Toptal vs Gigster: Which Is Better for Hiring Freelancers?

August 21, 2020

We recommend you hire freelancers on Toptal over Gigster because Toptal vets their talent. However Gigster has more freelance talent than Toptal.

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 Gigster.

Toptal vs Gigster: Which Freelance Platform is Best to Hire Freelancers?

Gigster praise and pros

Gigster has garnered quite a bit of deserved recognition during their short time as a company. While their service isn’t exactly the reinvention of the wheel, they’ve managed to simplify the development process in a way that other freelance services haven’t. 

The talented developers at Gigster help to remedy one of the most significant issues that’s inherent to hiring freelance developers. Since every member of the team is qualified, there’s no need to worry about vetting applicants or getting a project started only to find out your developers can’t deliver on your vision.

There are other freelance development services out there who can provide similarly talented developers for your project. But, those companies don’t provide the project management that Gigster does, so someone from your team will have to manage the developers. 

Not only will this require someone from your team to manage the project instead of focusing on other work, but the person you appoint may not necessarily have the experience needed to properly run such a project. With Gigster, a dedicated project manager runs the entire development process for you while you focus on running your business. 

Of course, even with a project manager taking care of the project's day-to-day needs, the client still has complete control over the project. The project manager acts as a dedicated liaison between you and the developers. If changes are necessary, you tell the project manager what you need, and they ensure your team carries out the tasks properly.

Another major plus with Gigster is its ability to streamline project assembly and delivery. Gigster has managed to trim the fat to the bone. Their AI-assisted processes ensure that the right time for the project is assembled in record time. The developers’ interface also has a code library that significantly speeds up the coding process, allowing for a more timely delivery. 

Perhaps most importantly, when your project is completed, and Gigster hands you the keys, you own the work outright. All ownership and licensing rights for your project belong to you exclusively. 

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 Gigster and Toptal?

Type of Freelancers on Toptal

Toptal doesn’t have nearly the total number of freelancers for you compared to Gigster. 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 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 Gigster

Unlike other freelance developer platforms, Gigster is best suited for projects that are entirely outsourced. You hire a project manager who is in charge of the entire development process.

Winner: Both Websites

What is the screening process on Toptal and Gigster?

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 Gigster.

Gigster’s screening process

For businesses, Gigster offers the top-notch talent that it would be virtually impossible for you to find on your own. Their developers come from the most prestigious tech schools globally, including MIT, Caltech, Stanford, and more. 

Beyond studying at prestigious schools, many members of the team come from top tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Microsoft. Some of them still work for those companies full-time and moonlight with Gigster to earn some extra cash. 

Gigster’s screening process

Of the talent that applies to Gigster, only the top 7% of applicants are approved to work with the company. So, whether the developers and designers on your team are MIT grads who work at Google or not, you can rest assured that they represent the best in their field. 

Winner: Both Websites

How long is the hiring process before you work with a freelancer on Toptal and Gigster?

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.

Gigster’s hiring process

Gigster’s hiring process has many steps.

  1. Gigster asks potential candidates to fill out an application of past projects they’ve worked on. Rather than asking potential recruits to solve hypothetical problems, Gigster looks at their past projects.
  2. After examining a candidate’s past projects, they remove any freelancer who is not a fit and organize each person by their skill level.
  3. The next step is roughly a 30-45 minute interview. Gigster uses others in their network to decide if the new recruit is a viable fit.
  4. Gigster re-examines the past code written. If a developer does well at this stage, they fast track the person into the person.
  5. The new recruit is given a paid test project alongside other developers.

Winner: Toptal

Pricing and fees: How much does it cost to hire freelancers on Toptal and Gigster?

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.

Gigster’s pricing

Gigster’s pricing delivers incredible value to its clients. But, for smaller projects, you may find that Gigster is simply too expensive for what you need. Gigster prices its services on a per-project basis, so there’s no way to pin down their pricing since every project is different. But, there is a minimum cost of $52,000. 

If you have a small development project in mind, you’re likely to find that some of Gigster’s competitors are better equipped to tackle your project within the budget you have in mind.

Gigster uses AI to generate accurate quotes for projects in record time. Gigster can staff and kick off most projects in less than a week, which allows your business to get your app from idea to finished product in record time. 

Keep in mind that the $52,000 minimum for app development isn’t necessarily what you should expect to pay when working with Gigster. Depending on the size and detail your project calls for, the final price can be much higher. 

Considering that even entry-level developers at companies like Google or Facebook have a base salary of well over $100,000, most clients find that Gigster provides incredible value for the money. 

The best way to get an accurate idea of what Gigster would cost for a particular project is to contact their sales team for a quote. 

Winner: Toptal

Does Toptal or Gigster 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.

Gigster’s Policy

Business owners with a fear of commitment may have a hard time jumping in with Gigster. While most alternatives allow you to use their services on a trial basis, what you see is what you get with Gigster. They’ll provide you with a free quote, and you’ll have to decide from there if you’re ready to work with them. 

Keep in mind that while there’s no sort of trial arrangement, Gigster’s team represents some of the world’s top development and design talent, so there should be no question that you’ll receive what you’re looking for when working with them.

Winner: Both Websites

Is Gigster or Toptal better for hiring freelancers?

Gigster 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 Gigster?

Gigster is a worthwhile investment if you want to hire a full-time dev team. Rather than needing to hire one developer, you hire a project manager who works with the entire dev team.