Toptal vs Upwork: Which Is Best For Hiring Freelancers?

Toptal vs Upwork Overview | Toptal vs Upwork Features | Toptal vs Upwork Pricing | Toptal vs Upwork Services | Comparison Table | Benefits | Additional Services | Pros & Cons | FAQs | & Many More...

Toptal vs Upwork: Toptal is a freelancing platform that connects businesses with the top 3% of freelance talent in various fields. These freelancers are selected through a rigorous vetting process that assesses their relevant skills, language proficiency, personality traits, communication skills, and past project success. Unlike other freelance marketplaces such as Upwork and Fiverr, Toptal ensures that all of its freelancers meet high-quality standards.

As a result, Toptal’s clients can expect consistently reliable and top-notch service. Toptal has been used by reputable companies like Gucci, Duolingo, and Bridgestone. With an average rating of 4.60 out of 2,698 reviews, Toptal is highly regarded for its personalized hiring process and top-quality freelancers.

Upwork is a popular online platform that connects businesses with freelance professionals from around the world. It provides a marketplace where companies can hire freelancers to work on projects remotely in a variety of fields, including writing, web development, graphic design, customer service, and more.

Upwork offers tools to help businesses manage their projects, including time tracking, project management tools, and communication tools. Freelancers can create a profile, search for job opportunities, and apply for projects that match their skills and expertise. Upwork also provides a secure payment system and dispute resolution services to ensure that both freelancers and clients are protected.

Toptal vs Upwork: A Quick Comparison

Talent QualityHand-selected top 3% of talentA wide range of talent, varying in quality
Vetting ProcessRigorous screening, live screening, and continuous performance reviewsBasic background checks, no live screening
CostPremium rates due to top talent qualityAffordable to high pricing due to a wide range of talent
Client SupportDedicated account managers24/7 support
Payment ProtectionEscrow payment protectionEscrow payment protection
Contract & InvoicingPersonalized contract management and invoicingBuilt-in contract and invoicing features
Project ManagementToptal PMs can assist with project managementSelf-managed project management
Available ServicesTop-level developers, designers, project managers, and finance expertsA wide range of freelance services across various fields

If You Want To Choose Toptal


Multi-step screening process for talented freelancers
Professional and easy-to-work-with freelancers
Option to interview freelancers via Skype before hiring
93% client satisfaction with the initial match
No recruiting or termination fees

There are several reasons why someone may choose to use Toptal as their preferred freelancing site. Here are a few:

  • Highly skilled freelancers: Toptal’s freelancers are in the top 3% of talent in their respective fields, making them some of the most skilled and experienced freelancers available.
  • Rigorous vetting process: Toptal’s vetting process is rigorous and includes assessments of skills, language proficiency, personality traits, communication skills, and past project success. This ensures that only the best freelancers are accepted onto the platform.
  • Personalized matching: Toptal matches clients with freelancers based on their specific project needs and industry, ensuring that clients get the right freelancer for their projects.
  • Dedicated support: Toptal provides dedicated support to both clients and freelancers throughout the entire project lifecycle, including project management and dispute resolution.
  • Quality assurance: Toptal provides a quality guarantee, which means that if clients are not satisfied with the work, they do not have to pay.

Check Toptal Review In Detail

If You Want To Choose Upwork:


Access to talented professionals worldwide
User-friendly platform for easy hiring
Competitive rates for freelancers, cost-effective for clients
Work arrangements for short-term or ongoing projects
Safe and secure payment system with dispute protection

There are several reasons why someone may choose to use Upwork as their preferred freelancing site. Here are a few:

  • Access to a large pool of talent: Upwork is one of the largest freelancing platforms available, with millions of registered freelancers from around the world. This means clients can find the perfect freelancer for their specific project needs.
  • Flexibility: Upwork offers a flexible work arrangement that allows clients to work with freelancers on a project-by-project basis, making it easy to scale up or down as needed.
  • Time-saving features: Upwork provides tools to help clients streamline their hiring processes, such as proposal templates and a freelancer search tool that allows clients to filter by specific criteria.
  • Secure payments: Upwork provides a secure payment system that ensures that freelancers are paid for their work and clients are protected against fraud or non-payment.
  • Quality assurance: Upwork offers several features to ensure quality work, including a feedback system that allows clients to rate their freelancers and dispute resolution services.

