We recommend you hire freelancers on Toptal over Freelancer because Toptal vets their talent. Freelancer has more freelance talent than Toptal, but there are many entrepreneurs who state there are potential scammers on the website.
Without quality control, more users mean more spammy applications. Who wants to waste precious time sifting through a mountain of copy-and-paste job applications?
If you’re considering hiring freelancers on Freelancer.com…
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 Freelancer.
Freelancer set the standard for many freelance features. From project contests to ranking systems, Freelancer creates unique features for entrepreneurs.
Because of their large size, you’ll get several applications. Assuming you’ve got time to sift through them all, this makes it easier to find the freelancer you want to work with.
Their support team is available 24/7. They also have an extensive FAQ section you can use to find the answers you need too.
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.
Toptal doesn’t have nearly the total number of freelancers for you compared to Freelancer. But do you really need 12 million freelancers, or just a handful of freelancers to consider to get the job done? More than 100,000 people apply to join Toptal 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.
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.
Freelancer reports there are over 45,600,000 users on their platform. That said, not all users are freelancers. And not all users are active either.
Doing a quick search on their website, you'll find a list of over 1,500,000 freelancers available for hire.
Because none of the freelancers are vetted, you’ll need to spend the time screening the freelancers yourself.
Toptal uses a 5-step screening process to source the top 3% of freelancers:
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 Freelancer.
Unlike Toptal, there's no screening process, so you’ll need to do quality control. This lack of a screening process makes Freelancer.com's marketplace oversaturated with freelancers.
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:
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.
With Freelancer, you set the pace of the hiring process. That said, finding the right candidate involves:
Again, there’s a degree where you set the speed in which you hire. But hiring too fast will cause more damage to your business and brand in the long run.
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:
What you pay your freelancer depends on:
For a fixed-price project, you’ll pay 3% (with a $3 minimum) for every freelancer you award the project. For hourly projects, you’ll also pay 3% for each payment you make.
3% is a typical fee for most freelance marketplaces. But Freelancer’s fees simply start at 3%...
Here’s a full list of Freelancer fees for projects:
What if you prefer to run a contest? Well, there’s a laundry list of contest fees too...
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.
Freelancer has a simple way to report fake bids to the platform.
You can also report bad users too.
For milestone payment projects, Freelancer also offers dispute resolution services.
Freelancer and Toptal are both beneficial for different hiring needs.
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.
From one entrepreneur to another, Freelancer is more hassle than worth. Sure, they have several freelancers. Today you can find plenty of freelancers on another site, often paying no extra to get quality talent.
Again, this is why I recommend…