Looking for Toptal Alternatives? Discover 10 Best Platforms for Hiring Developers
For Employers

May 31, 2024

Looking for Toptal Alternatives? Discover 10 Best Platforms for Hiring Developers

Toptal is one of the most popular platforms that you will almost invariably come across once you decide to hire remotely and start searching for a platform to supply your developer needs. 

It’s one of the fastest-growing talent networks for short-term staffing, providing freelance professionals for various tech roles. Consequently, Toptal freelancers have worked in many business sectors and for established companies, from finance and e-commerce to product design and software development. 

This hiring platform has its strong suits and, depending on your precise requirements, may be just what you need. 

However, it also a has its weak points:

  • Expensive
  • Skewed toward entreprises
  • Inflexible

Fortunately, there are alternative solutions you may be amazed about. In this article, we will examine Toptal’s strengths and shortcomings and offer Toptal alternatives you might find better suited for your technology needs. Let’s start with an introduction to Toptal and what it offers.


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Toptal: How It Works and What It Offers

Toptal enables start-ups, businesses, and organizations to hire freelancers from a growing network of top talent in the world. The company operates entirely remotely as Toptal has no headquarters. The vast majority of jobs the platform offers are also fully remote. 

Professional freelancers from all over the world apply to Toptal network and then they are vetted. Toptal claims to only accept the top 3% of these applicants, which they then shortlist and present to companies in need of  freelancers for their open tech roles. 

To access the Toptal’s network, you must sign up and request a hire. Once a right fit and viable match is found for your requirements, Toptal notifies you, and their recruiting experts reach out to discuss the hiring terms.

Here are some of pros of hiring software developers on Toptal network:

  1. Global pool: The platform has a sizable pool of globally sourced freelance developers to fill many roles, from software development and AI/ML to design and project management to information architecture maintenance and quality assurance. 
  2. Rigorous vetting: Toptal has a rigorous vetting process for all its applicants, which guarantees that they possess the required skills and experience, including Django, React, Azure, and SQL. The highly selective Toptal’s approach assures that companies hiring on the platform only collaborate with tested and proven developers.
  3. Quick access: Toptal screens and verifies all of its tech talent before presenting them to potential employers, which means companies can access a pre-screened pool of software engineers quickly. This saves businesses a considerable amount of time when hiring developers for projects of any size.
  4. Free trial: Aside from the renowned quality of its vetting process, Toptal offers a free trial allowing you to test up to three freelancers at the same time prior to hiring arrangements. The trial period is typically up to two weeks. If you’re satisfied with the developer you got, the platform bills you for the time, and the engagement continues upon agreement. 
  5. Transparent pricing: Straightforward pricing on their talent network helps you have a clear picture of how much hiring might cost before posting a job and requesting a freelancer. 
  6. Fast hiring: If your project requires schedule and team flexibility, Toptal is well-suited for hiring developers on a full-time (40 hours per week) or part-time basis, as well as on a contract-to-hire. Moreover, Toptal can get you a freelance developer in under 48 hours, making it one of the fastest hiring platforms.


Why You Should Consider Alternatives to Toptal

The features we’ve highlighted so far definitely make Toptal a market leader when it comes to hiring freelance tech talent, but also allows us to point out some shortfalls of Toptal: 

  1. Enterprise-focused: Toptal may better serve the hiring needs of large companies or funded startups with more complex projects. If you seek developers for smaller development projects, Toptal might not be your best bet.
  2. High costs: Toptal is obviously more expensive compared to other remote hiring platforms and networks. Their developers charge higher hourly rates from $80 to $200 depending on the background, experience, and job complexity. Before you have even started hiring, you must pay an upfront fee of $500. So if your budget is limited, cost-effective alternatives like the ones we will present below might serve you better. 
  3. Not tech-focused. The platform sources and hires out freelancers from sectors other than software development, including finance and marketing. Consequently, their software development pool is limited compared to other hiring platforms, especially for niche programming roles like Rust, Scala, or GoLang.
  4. Developers are on you. Hiring from Toptal means you will have to handle the developer onboarding with minimal assistance from the platform. The same goes for integration and managing your developers during the whole engagement. If you need regular check-ins, close project performance monitoring, you are better off with a Toptal alternative.
  5. Many formalities: Toptal doesn't have candidate search filters or a resume database for employers to browse through. There is no such thing as custom talent sourcing on Toptal. There is also no possibility for a decreased cost even with the long-term commitment. Plus, there are clients complaining about the lengthy hiring process due to limited customer support.

