Toptal vs Codeable: Which Is Better for Hiring freelancers?

August 10, 2020

We recommend you hire freelancers on Toptal over Codeable because Toptal has more vetted talent. However Codeable does have a good selection of WordPress developers.

You can read our individual reviews to help you make an informed decision:

Or if you continue reading, you will learn the pros and cons of hiring freelancers on Toptal and Codeable.

Toptal vs Codeable: Which Freelance Platform is Best to Hire WordPress developers?

Codeable praise and pros

There are many different reasons to like Codeable, and it can provide much-needed freelance services to any business looking for WordPress experts and other related technical help. 

Codeable offers some unique benefits to business owners, including:

  • Vetted experts, so you are provided anywhere from 1-5 individual freelancers to consider instead of receiving thousands of applications to sift through.
  • An online workroom for discussing your project with developers so that you can receive the most accurate estimate based on a comprehensive scope of your project.
  • Same-day responses from developers who can engage fully in your project and have the time and other resources to help.

When you enter a workroom to chat with experts about your project, you'll have the opportunity to meet with several individuals at a given time. This setup not only expedites the process of finding the best freelance expert for your project, but it prevents you from having to answer the same question over and over.

Finding the best match and establishing project scope

Having video chats with developers also means that you can decide which individual is going to fit best with your projects. Getting the opportunity to connect with these individuals before committing to hiring them also helps to ensure you can have a positive working relationship. 

Building rapport is an excellent way to start any business relationship, and this on-screen time is a highly valuable part of the Codeable process that isn't standard with other services. 

The internal Codeable system does an excellent job of matching up your needs with the most qualified developer, which prevents wasted time and ensures the developer has the availability that you need. 

A winning algorithm for busy entrepreneurs

There are a few things that set Codeable apart from other freelance platforms, and that includes the system they use to provide services to busy entrepreneurs. For example, Codeable uses a proprietary algorithm that cuts down on pricing issues like undercutting or over-pricing for services.

This algorithm helps to ensure that clients get the best price, and also holds developers to a consistent standard, so both parties feel adequately compensated for their involvement. The Codeable algorithm also helps to pick out developers whose skills most closely match what you need, which eliminates the need to review more than five or so potential collaborators.

Higher-quality standards mean lower risk

It's also worth noting that the experts that work for Codeable get held to a high set of standards, and the expectation is to deliver every project on time and with a high degree of quality. Checklists also exist publicly for things like security, SEO, and speed optimization on the Codeable website so both developers and clients can use them as a resource.

Part of what ensures that you get the best result from using Codeable is how they avoid developers bidding on projects. By avoiding bidding behavior, there is no "race to the bottom" as with other freelance platforms, and you are more likely to receive work of more exceptional quality.

Toptal praise and pros

Toptal’s claim to screen 3% of the talent may or may not be entirely accurate (I’ll discuss Toptal’s vetting process in a moment).

What matters is Toptal saves you time spending hours filtering through freelancers for their performance. After all, if Toptal didn’t have hoops for freelancers to jump through, then their available talent would dilute. As a result, their market differentiation would be… the same as almost any other freelance marketplace.

Many entrepreneurs hiring on Toptal note their support staff is very hands-on. Toptal also has a fantastic UI and billing process. 

Toptal has a fast placement process. According to Toptal, “In a typical engagement, we’ll introduce you to candidates within 24 hours. And 90% of our clients hire the first candidate we introduce.”

Toptal sets high standards for freelancers. Freelancers must maintain high customer satisfaction ratings. Otherwise, Toptal will remove them from the platform.

A no-risk test project. The first time you work with your freelancer, you get a two-week test period with your new hire. If you’re not satisfied, Toptal will take the loss and won’t charge you for the freelancer’s work. (Please note: this is not a “free trial” in that if you accept the project, you will pay for the hours billed).

Toptal’s screening process 3% will weed out some quality workers. But it’s better to miss out on a potential A player than to waste precious time on a borderline freelancer who turns out to be a B or C player.

Winner: Toptal

What type of freelancers can you hire on Codeable and Toptal?

