Top 10 Upwork Alternatives for Hiring Skilled Developers
For Employers

July 04, 2024

Top 10 Upwork Alternatives for Hiring Skilled Developers

According to Statista, 56,44% of hiring managers struggle to find qualified developers and 27,64% have difficulty standing out from other companies to attract top tech talent. This makes global and remote hiring a smart strategy to access a pool of high-performing developers. 

Tech hiring challenges

Upwork is often the first hiring platform tech recruiters and hiring managers choose when seeking cost-effective developers worldwide. With a user base of more than 5 million across 180 countries, Upwork is one of the biggest marketplaces for hiring freelancers specializing in software development, graphic design, operations, finance, marketing, and writing.

While Upwork may be a good option, there are several other alternatives available that will help your business fill even the most challenging developer roles. This post will explore 10 Upwork alternatives, explaining why those options are better suited for your development needs. 

But first let’s take a closer look at strengths and weaknesses of Upwork that make it a popular or less competitive choice. 

Struggling to find the right remote developer? Index.dev offers a global talent network of 15,000 vetted software engineers, ready to join your team. Hire 7x faster →

Key Strengths of Upwork 

Upwork’s popularity stems from the fact that it allows you to find competent tech talent quickly and handle contracts and payments. Candidates reach out to you by showcasing samples of their previous projects and 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. 

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.

Many tech companies point out the following advantages, which keep them choose Upwork as their main platform for hiring developers: 

  1. Global talent pool: Upwork offers access to a wide range of diverse tech talent globally including millions of staffing businesses and freelancers. As a client, you have the flexibility to hire individual freelancers or contract an agency for a full tech team.
  2. Cost-effective solution: The Upwork differentiator is its affordability. As for developer fees, you can find candidates with hourly rates as low as $10/hour and as high as $150/hour. The low costs make Upwork a great option for short-term projects and one-off tasks.
  3. Hiring flexibility: You can hire freelancers on Upwork for both short- and long-term projects. You can also choose from part-time and full-time engagements, allowing you to scale quickly. Moreover, you’re allowed to decide how you’ll find the suitable freelancer. You can either wait for them to bid for your jobs or actively filter candidates based on your project requirements and skills. 
  4. Detailed freelancer profiles: Developer profiles on Upwork are comprehensive, offering all the necessary information about ongoing projects, previous work and background, client feedback and ratings. Upwork has a ‘badge’ system in place for tech talent so keep an eye out for ones that say “Expert Vetted”, “Rising Talent” or “Top rated” in order to get better talent. This transparency can help you make a more informed hiring decision.
  5. Secure payments: Through Upwork’s intuitive platform, you can set up milestone-based payments, track work progress and make payments only when the agreed-upon work is satisfactory completed and delivered. This provides an additional layer of security and trust for the clients. 

Key Weaknesses of Upwork 

Despite its numerous strengths, Upwork also has its weak points. Some of the reasons that may prompt businesses to look elsewhere include: 

  1. High competition: Upwork is a popular marketplace of freelancers and businesses, which comes with a high-competition for talented developers. One of the challenges you may face is that for any job you’ll post you’ll be flooded with applications from freelancers. Therefore, finding a suitable candidate for your project may take longer than expected.
  2. Limited support: Hiring on Upwork involves several stages from posting a job and reviewing profiles to interviewing potential candidates and negotiating contracts. This comes without any support from the platform, making hiring a lengthy and tedious process. Regarding some issues you face with a freelancer, you can submit a help ticket and expect to receive an answer within 24 hours or talk to a chatbot. You just can’t receive a hand-on help from a human real-time, unlike on other Upwork alternatives.
  3. Not entirely tech-focused: A large number of freelancers on Upwork come from sectors other than software development, including finance and marketing. Consequently, the software development pool is limited compared to other hiring platforms, entirely focused on engineering talent. 
  4. No vetting: Despite detailed developers profiles with work history and ratings, there is still a huge possibility of encountering freelancers who may not meet work quality or desired expectations. The responsibility for selecting, vetting,  and managing a candidate is completely on you.
  5. Fees and limitations: Upwork charges a 5% service fee for all payments to freelancers. The platform also charges a variable one-time contract initiation fee, adding to the overall project costs. Additionally, Upwork limits the invitations you can send to prospective candidates, offering several paid membership plans. 
Remote hiring challenges

