours, part-time, and full-time
  • LOCATION: Vietnam
  • HIRING PROCESS: you answer a series of questions to describe your requirements and broadcast the job opportunities to Pangera’s network of experienced professionals
  • COMMUNICATION: all professionals on the platform are required to read, write, and speak proficient English; you decide which communication tools will be used
  • PROJECT CANCELLATION: you may cancel the project by providing 10 business days’ written notice to the other party
  • SECURITY: Intellectual Property owned 100% by the client
  • COST: no information available
  • BEST FOR: hiring individual freelancers or building multidisciplinary teams for short-term needs fast, and cutting costs

5. Lemon.io – Transparent process

Lemon.io is another marketplace for vetted developers. Every developer on the platform has gone through English proficiency tests, coding tests, and live interviews, so companies and individual entrepreneurs can skip the resumes and go straight to business.

With Lemon.io you can get matched with your first candidate in 24 hours.

Lemon.io is a great Toptal alternative for hiring software developers.
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  • SKILLS: developers, CTOs
  • SCOPE: part-time, and full-time engagements
  • LOCATION: 96% of developers are located in Eastern Europe
  • HIRING PROCESS: you provide the details about your project and meet your assigned candidate
  • COMMUNICATION: all developers are required to pass English proficiency tests; you can communicate with developers directly using any tool available
  • PROJECT CANCELLATION: upon written notice
  • SECURITY: Intellectual Property owned 100% by the client
  • COST: no upfront fee; hourly rates range between $35 and $55 an hour
  • BEST FOR: startups that want to hire individual developers and CTOs fast, and transparent process

6. Adeva – Pay only if satisfied

The people behind Adeva believe that software developers throughout the world should be given equal opportunity to work on engaging projects.

Adeva is a great Toptal alternative for hiring software developers.
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To provide these opportunities, they created a freelancing platform for developers, designers, and QA engineers, simplifying the hiring process and reducing the cost of recruitment.

  • SKILLS: developers, designers, QA engineers
  • SCOPE: flexible hours, part-time, and full-time
  • LOCATION: worldwide
  • HIRING PROCESS: you submit your contact information and wait for an Adeva representative to contact you and connect you with your personal engineering manager, whose job it is to introduce you to the right tech talent for your project
  • COMMUNICATION: all members of the Adeva network are fluent in English
  • PROJECT CANCELLATION: no information available
  • SECURITY: every member of the Adeva talent network has agreed to a confidentiality clause in their agreement to keep your information safe and secure; Intellectual Property owned 100% by the client
  • COST: no unified rates, price varies from person to person
  • BEST FOR: building dev, design, and QA teams fast, flexible scale-up and scale-down

7. Cloud Devs – Europe & Latin America

Many Toptal alternatives focus on connecting talented developers from a certain geographic region with customers worldwide, and that’s also the case with Cloud Devs.

This freelancing platform makes it easy for companies to work with the top 5% of European and Latin American developers.

Cloud Devs is a great Toptal alternative for hiring software developers.
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Cloud Devs assigns developers based on their previous work experience, time zone, and commitment requirements, among other things.

  • SKILLS: developers and designers
  • SCOPE: flexible hours, part-time, and full-time
  • LOCATION: Europe and South America
  • HIRING PROCESS: you submit information about your project and Cloud Devs helps you find suitable talent
  • COMMUNICATION: dedicated Slack workspace or Google Hangouts; all freelancers are required to speak English fluently
  • PROJECT CANCELLATION: a 14-day no-risk period at the start of each engagement
  • SECURITY: Letter of Engagement (LoE) between platform and client, Intellectual Property owned 100% by the client
  • COST: flat rate of $35 per hour + an initial deposit of $500
  • BEST FOR: hiring individual developers, designers, and teams fast, cutting costs, limiting time zone differences

8. Gun.io – +7 years of experience

Founded in 2011 by JohnPaul Bennett, Rich Jones, and Teja Yenamandra, Gun.io is one of the oldest Toptal competitors.

Most of its developers are based in the United States and have more than 7 years of development experience.

Gun.io is a great Toptal alternative for hiring software developers.
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For developers to join the Gun.io talent pool, they must pass a five-step vetting process consisting of qualification screening, technical exam, live technical interview, reference endorsements, and onboarding.

  • SKILLS: developers, designers
  • SCOPE: flexible hours, part-time, and full-time
  • LOCATION: most Gun.io developers are based in the United States
  • HIRING PROCESS: you share a few details about your project with the talent sourcing team and wait for them to find you a good match and introduce you to them in an interview setting
  • COMMUNICATION: written and spoken English verified
  • PROJECT CANCELLATION: no information available
  • SECURITY: all candidates have signed a comprehensive Consultant Agreement, which includes confidentiality and IP assignment clauses
  • COST: Gun.io developers set their own hourly rates
  • BEST FOR: best for fast hiring of individual developers, designers, and teams based in the US

Your best Toptal alternative is…

There are so many great alternatives to Toptal that it might be difficult to pick just one. How can you choose a solution that will be best for your company?

Things to look at when choosing a service similar to Toptal

  1. Define your needs (tech stack, skills, roles) and find platforms offering required services.
  2. Consider whether you need single developers or want to build a team – some platforms are better for one or the other.
  3. Decide whether you need short-term or long-term support.
  4. Think about potential culture and time zone differences.
  5. Verify how experienced the people contracted by the company are.
  6. Avoid all-knowing experts, try to find specialists in a specific field.
  7. Check what the scale-up, scale down, and cancellation process are like.
  8. Keep security in mind.
  9. Choose the right solution for your budget.

To make things easier, we’ve created a cheat list to help you pick the right service from those discussed today.

Which platform will be best for you?

8 Best Toptal Alternatives for Hiring Developers [2020] 1

Matt Warcholinski

Matt Warcholinski is the COO of Brainhub (a software house building awesome node.js web and mobile apps) who loves to build startups and play guitar.

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