Toptal connects skilled high-tech talent with big companies needing temporary specialists

Expected pay: Set by the project

Husl$core: $$$

Commissions & fees: 50% (paid by client)

Where: Nationwide (remote)

Requirements: Over 18. Pass a screening process that include English proficiency and skills in your field

Toptal Review:

Toptal likes to brag that it hires only the creme de la creme of tech talent. It then markets that talent to corporate clients needing project work.

In theory, freelancers set their own hourly rates and simply make their services available via the platform.

However, the site is secretive about how payments from corporate clients are passed through to the freelancer doing the work. And a company spokesman says Toptal lets freelancers know when their expected hourly rates make them “uncompetitive.”

Pay is also often calculated by the project, not the hour, he says. Freelancers are given information about how much they’ll earn prior to accepting a project. However, they are also apparently not told how much Toptal is charging the client.

Two-week trial

Toptal gives its corporate clients a two-week trial period, during which they can say whether a freelancer is or isn’t meeting their needs. If a freelancer’s work is rejected, the client pays nothing. Toptal says its freelancers are paid regardless. However, a company spokesman couldn’t say whether they’re paid at the agreed-upon rate.

According to a review of Toptal by a freelancer at Coderbook, Toptal pays the freelancer 50% of their billed rate in those cases. Freelancers are paid by the platform roughly a month after completing an assignment.


Freelancers who have worked with Toptal give it mixed reviews. We like several other sites that help tech experts find work, including Catalant and Braintrust.

What their users say: (from Indeed)

Been on the platform for about 2 months now, I have been fortunate to have worked with really good and responsive people. Further, when I needed some additional time for the paperwork, they were every obliging.

Use it for remote engagements as a developer, easy, user friendly interface and perfect manager support for each project. Perfect partner for freelancers.

The company is good to provide some small jobs. But it’s hard to find long time commitments, at least on WordPress jobs, also, some clients hold you more than needed!

Good experience

I have had a positive experience using Toptal as a freelance full-stack developer. The platform is user-friendly and makes it easy to find and apply for relevant job opportunities. The application process is thorough and ensures that only top talent is accepted onto the platform. The clients on the platform are also of high quality and are typically well-vetted companies with clear project requirements. The platform’s built-in communication and project management tools make it easy to stay organized and on top of deadlines.

Toptal’s job distribution approach is highly admirable as it prioritizes inclusiveness and ensures that every individual has an equal shot at securing employment promptly. Additionally, it provides opportunities for skill-building through its vast library of courses and personal coaching sessions.

Not impressed

I don’t feel that working through Toptal is good option for professional. It’s just like any other agency trying to squeeze the best from you and piggyback. It is good for student or amateurs. They don’t have real talent.

“Toptal takes away too much money from client. Once I talked with one of my clients about their fee and it surprisingly a lot. And because of that, clients give too much pressure.”


There’s a large supply of positions, recruiters are actively involved in finding work for developers there. It’s extremely flexible – you make your own hours, set your own rates – and Toptal handles everything with the client, from legal, to invoicing. The only drawback is that it’s pretty much impossible to be employed 100% of the time, and there are no benefits. Also, most of the work is remote, so you can live anywhere

Had some conflict with them. They are not on the developers side and they are just taking care about their customers.

The company selects qualified individuals and gives flexibility to choose schedule and jobs you want. There may be gaps between jobs but overall gives real flexibility and independence.

From Glassdoor:

Success in finding an opportunity depends on luck, and it may take years to come across a successful opportunity. 2. Clients have agents called “marchers” to represent them, while engineers do not. Engineers must write individual job pitches for each opportunity, and this process can be time-consuming and result in wasted effort.

They charge to much on top of dev’s rates – from 80 up to 100%. If you have 60-70$/hr then customer pays 110-130$. I had experience twice when customer did buy out of my contract for 30k$. There are to complicated review & onboarding processes Company looks like remote bodyshop.

Focus on engineering excellence is minimal; you have to fight for it. Work pressure is high, and there’s an assumption that things “just” take at most a few days to deliver, no matter the complexity. Nothing really out of the ordinary but I had higher expectations when I joined, influenced by their own marketing. You will have to be a generalist, jumping from one ticket to another without actually deepening your knowledge about any stack.

Sanity ends when a client complains. Toptal doesn’t care whether it was the developer’s fault, and will always blame you at the end. I had two such clients and it resulted in terminating my contract.

Updated 2/26/2023

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