Choosing the Right Remote Hiring Platform: 10 Upwork Alternatives

Upwork isn’t the only option to find the freelance remote workers you need. Here’s our curated list of the best Upwork alternatives.

1. Index.dev

Index.dev is a global talent network that offers access to 15,000 vetted tech talent for software development, UX/UI design, data engineering, AI/ML, product development, quality assurance and cybersecurity roles. Each developer that makes the final cut on the platform is rigorously vetted by a team of experienced recruiters and matchers for English proficiency, remote performance, hard skills, soft skills, and culture fit. 

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. 

Index.dev vetting process, top 5% tech talent

Index.dev provides a 30 days risk-free trial for all its engagements, meaning you don’t have to pay any upfront charges. Alsto the platform has a 97% trial-to-hire rate, meaning 19 out of 20 developers complete the trial and will commit to your project from start to end. 

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

Key features of Index.dev: 

  1. Provides 3 to 5 senior developers for any open role in just 48 hours
  2. Thorough vetting process of developers: Only 5% make the final cut
  3. Assigned developers go through consistency checks regularly
  4. Full refund if you’re not satisfied within 30 days
  5. Zero upfront costs, no platform fees and hiring charges
  6. 24/7 dedicated support whenever you need it
  7. Handling talent onboarding, paperwork, payroll and compliance

Read more: How Index.dev helped Genemod – a US-based modern software company specializing in scientific research – hire highly skilled full-stack developers from Brazil

2. Toptal

Like Index.dev, Toptal offers you thoroughly-screened talent for a wide range of technology stacks from full-stack developers to project managers to AI/ML specialists. To ensure they provide qualified talent that can work on complex projects, Toptal uses a rigorous five-step interview process to vet developers so that only the top 3% make it through. Toptal screening process includes language and personality tests, in-depth skill reviews, live screenings, and test projects. Moreover, the platform also reviews its developers to make sure they maintain a strong quality that doesn't drop over time.  

Each hire on Toptal comes with a 14-day trial period. If the new hire doesn’t satisfy your project requirements, you won’t be charged for the work they’ve done to you. The platform also allows you to replace the freelancer if you are not satisfied with the first one.

Hiring flexibility is one of the key strengths of Toptal. You can easily scale your development team up or down anytime. You can hire developers for full-time work and as the project milestones are completed, you can transition those engineers into part-time roles or scale back up during ‘crunch times’.

Key features of Toptal: 

  1. Flexibility in scaling tech teams up or down
  2. No-risk trial period to ensure developer’s fit for the project
  3. Strict vetting of candidates & quick recruitment process
  4. Protection of intellectual property

Read more: Discover 10 Best Toptal Alternatives for Hiring Developers 

3. Arc.dev

Arc is an AI-powered remote jobs marketplace for hiring software developers. The platform has an impressive 350,000 pool of vetted freelance or contracting developers and uses an AI recruiter, HireAI, an AI-powered process to match developers with clients within 72 hours. 

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. Along with this, they have a stringent vetting process with a mere 2.3% of applicants are able to meet their rigorous standards. Their multi-stage vetting process includes manual profile screening, video interview to assess English proficiency, evaluation of technical skills and final candidate review with re-evaluation for tech and soft skills. 

Similar to other remote hiring platforms, Arc offers a 2 week risk free trial to ensure developer’s technical and culture fit for the project. 