Type of Freelancers on Toptal

Toptal doesn’t have nearly the total number of freelancers for you compared to Codeable. More than 100,000 people apply to join Total every year, but they accept only 3%. In simple numbers, that means they add roughly 3,000 freelancers every year. 

That means rather than spending your time and energy vetting freelancers, Toptal does the heavy lifting for you.

Toptal is a good place to start if you’re serious about growing your business and are ready to invest in top talent at a reasonable rate. 

As of this writing, Toptal has vetted developers, designers, and finance experts. If you want to hire a freelancer with a different skill set, you may want to consider a different freelance platform.

The difficulty of using Toptal to source freelancers is if you are looking for someone to help with a small, one-off project. Toptal asks for a $500 commitment for the first project, which is fully refundable if you’re freelancer is not a fit.

Type of Freelancers on Codeable

Codeable only has a marketplace of WordPress developers. According to their website, they have 500 or so WordPress developers.

This can work well if you only have a WordPress problem, such as needing a plugin developed or customize WordPress theme. 

Winner: Both websites

What is the screening process on Toptal and Codeable?

Toptal’s screening process

What’s Toptal’s vetting process to make sure you work with world-class talent?

Toptal uses a 5-step screening process to source the top 3% of freelancers:

  1. Language & Personality - In this phase, Toptal is looking for candidates who read, write, and speak English fluently. They also look for personality traits, drive, and passion to see the work through to completion. According to Toptal, an estimated 26.4% of applicants pass this test.
  2. In-depth Skill Review -  Here, Toptal screens freelancers for technical knowledge. According to Toptal, only 7.4% of total applicants make it through this round.
  3. Live Screening - After testing the freelancer’s skills, Toptal does a live screening test. Toptal supplies an expert in each domain to do a video chat with the applicant. During the screening, the candidate receives a test while an expert watches how and what they do. If they fail, they may be asked to re-apply in a month. According to Toptal, only 3.6% of applicants pass this round.
  4. Test Projects - Over 1-3 weeks, a freelancer must complete a test project related to a real-world scenario. Here, the candidate puts everything into action, testing everything from competence to their professional style. According to Toptal, only 3.2% of applicants pass this round.
  5. Continued Excellence - Once the test is complete, Toptal freelancers are expected to maintain high-quality work. If work quality slips or there’s poor communication, the freelancer is let go. According to Toptal, only 3% of applicants continue to their high standards.

Even with this level of screening, Toptal has a wide pool filled with a specific talent set. Instead of hiring any DevOps engineer, Toptal can help you find an “AWS DevOps engineer who understands Docker, Jenkins, RDS...” and any other needs you may have. 

The dollar per hour will often increase when you need a specific skill set. But you’ll also know the freelancer better fits your needs than finding a freelancer for yourself on Codeable.

Codeable’s screening process

Codeable uses a six-step screening process to vet their freelancers. According to their homepage, their screening process is as follows:

  • Professional review
  • Technical exam
  • Behavioral interview and live coding test
  • The Codeable Academy exam
  • 45-day trial period
  • Ongoing excellence monitoring

Winner: Both websites

How long is the hiring process before you work with a WordPress developer on Toptal and Codeable?

Toptal’s hiring process

Hiring normally takes a long time, as anything worth doing should take time. But because Toptal screens their candidates, they can place you with a candidate in 48 hours:

Toptal’s hiring process

If there are no candidates available in Toptal’s network, it typically takes 1-3 weeks for Toptal to locate, screen, and work with every expert.

Codeable’s hiring process

Codeable desires for expert candidates to engage with your project within 3-5 hours after you submit a project. They don’t share much other information on the hiring process.

Codeable has an internal matchmaking system that connects you with the most appropriate developer based on a combination of your project requirements and their expert skill sets and availability. 

Additionally, they have a strict rule that their experts can only apply for projects they are 100% confident they can deliver on time and to the highest standard. That said, there isn’t much transparency sharing what prevents freelancers from applying to projects when they are not 100% confident they can deliver the right results in a timely manner. 

Winner: Both websites

Pricing and fees: How much does it cost to hire WordPress developers on Toptal and Codeable?

Toptal’s pricing

Toptal does not charge a fee above their regular pricing. Instead, they add a profit margin above the freelancer’s rates. 