Check Upwork Review In Detail

Toptal vs Upwork: Side By Side Comparison

Toptal vs Upwork: Core Features


Toptal Features
  • Toptal offers a wide range of freelancers with expertise in various fields, including Developers, Designers, Finance Experts, Project Managers, and Product Managers.
  • Developers with expertise across hundreds of technologies, including seasoned software engineers, coders, and architects.
  • Expert UI, UX, Visual, and Interaction designers as well as a wide range of illustrators, animators, and more.
  • Experts in financial modeling & valuation, startup funding, interim CFO work, and market sizing.
  • Digital and technical project managers, scrum masters, and more with expertise in numerous PM tools, frameworks, and styles.
  • Digital product managers, and scrum product owners with expertise in numerous industries like banking, healthcare, e-commerce, and more.
  • Toptal® Projects assemble managed teams of seasoned experts for your most urgent business needs.


Upwork Features
  • Wide range of categories: Upwork offers a wide range of categories, including Development & IT, Design & Creative, Sales & Marketing, Writing & Translation, Admin & Customer Support, Finance & Accounting, HR & Training, Legal, and Engineering & Architecture. This allows clients to find freelancers with the specific skills they need for their projects.
  • A large pool of freelancers: Upwork has a large pool of freelancers from all over the world, with over 12 million registered freelancers on the platform. This means clients have a wide selection of freelancers to choose from, ensuring they find the best match for their project.
  • Flexible hiring options: Upwork allows clients to hire freelancers on a project basis or by the hour, providing flexibility to meet different project needs and budgets.
  • Safe payment system: Upwork has a safe payment system that protects both clients and freelancers. Clients can set up milestones for payment, and freelancers are paid once the work is completed to their satisfaction.
  • Project management tools: Upwork provides project management tools that allow clients to track progress, communicate with freelancers, and share files and documents.
  • Hiring for specific tasks: Upwork offers the option to hire freelancers for specific tasks, such as Logo Design, Articles & Blog Posts, WordPress, Social Media Marketing, Video Editing, and SEO, making it easy to find freelancers with specialized skills for specific project needs.

Toptal vs Upwork: Cost Of Hiring 

Toptal’s freelancers have an average hourly rate of $80+, which may seem higher compared to other platforms like Upwork or Fiverr. However, this is because Toptal only accepts the top 3% of freelancers through a rigorous vetting process, ensuring high-quality work. While cheaper options may be available on other platforms, the quality may not be as reliable as Toptal’s freelancers. 

Toptal’s pricing is customized to fit each project’s requirements, and the freelancer’s salary and Toptal’s fee are included in the price provided. There are no hidden fees, commissions, termination, or recruiting fees. Toptal also requires a fully refundable deposit of $500, which can be applied as a credit towards the first payment or refunded after the 2-week trial period. The trial period allows clients to test the freelancer’s suitability for their project before making any payments.

Upwork Cost Of Hiring

On Upwork, clients can hire freelancers either on an hourly or fixed-price basis. For hourly contracts, freelancers typically charge their hourly rate, while for fixed-price contracts, freelancers set a fixed amount for the entire project. In both cases, clients can negotiate the price with the freelancer and agree on the terms before starting the project. 

It’s important to note that in addition to the freelancer’s rate, Upwork charges a service fee to both clients and freelancers. For clients, the fee ranges from 5% to 20% of the total project cost, depending on the freelancer’s earnings with the client. For freelancers, the fee ranges from 5% to 20% of their earnings on the platform.

Toptal vs Upwork: Benefits Of Hiring 


Toptal Benefits of Hiring
  • Access to top-tier freelancers vetted through a rigorous screening process
  • High-quality work and reliable freelancers
  • Flexibility in pricing tailored to each project’s needs
  • Transparent pricing with no hidden charges or fees
  • No termination or recruiting fees
  • 2-week trial period to test freelancers before payment
  • Expertise across a wide range of industries and technologies
  • Project management and consulting services are available through Toptal Projects.