There are many Toptal competitors that may deliver better to hiring requirements if the shortcomings of Toptal we’ve mentioned are red flags for you. Below we’ll discuss the best ones.

Focus on performance, not recruiting. Fill your Java, Python, Rust, Go, Scala, and Perl roles with vetted senior tech talent from Indev.dev talent network. Simplify scaling today →


Toptal Alternatives for Hiring Developers: 10 Best Platforms


1. Index.dev

Index.dev is a global talent network that specializes in hiring high-performing software engineers and only offers senior-level industry experts. The platform combines human field experience with smart technology to ensure accurate and personalized matching when hiring remote software developers. Plus, developers can directly engage with job postings on the o platform, creating a dynamic hiring ecosystem.

Index.dev’s talent sourcing focus is Latin America (Brazil, Argentina, Mexico, Peru and Colombia), Central Eastern Europe (Poland, Hungary, Romania), Balkan countries (Serbia, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Albania, and Northern Macedonia), and Asia (Turkey, India and Pakistan). The platform screens thousands of senior developers from these regions monthly, with only the elite 5% joining its talent pool. 

How it works

After signing up on the platform and sharing your project details, an account manager will collaborate with you to understand your business objectives, tech stack, and team dynamics. The platform will then offer you three to five interview-ready developers that best match your tech and soft skills needs from its pool of pre-vetted talent. You invite the matched candidates to an interview and select whom to sign a contract with. You’ll have a 30-day risk-free trial period to ensure the selected candidate is the best fit for the job. Moreover, Index.dev will provide a dedicated account manager to assist you in onboarding and managing your tech talent and handling their payments.

Index.dev vs. Toptal

Index.dev is an excellent choice amongst Toptal alternatives for many reasons. To boot, Index.dev offers many of the same advantages as Toptal, including the rigorous vetting process, and relatively fast hiring. It also raises the bar by doing a better job than Toptal in many areas, including the following:

  1. While Toptal’s one-size-fits-all talent matching lacks a human-led approach, Index.dev offers greater flexibility regarding types of developers you can hire for. The platform can provide developers for both small and simple projects as well as for large and complex ones and also curated teams for product development and management. 
  2. Index.dev is both transparent in its pricing and affordable for startups and scaleups with a limited budget. It charges no fees and comes with a risk-free innovation (30-day money-back guarantee) if our talent doesn't meet your company's expectations within the first month of engagement. 
  3. Index.dev’s account management team handles talent onboarding and integration completely. As mentioned above, Index.dev offers end-to-end recruitment, and developer management and performance monitoring along with talent replacement are part of the package.
  4. Unlike Toptal, Index.dev is solely a global network for senior tech talent, including software developers, database engineers, data scientists, AI/ML/VR experts, Cybersecurity professionals, QAs, and UI/UX designers who specialize in 100+ programming languages or frameworks. 
  5. Index.dev’s developers have the same experience and seniority, but at considerably lower hourly rates. Senior-level candidates typically range from $60 to $90 per hour. If you’re hiring locally in the US, you can enjoy a juicy benefit of up to 40% cost savings in running your team, thanks to the advantages of timezone alignment.

Read more: How Index.dev Vets Its High-Performing Tech Talent


2. Arc.dev

Arc.dev uses clever AI to search its pool of over 300,000 developers worldwide. This includes experienced developers in the US and even PhD engineers from Latin America. They test each candidate thoroughly to ensure they're a good fit for remote work.

How it works

Arc.dev’s talent engine sources expert developers from various regions, including the U.S. and Latin America. Candidates undergo a thorough review process, including a ~1-hour interview to assess their background and remote work compatibility. For freelance hires, Arc.dev uses AI to match you with a shortlist of skilled candidates within 24 to 72 hours. For permanent hires, Arc.dev collaborates with you to identify your needs and matches you with pre-vetted developers. You then interview and select candidates, with Arc.dev managing the process.

Arc.dev vs. Toptal

  1. Like other premium freelance platforms, Arc.dev has a stringent vetting process to ensure high-quality developers. Arc.dev excels in sourcing, vetting, and hiring tech talent, making it a strong competitor to Toptal.
  2. Arc.dev matches you with senior freelancers within 72 hours, just a day longer than Toptal, and claims to offer up to 58% cost savings compared to local hires.
  3. Freelance developers on Arc.dev set their own rates, typically between $60 to $100+ per hour. For permanent hires, Arc.dev charges a one-time fee based on the developer’s annual salary. 
  4. Arc.dev offers the same 14-day trial period for freelancers as Toptal, but it also provides a three-week trial period for permanent hires, a service Toptal does not offer.
  5. Arc.dev’s reliance on AI for matching and vetting makes it ideal for companies needing to hire developers quickly.