Most rates you’ll pay are what you’d expect to pay outside their platform. 

Toptal offers this pricing chart:

Toptal pricing - What’s Toptal’s fee structure?

What you pay your freelancer depends on:

  • The tech stack needed for your project.
  • The necessary skill(s) to complete the task.
  • The project size.
  • What market you are in.
  • General market demand for the type of freelancer needed.

Codeable’s pricing

As previously mentioned, Codeable uses an escrow set up for handling payments. This does an excellent job of protecting both parties and preventing payment delays from hindering the progress of a project. 

Codeable’s pricing

Factors that influence service costs

In general, you can expect to pay anywhere from $70-$120 per hour for the services of a developer. This rate varies based on project complexities, skills required, and the developer's experience. There is also a service fee that Codeable will discuss with you upfront and an online pricing guide to give you a better idea of the pricing for different services.

The factors that can alter the cost of services the most include the complexity of the project to address, how urgently you need the project completed, and the general scope of work to be done. Greater complexity, higher levels of urgency, or a broader project scope will understandably increase the cost, but each project does get individualized attention.

Service fees

The fixed service fee is 17.5%, which includes 24/7 access to customer service, total platform management, and the expert vetting of developers we've previously discussed. The total cost of your project will also include a 28-day warranty that covers bug fixes, and ownership of the intellectual property rendered. 

The service fee is an additional cost for entrepreneurs to consider, but the cost allows the Codeable platform to consistently build a pool of talented developers and covers improvements to the site that enable it to function better for both clients and experts.

Codeable service fees

Payments and milestones

Codeable accepts bank wires, all major credit cards, and even PayPal, which makes it an accessible option for entrepreneurs in all industries. Payment is required in advance once the project scope becomes established, and a developer gets hired. You'll need to deposit the entire cost of the project into an escrow account before any work can begin.

If your project is more substantial or higher budget, it's possible to create milestones that break down the cost into more manageable chunks. The project would then get broken down into individual pieces using the escrow system for payments, and each one receives funding as if it were an independent mini-project.

Winner: Toptal

Does Toptal or Codeable offer any kind of risk-free trial or guarantee?

Toptal’s Policy

Toptal requires a $500 deposit which applies to your first bill. If you get a freelancer you are not satisfied with, you are not required to make any payment. You can choose to either part ways with Toptal or restart the hiring process.

The first time you work with your freelancer, you get a two-week test period with your new hire. If you’re not satisfied, Toptal will take the loss and won’t charge you for the freelancer’s work. (Please note: this is not a “free trial” in that if you accept the project, you will pay for the hours billed).

Toptal does not mention any information on their website how they handle disputes. However, every Toptal client receives an account manager who can help resolve your issues.

Codeable’s Policy

Codeable uses an escrow set up for handling payments, which helps protect entrepreneurs if the project doesn't go well. Plus, Codeable has a reputation for being fair about issuing refunds when they are warranted. Refunds may be issued once agreed upon between you and the developer you are working with, but they may also get arranged between you and customer service.

Codeable is known for its money-back policy, so don't hesitate to reach out to customer service if you experience any issues. If you have more specific questions about the pricing structure, the process of escrow, or how the process works, you can reach out to customer service at any time, and they respond promptly.

The money-back policy comes into play when there are issues with projects, and Codeable customer support is available to answer client questions, and assist with clarifying project needs in addition to offering guidance during the entire process. It's also worth noting that while more substantial parts of your payment are refundable, the Codeable fee is a non-refundable cost.

Winner: Both websites

Is Codeable or Toptal better for hiring WordPress developers?

Codeable and Toptal are both beneficial for different hiring needs.

When should you consider hiring on Toptal?

Toptal is an excellent freelance platform for hiring quality talent. Because of the time they invest in curating the best talent, you’ll spend less time to find the right freelancer.

If you’re looking to hire vetted developers, designers, or finance experts for a project with a budget of $2,000 USD or more, go with Toptal.

When should you consider hiring on Codeable?

Codeable is a good source of talent for WordPress exclusive projects.

They estimate projects ranging from $2,310 USD for a WordPress plugin to $10,600 USD for an E-Commerce Site Design and Development project.

Overall Winner: Toptal