Key features of Arc.dev: 

  1. Fast matching process and 14-day money back guarantee policy 
  2. Hands-on help from expert team of recruiters
  3. Rigorous vetting with comprehensive assessment tools

Read more: Looking for Arc.dev Alternatives? Discover 10 Platforms for Hiring Developers

4. BairesDev

BairesDev is a nearshore outsourcing development company you can hire expertly vetted developers from. The platform prides itself on having 5,000+ developers who have worked for their clients’ projects in software development, blockchain, eCommerce, mobile apps, and UI/UX design fields. 

With over a decade of experience, their approach involves offering  dedicated development teams, complete software outsourcing, and occasional staff augmentation. BairesDev focuses on sourcing its developers around America and Caribbean and each developer undergoes a vetting process that includes skill-level and credentials verification, English language and code proficiency and test coding scores. 

Key features of BairesDev:

  1. Rigorous developer selection process
  2. Hiring flexibility: Individuals, dedicated teams, and full outsourced software
  3. Strong focus on Latin America, beneficial for the US companies

5. Flexiple

Flexiple is an invitation-only network that helps developers and designers collaborate with global companies. The platform allows you to hire pre-vetted freelance developers and programers in different tech stacks who are tested to have strong technical skills, extensive background, good communication skills, and excellent performance. They use a multi-stage vetting process that comprises a thorough evaluation of developers’ past work, background check, communication skills, and ability to explain complex technical concepts in simple terms. Through one-on-one interviews they also test technical skills followed by a skill-specific test. 

This robust verification will help your company cut down your time in screening the abilities of a developer and get them to start immediately. 

Key features of Flexiple: 

  1. Curated tech talent: hand-picked freelancers
  2. Strong support for clients throughout the engagement 
  3. Clear and competitive pricing models, no hidden fees
  4. Regular performance checks

Hire with insights, not instincts. Hire high-performing developers from Index.dev in 48 hours → 

6. CloudDevs

CloudDevs is a remote talent platform offering 8,000 vetted software engineers mainly sourced from the Latin American market. Unlike Upwork, the platform specializes exclusively on tech professionals, highlighting its services on time-zone alignment and fast hiring in 24 hours. 

The platform outsources the top 5% of remote developers from Latin America and Europe to businesses globally. The platform offers developers for full-time and part-time roles depending on your needs and extends its support further by assisting your company with payments, talent management and compliance throughout the engagement. 

CloudDevs has a 5-stage vetting process that examines candidates for their tech stack proficiency, previous work, and communication skills. They also conduct live coding challenges and an algorithm-based problem-solving test to evaluate developers’ speed, code quality, and ability to perform under pressure. 

Key features of CloudDevs: 

  1. Senior talent with 7+ years of experience
  2. Time-zone alignment for easier collaboration
  3. Direct communication with the talents through private Slack workspace
  4. Handling legal, compliance and administrative complexities

7. Lemon.io

Lemon.io is another marketplace of verified developers that you can hire as freelancers or full-time contractors. The platform allows you to quickly hire freelance developers who are primarily located in Eastern Europe. 

Lemon.io specializes in web development and primarily works with technologies such as PHP, WordPress, Drupal, Blockchain, JavaScript, and Node.js. Like the other Upwork competitors on the list, Lemon.io has a thorough vetting process that starts with a portfolio evaluation and soft skill screening, and ends up with hard skill, background and work ethics checks. 

The platform promises a 48-hour matching with developers and also handles the overall hiring and talent onboarding processes. Additionally, the platform provides weekly reports so you’ll get a full list of milestones achieved by your hired developer, including the time they dedicated to completing the tasks. When you feel that the initial hire you’ve made wasn’t a good fit, Lemon.io also offers a free replacement guarantee.

Features of Lemon.io:

  1. Thoroughly vetted developers
  2. Affordable developer rates 
  3. 24-hour matching and replacement guarantee
  4. Helpful customer support and weekly reports 

8. Gun.io

Gun.io is an invite-only network that connects businesses with freelance software developers expertly vetted by senior engineers. It includes backend developers, frontend developers, and app developers. 