3. X-Team

X-Team is another fully remote hiring platform with no physical locations. It’s a community of over 100,000 developers sourced from across the globe. The X-Team community has X-Teamers from over seventy countries, including Chile, Belgium, Egypt, Pakistan, the Philippines. It mainly targets software engineering talent from underdeveloped regions and communities. 

How it works

X-Team offers a network of trusted, on-demand developers to help enterprises down to startups scale their development efforts. Developers from across the world apply to work for X-Team. The company looks at the developer’s resume and performance on specific tests before assigning them to be a part of the client’s team. You can think of X-Team acting as the middle man between your company and the freelance developers. The platform mostly works on web and mobile platforms, but they provide other services as well. 

X-Team vs. Toptal

  1. X-Team has a massive network of over 100,000 developers from all corners of the world - over 70 countries. This means you can find developers with unique skills and experiences.
  2. Unlike Toptal, X-Team isn't just about freelancers. They help you build dedicated, long-term teams of developers who become an integrated part of your company.
  3. Need a small team for a quick fix, or a large force for a major project? X-Team can handle it all. They offer flexibility to scale your team up or down as needed.
  4. X-Team is passionate about developer success. They help with onboarding and managing your team, ensuring a smooth experience for everyone.
  5. The hiring process is quick and easy, taking just days to weeks from initial contact. X-Team is fully developer-focused, which places it right ahead of Toptal in this regard.

Focus on performance, not recruiting. Fill your Java, Python, Rust, Go, Scala, and AI/ML roles with vetted senior tech talent from Indev.dev talent network. Simplify scaling today →


4. Turing.com

Turing.com is a "deep" jobs platform that connects the top 1% of software engineers from around the world with leading U.S. and Silicon Valley companies seeking remote software talent. Using AI-powered vetting and job matching techniques, Turing ensures that its developers excel in technical, communication, collaboration, and problem-solving skills.

How it works

To hire through Turing.com, you start by sharing the skills you need. A Turing expert will then schedule a call to understand your requirements. Turing's AI-powered Talent Cloud will find the best match and provide a list of pre-vetted candidates who have successfully passed rigorous AI assessments. You can then meet, interview, and evaluate the selected developers.

Turing vs. Toptal 

  1. Turing.com stands out with its AI Talent Cloud engine, which matches your project’s needs with top professionals from its extensive global network. 
  2. Turing's network spans various time zones, offering immediate access to a diverse talent pool.
  3. Like Toptal, Turing offers a risk-free two-week trial period. You can start working with Turing developers and integrate them into your team as part of a working interview. If you are not satisfied with the developer's performance, you pay nothing.
  4. Developer rates on Turing.com vary based on skillset, experience, and location, ranging from $60 to $200 per hour. 
  5. Within just 3-5 business days, your company can find remote programmers through AI assessment, algorithm coding interviews, automated vetting, and the Intelligent Talent Cloud.


5. Lemon.io

Lemon.io is a developer marketplace that connects early-stage startups with vetted engineers. They offer a comprehensive service to help founders find developers for full-time or part-time projects within 48 hours.

How it works

Lemon.io sources developers from over 500 job boards, dev communities, and LinkedIn. To validate their skills, developers undergo a rigorous 90-minute assessment, including deep technical questions, live coding tests, and code reviews. The screening process ensures that developers can integrate well into a team. The hiring process includes three steps: answering project evaluation questions, matching with developers, and funding your account to start the project immediately after finalizing arrangements.

Lemon.io vs. Toptal

  1. Lemon.io offers a large pool of vetted developers, specializing in Java, JavaScript, Ruby on Rails, Python, Swift, and data science. 
  2. Hourly rates for the Startup plan range from $45 to $80, with a minimum of 120 project hours. The CTO plan's rates are provided upon contact.
  3. Unlike Toptal, Lemon.io requires no upfront fees but does require payment before the project begins. The platform claims to save companies over 100 hours in the hiring process by eliminating interviews with unqualified engineers. 
  4. Additionally, Lemon.io provides time-tracking and weekly project progress reports.
  5. Lemon.io's vetting process involves evaluating CVs and portfolios, conducting background and identity checks, and administering written and oral proficiency tests. Finally, candidates must pass a coding test to be shortlisted on the platform.


6. Upwork

Upwork is an online work marketplace that connects a wide range of businesses with independent talents with AI services and designs. It’s one of the most widely used platforms for the selection and hiring of software developers. 