Upwork Benefits of Hiring
  • Wide range of skill sets and industries to choose from, including Development & IT, Design & Creative, Sales & Marketing, Writing & Translation, Admin & Customer Support, Finance & Accounting, HR & Training, Legal, and Engineering & Architecture.
  • Ability to hire freelancers on an hourly or project basis, providing flexibility for your budget and project needs.
  • Option to review freelancers’ profiles, work history, and ratings from previous clients before hiring them.
  • Easy communication and collaboration with freelancers through Upwork’s messaging and video conferencing tools.
  • Escrow payment system to ensure that payment is only released to the freelancer once the project is completed and you are satisfied with the work.
  • Upwork offers dispute resolution services in case of any issues or conflicts with the freelancer.
  • Ability to track the progress of the project and the freelancer’s hours worked through Upwork’s time-tracking system.
  • Upwork also offers a range of additional services, such as project management tools and access to talent specialists, for an additional fee.

Toptal vs Upwork: Vetting Process

Toptal’s vetting process is one of the most rigorous in the freelancing industry. Toptal accepts only the top 3% of freelance talent, which means that out of every 100 applicants, only three are accepted. The process begins with a thorough application review, followed by language and personality tests, and then a skills-based assessment that includes live work simulations.

Candidates who pass these stages are then interviewed by Toptal’s team of experts, including a senior engineer or designer, and must pass a test project with a real-world business problem. This intensive vetting process ensures that Toptal’s freelancers are not only highly skilled but also have strong communication skills, can work independently, and have a track record of successful projects.

Upwork Vetting Process

Upwork has a vetting process that involves several steps to ensure the quality of its freelancers. The process includes verifying the freelancer’s identity, skills, work experience, and education, as well as conducting criminal background checks. Upwork also offers skill tests and requires freelancers to maintain high job success scores by completing projects on time and with quality.

Additionally, clients can leave feedback on a freelancer’s profile to help other clients make informed decisions. This vetting process helps ensure that clients have access to a pool of qualified and reliable freelancers for their projects.

Toptal vs Upwork: Hiring Process


Toptal Hiring Process

First, clients will talk to one of Toptal’s industry experts who will work with them to understand their goals, technical needs, and team dynamics. This expert will help identify the right freelancer for the job.

Next, within just a few days, Toptal will introduce the client to the right talent for their project. In fact, the average time to match is under 24 hours. Toptal’s freelancers are hand-selected and rigorously vetted, so clients can trust that they are working with the very best in the industry.

Finally, clients can work with their new team members on a trial basis, paying only if they are satisfied with the work. This ensures that clients hire the right people for the job and are completely happy with the outcome. With Toptal’s hiring process, clients can find top talent quickly and with confidence.


Upwork Hiring Process
  • Create a job post: Start by creating a detailed job post that includes a clear job description, required skills, and any other relevant information. You can also set your budget and deadline.
  • Search for freelancers: Browse Upwork’s talent pool and filter the results based on your requirements. You can also invite freelancers to apply for your job.
  • Interview candidates: Once you have a shortlist of potential candidates, interview them to learn more about their skills and experience. You can use Upwork’s messaging system, video chat, or phone calls to communicate with them.
  • Hire your chosen freelancer: When you have found the perfect freelancer, hire them by sending an offer and agreeing to the terms of the project. Upwork’s payment system ensures that your funds are held securely until the work is completed to your satisfaction.
  • Manage the project: Communicate regularly with your freelancer to ensure that the project is on track. You can use Upwork’s project management tools to collaborate and share files with your freelancer.

Toptal vs Upwork: Customer Support

Toptal provides comprehensive customer support for its clients. For general inquiries, customers can fill out a form on their website and a representative will contact them as soon as possible. They also have a sales line available for immediate assistance. Customers can reach out to the customer support team via email if they have any issues or concerns.

Toptal also has dedicated email addresses for press inquiries, partnerships, and investors. Toptal has three mailing addresses in the United States, located in Delaware, San Francisco, and New York. Toptal’s customer support team is highly responsive and dedicated to ensuring that its clients have a positive experience on their platform. With a focus on quality, Toptal connects the top 3% of freelance talent all over the world.