For a more accurate match, the platform provides a customizable recommendation process and comprehensive talent profiles with extended information about their work titles, years of experience, skills and work preferences. Also each profile comes with additional information on what other colleagues, employers, or clients say about the shortlisted applicants. For a better candidate introduction, a video intro is provided aiming to highlight their communication skills and their ability to interact with your core team. 

There are also comparison features where you can weigh up the developer you’re eyeing with other potential candidates to see who fits your needs best. 

The Gun.io platform also handles the administrative hassles, managing contracts, time-tracking, and payments. This allows you to focus on core business functions and building a long-term relationship with your chosen talent. 

Features of Gun.io:

  1. Expertly-vetted developer candidates
  2. Detailed and comprehensive profiles
  3. Video intro and workstyle assessment
  4. Payment security 

9. Upstack

Upstack is a platform that helps businesses augment their team with experienced freelance developers from a vetted pool of candidates. The developer screening process involves 8 stages to ensure the assigned candidate has the right expertise, technical skills, and personality to get the job done. 

Upstack leverages an AI technology algorithm for a fast-paced matching process, delivering an expert candidate in just a couple of days upon your requirements. As a result, you don't have to sift through dozens of tens of resumes, as you would on Upwork.

Developers you hire on Upstack are tracked by a Slack bot to ensure the core tasks and deadlines are met. The platform also provides comprehensive support throughout the engagement, ensuring that the candidates you hire have a smooth onboarding process and have all the necessary tools to deliver. 

Features of Upstack:

  1. The 8-stage candidate screening process
  2. AI technology for a streamlined matching
  3. Slack bot to track developers
  4. Onboarding assistance for new hires

10. YouTeam

YouTeam is an invitation-only network of top small and medium-sized development agencies. The platform allows companies to quickly hire full-time developers, offering access to a network of over 50,000 vetted profiles from 500+ top agencies in Europe and Latin America. 

YouTeam functions as an outstaffing platform and acts as an intermediary between clients and software houses they collaborate with. Similarly to other Upwork competitors, all developers on YouTeam undergo a strict vetting process and clients can browse profiles and personally interview them. The platform identifies developers from top local development agencies for the client’s job requirements. Agencies in the YouTeam network vet their talent and send it to YouTeam for re-vetting. YouTeam screens the developer and sends him/her to clients for final review and validation. 

Moreover, the platform offers a 30-day risk free trial and free replacement in case of a mismatch. Clients also benefit from a Customer Success Manager who facilitates communication with developers and handles legal and financial matters.

Features of YouTeam:

  1. Strict developer vetting 
  2. Global talent pool of 50,000 developers
  3. Interview-ready candidates in 48 hours 
  4. All legal and financial aspects are taken care of

Focus on performance, not recruiting. Fill your software development roles with Index.dev’s senior talent vetted for both hard and soft skills. Make scaling simple → 

Conclusion

Upwork is a reliable platform for hiring cost-effective developers for both short and long-term projects. However, opting for Upwork alternatives can help you access a global talent pool with more qualified developers and take advantage of fairly-priced engineering talent. 

Ultimately, there’s no right or wrong answer when it comes down to choosing a hiring platform to partner with. The key is to select one that fits your project size, hiring speed, tech skills, team culture, time-zone, and budget.

Read more: How Index.dev helped Omio hire full-stack Java developers in a hyper-competitive talent market

 

If you’re looking for developer-focused hiring platforms, you can turn to us at Index.dev. Other than a stringent vetting process, we provide: 

  • 30-day risk free trial
  • Free replacement in case of mismatch
  • 24/7 dedicated support with talent onboarding and further integration.

Our network of 15,000 vetted engineers is ready to start immediately. Receive 3 to 5 profiles within 48 hours. Post a job now!

 

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.