How it works

This Toptal competitor works on a bidding system. You’ll post a project on Upwork (for free) with all the descriptions of the developer you’re looking to hire (including part-time, full-time, short-term availability) and Upwork will connect you with contractors and agencies, who will generate proposals within 24 hours. Candidates reach out to you by providing samples of their work and their bid for the project. You’ll be able to compare bids, reviews, and prior work. You can interview to find the best fit. You can pay hourly or fixed-rate and receive invoices through Upwork.

Upwork vs. Toptal

  1. The Upwork differentiator is its affordability. As for developer fees, you can find candidates with hourly rates as low as $8/hour and as high as $200/hour. The low costs make Upwork a great option for short-term projects and one-off tasks.
  2. The platform has a massive pool of freelance developers. You'll find specialists for various projects, from basic HTML developers to WordPress experts and even blockchain engineers.
  3. Upwork offers tiered membership plans to cater to different needs. The free Basic plan allows you to post projects, browse freelancer profiles, and view work history. The Plus plan ($49/month) adds features like tailored search results, project tracking tools, and an account manager who helps match you with suitable talent. The Enterprise plan offers additional onboarding tools, but pricing requires negotiation with Upwork directly.
  4. Unlike Toptal, Upwork lacks a rigorous vetting process. This means the vetting falls on you to screen potential developers carefully.
  5. Once you've hired a developer, Upwork provides built-in project management tools. These include to-do lists, activity trackers to monitor freelancer hours, work diaries, and even time trackers to ensure you stay on budget.


7. CloudDevs

CloudDevs is a prominent tech talent platform that offers over 8,000 pre-screened remote senior developers and designers. The platform focuses on sourcing developers from the Latin American market, ensuring they are vetted, timezone-aligned, and meet specific project requirements.

How it works

Hiring through CloudDevs begins by placing an order and scheduling a call with a CloudDevs representative to discuss your project in detail. After understanding your needs, CloudDevs matches you with vetted engineers. CloudDevs will then charge an initial deposit of $500 that will be credited to your first invoice of your newly-hired developer. Each developer engagement starts with a 7-day trial. This allows you to assess their fit for your project before committing. You only pay if you're completely satisfied.

CloudDevs vs. Toptal

  1. CloudDevs offers flexible hiring arrangements, including full-time or part-time freelancers. The platform can quickly assemble a curated team of developers while handling legal, compliance, and administrative complexities.
  2. Unlike Toptal, CloudDevs focuses exclusively on tech professionals. This allows them to better understand your needs and find the perfect technical fit.
  3. Toptal allows its freelancers to set their own prices. So, the cost of Toptal talent varies for each client. In contrast, on CloudDevs, you pay hourly wages between $45 and $70. 
  4. CloudDevs hiring process can take place within 24 hours. Once you request a developer, you get a list of pre-vetted professionals who might fit your requirements. 
  5. CloudDevs assures all their talents are assigned from the same time zone as the client. This focus on timezone alignment, along with its dedicated tech talent pool, makes CloudDevs particularly adept at handling custom sourcing requirements compared to Toptal.


8. Gun.io

Gun.io is a platform that connects businesses with qualified freelance software developers. Each candidate undergoes a thorough screening process, saving you time during the hiring process.

How it works

Gun.io is an exclusive, invite-only network with vetted software developers from the United States. The platform also provides customized recommendations to match clients with tech talent. Clients can then review shortlisted candidates and schedule interviews. On average, hires are made within 13 days of requesting a candidate on the platform.

Gun.io vs. Toptal

  1. Gun.io is an invite-only network, which results in a smaller but highly skilled pool of tech talent. It includes backend developers, frontend developers, and app developers. The platform offers a customized recommendation process and dedicated account managers to help match clients with developers suited to their project requirements.
  2. For full-time, salaried placements, Gun.io charges a fee of 20% of their negotiated first-year salary at your company.
  3. Gun.io provides dedicated account managers who assist in matching clients with developers who fit their specific project requirements.
  4. Gun.io tends to be on the pricier side compared to Toptal, reflecting the exclusive and highly vetted nature of its talent pool.
  5. Gun.io handles the administrative burden, managing contracts, time-tracking, and payments. This allows you to focus on building a successful partnership with your chosen developer.

Focus on performance, not recruiting. Fill your Java, Python, Rust, Go, Scala, and AI/ML roles with vetted senior tech talent from Indev.dev talent network. Simplify scaling today →


9. YouTeam

YouTeam is the world's first marketplace dedicated to increasing engineering staff for technology companies. It allows companies to quickly add full-time contract engineers to their teams, boasting a network of over 50,000 vetted engineers from Europe and Latin America.