Toptal Customer support

Upwork provides several channels for customer support, including a Help Center with articles and FAQs, a Contact Us form for submitting support requests, and a phone number for enterprise solutions. The Help Center covers topics such as getting started on Upwork, managing contracts and payments, and troubleshooting issues. For more specialized support, users can reach out to Upwork’s customer support team via the Contact Us form or by phone.

Additionally, Upwork provides press inquiries contact information and lists its global headquarters, Chicago office, and mailing address on its website.

Upwork Customer support

Toptal vs Upwork: Customer Reviews & Feedback

Toptal has received glowing feedback from its clients for the exceptional quality of its freelancers and the top-notch services it provides. Clients have reported their satisfaction with the quick turnaround times and the ease of communication with their hired talent.

Toptal’s clients have praised the company for being able to deliver top talent that is immediately able to onboard and provide high-quality work. Additionally, clients have expressed their appreciation for Toptal’s assistance in finding the perfect developer for their project, resulting in a seamless overall experience. From small businesses to large enterprises, Toptal’s clients have reported success in finding top-tier talent for their projects.

Toptal vs Upwork: Toptal Customer Review

Upwork is a trusted platform for businesses looking to hire freelance talent, and client feedback is a testament to its quality. With Upwork, you can review a freelancer’s work samples, read client reviews, and verify their identity to ensure you’re hiring the right person for your job. Additionally, you won’t incur any costs until you hire and approve the work, and you have the freedom to interview potential candidates and negotiate rates.

Upwork also places a high priority on data privacy and security, providing 24/7 support for any concerns. In fact, clients and freelancers leave each other over 20,000 new reviews each week, with talent rating clients 4.9/5 stars and clients rating talent 4.9/5 stars based on 2.9 million reviews. With Upwork, you can trust that you’re working with top-quality freelancers and clients, ensuring successful collaborations and projects.

Toptal vs Upwork: Upwork Customer Review

Toptal vs Upwork: Conclusion

In conclusion, Toptal and Upwork are two popular platforms for hiring freelancers, but they differ significantly in their approach and target audience. Toptal is designed for businesses looking to hire the top 3% of freelancers in various fields, while Upwork is a more general platform with a wider range of freelancers available.

Toptal has a rigorous screening process to ensure the quality of its talent, while Upwork allows anyone to create a profile and start freelancing. Ultimately, the choice between Toptal and Upwork depends on the specific needs and budget of the business, and it’s important to consider the benefits and drawbacks of each platform before making a decision.

Toptal vs Upwork: FAQs

What is a talent cloud?

Talent Cloud is a term used to describe a system that connects businesses and organizations with a network of freelancers, independent contractors, and other types of remote workers.
It is a platform that enables employers to quickly find, assess, and hire the right talent for their projects or job openings, without being limited to a local talent pool. Talent Cloud platforms typically offer a range of tools and features to facilitate the hiring process, such as vetting and matching algorithms, communication and collaboration tools, and project management tools.

What is live screening?

Live screening is a process of evaluating and assessing a candidate’s skills, qualifications, and suitability for a particular job position through a live video interview. It involves using video conferencing technology to conduct a real-time interview where the interviewer can interact with the candidate as if they were in the same room.
This allows employers to evaluate a candidate’s communication skills, problem-solving abilities, and overall fit for the role in a more personal and interactive way. Live screening is often used as part of the hiring process for remote work or when face-to-face interviews are not feasible.

Can any fresher start freelancing?

Yes, a fresher can start freelancing, but they may face more competition from experienced freelancers. Freelancing platforms like Upwork and Toptal do not have any minimum experience requirements, so anyone can sign up and start bidding on projects.
However, it’s important for beginners to set reasonable rates, focus on building their portfolio, and continuously develop their skills to be able to compete in the market. Additionally, building a strong professional network, seeking feedback, and being responsive to client needs is also important for freelancers who are just starting out.

Can freelancing be considered a permanent job?

Freelancing is typically not a permanent job in the traditional sense, as it usually involves working on a project-by-project or contract basis rather than being employed by a single company. Freelancers have the flexibility to take on new clients and projects or to take breaks between assignments as they see fit. However, some freelancers may choose to work full-time and make freelancing their permanent career path. Ultimately, whether or not freelancing is a permanent job depends on the individual freelancer’s goals and preferences.

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