How it works

All developers on YouTeam are full-time employees of top software development firms in Eastern Europe and South America. YouTeam acts as an intermediary between clients and these software houses. After submitting a project request, YouTeam's matching technology identifies suitable developer profiles. Clients can review CVs and portfolios, handpick candidates, and conduct interviews before engaging with the software houses that employ them. The platform ensures a risk-free process by providing escrow services, so payments are made only upon work acceptance.

YouTeam vs. Toptal

  1. YouTeam functions as an outstaffing platform, allowing you to hire individual specialists or entire teams who are permanent employees of local software agencies in South America and Eastern Europe. 
  2. Pricing is individualized based on project complexity and duration, with average hourly rates for mid-level software engineers ranging from $30-$40 in Eastern Europe and $40-$50 in Latin America.
  3. YouTeam handles the legal and financial aspects of offshore outsourcing and offers features like time zone matching and proactive quality monitoring. 
  4. Developers' skills are verified, and they must pass a HackerRank test for technical proficiency. 
  5. Clients also benefit from a Customer Success Manager who facilitates communication with developers and handles legal and financial matters.


10. Fiverr

Fiverr is a freelance services platform that connects businesses with on-demand talent for digital services. It's known for its gig-based marketplace, covering various fields including small business services, logo design, and software development.

How it works

Fiverr popularized the order-based system of engaging freelancers. In this system, you specify the outcome you need, and freelancers list their prices for completing the task. Freelancers on Fiverr, known as ‘Sellers,’ offer services for specific tasks such as building a WordPress website or developing a basic Android app. They provide services at three different price points based on task complexity.

Fiverr vs. Toptal

  1. Fiverr is generally more affordable than Toptal, with developers charging hourly rates starting as low as $20. Fiverr charges a 20% fee on whatever you pay the developer. You can choose to pay hourly or upon task approval, adding flexibility to your payment options.
  2. Fiverr doesn't require any upfront fees from businesses, making it an accessible option for trying out the platform. They also offer a Business plan with additional features for an annual fee, but with the first year free.
  3. You can find hundreds of freelance developers under the programming and tech category, from WordPress developers to cybersecurity specialists. Fiverr handles projects of all sizes and durations.
  4. Fiverr matches Toptal in hiring speed, often finding a developer in less than 48 hours. If you're unhappy with a developer, you can cancel the contract and request a refund
  5. Fiverr is only a marketplace for remote work seekers — there’s no vetting to ensure that there are only high-quality freelance professionals. This means that, unlike on other Toptal alternative platforms, it’s up to you to appraise the developers and determine which ones meet your standards.


Wrapping up: Decision Time

There's no one-size-fits-all answer when it comes to remote developer hiring platforms. While Toptal is a powerhouse, a whole universe of alternatives exists. While you require a quick fix from a budget-friendly freelancer or a dedicated, long-term contractor, there’s a platform waiting to connect you with the right tech talent. Plus, looking beyond Toptal’s hiring service may help you find niche developers at more affordable rates.

Based on your use-case, these are some Toptal alternatives to consider:

  1. High-quality, affordable developers: Index.dev and Lemon.io are excellent choices if you opt for high-quality standards of Toptal, and affordability. They offer rigorous vetting and personalized matching based on your needs, and a scalable way to grow your team.  
  2. Fast-pace hiring: Index.dev, Arc.dev and Fiverr are known for their blazing fast hiring time and super-responsive services. You’ll be able to hire a developer within 48-hours. 
  3. Budget constrained hiring: Fiverr is the best option, but you’ll need to vet developers yourself. 
  4. Short-term projects: For small projects and one-off tasks, Upwork and Fiverr are some of the best freelancing platforms that are worth considering. They have a huge network of freelance developers. However, their bidding system and lack of vetting means they are not a risk-free option. 
  5. Long-term, full-time work: For long-term projects which require dedicated developers and consistent contribution, platforms like Index.dev, X-Team, and Arc dev are your best bet. They help you hire developers that integrate well in your development team and contribute instantly to your project success. 


You can also try Index.dev to access a global network of thoroughly vetted remote developers: 

🤖 Choose from 15,000 high-performing developers, designers, PMs, and QAs

🤖 Vetted and ready to interview

🤖 Contract work: part- or full-time

Hire developers risk-free right now. Only pay if you’re happy → 

If you’re a senior software developer looking for high-end projects in the US, UK, and EU join Index.dev for a rewarding remote career.