#1 Toptal vs Upwork vs Freelancer (2020 Update)

Toptal vs Upwork

When it comes to hiring software developers for web and app development projects, posting to traditional online job boards or recruiting through employment agencies can be time-consuming, and expensive. But when your business is trying to compete in a digital market, having a software developer on your side is crucial.

Today, branded mobile applications are one of the top methods of retaining ongoing sales transactions. Not to mention, they can help significantly with public advertising, as well as creating consistent brand visibility, and building long-term customer relationships. 

Thankfully, with technology changing the way people interact, work, and seek work, client companies and job-seeking talent have been blessed with online freelance platforms, bringing the two sides together in local, national and globe-spanning fashion.

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Hiremotely Vs. Upwork and Toptal Freelancer

When hiring a software developer comes into play for small and large-scale companies alike, three major platforms top the list nearly every time: Hiremotely, Upwork, and Toptal.  But how do you know which will get you the best bang for your buck, without going over your budget, or sacrificing quality for a lower price?

Let’s face it, choosing the best freelance platform can be difficult when searching for the best freelance software developers, so we’ve laid out the pros and cons of each, just for you!

Hiring Developers On Upwork

When it comes to hiring freelancers in virtually any industry, Upwork takes the cake for being the most popular platform. However, that doesn’t mean there aren’t both advantages and disadvantages to using it.

The Pros of Hiring on Upwork

Being one of the most popular platforms for finding freelancers out there, Upwork offers the widest range of stats and rating metrics for screening potential hires. Not only can you filter freelance developers with experience in their field, but you can also see how they’ve been rated on similar, past projects, as well as how many hours total they have put in on hourly Upwork projects alone.

Upwork also offers a dispute resolution help center. So if you ever have a disagreement over payments with your freelancer, Upwork offers a dispute mediation service, which you resolve your issue quickly and efficiently.  You can learn more about Upwork’s payment protection plan here. This form of payment protection goes both ways. Both clients and freelancers are free to file disputes about one another, should issues arise over contract terms or payments.

Finally, Upwork also makes it easy to find freelancers at the lowest rates by allowing them to bid on your project.  So no matter the budget or rate of pay you post on a project when hiring, freelancers can apply by submitting a proposal and within it, they may bid any fixed amount (or hourly rate) they desire This allows you to not screen your candidates according to your preferred rate, but you’re also able to choose the lowest bidder to save on costs if you choose to do so. Although personally, I would never recommend hiring the lowest bidder for your projects. 

Remember that good work isn’t cheap, and cheap work isn’t good!

Cons of Hiring Freelancers on Upwork

One downside to hiring freelancers on Upwork is that the platform only offers them a limited number of applications. 

To submit a proposal (application) for your job posting on Upwork, freelancers are given a limited amount of “connects.” In the past, Upwork allocated 60 free “connects” to its freelancers every month. However, they’ve recently made changes to the platform and freelancers must pay a small fee in order to purchase “connects” and apply to choose. Those who don’t pay the premium Upwork fee to purchase “connects” can still apply to job postings, but they can only do so if they are invited by the client.

In other words, the best freelancer for your job may be missing out on having enough “connects” to submit a proposal for your project, unless they pay for it. Finally, Upwork doesn’t offer much in terms of a quality guarantee. Of course, you can always submit a claim to dispute a project if you’re unsatisfied by the work submitted, if your projects are milestone-based, rather than hourly, and short in nature, it’s nearly impossible to monitor the quality of the work being produced by your freelancer(s) before submission. 

At the same time, as I’ve mentioned above, freelancers not wanting to do further work for a client also have the ability to file “escrow disputes”, in the event that a client refuses to pay for what they consider to be a completed milestone. 

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Hiring Freelancers on Toptal

Founded in 2010, Toptal is another one of the world’s leading freelance platforms.  According to the website, more than 100,000 freelancers join the platform every single year. So with that said, there’s certainly no shortage of talent to be found on Toptal. However, that doesn’t mean Toptal is going to be the best choice when choosing freelance software developers. So let’s dive in and take a look at the pros and cons of using the platform.

Pros of Hiring on Toptal

If you’re looking for the best of the best freelancers in the world, Toptal might be the best choice for your software development project.  As promised in their abbreviated brand name, Toptal contains a roster of the top, most experienced freelancers, which of course, includes software developers.  Freelancers on Toptal are vetted by an expert-driven screening process, in which, only an average of 3% (per 100,000 annual applicants) make it past the final cuts. During this rigorous screening process, Toptal experts determine both skill level, as well as freelancers job experience through advanced coding tests, portfolio examinations, ongoing market research, and assessments on their problem-solving capabilities.

How much does Toptal cost?

When hiring the world’s top-rated freelancers and agencies, it’s obvious that you’re going to run into some higher costs. Before you even hire a freelance software developer for your project(s), Toptal requires a starting budget deposit of no less than $500. This hiring cost will be applied to your first invoice after the hiring process has taken place and the work has begun. And because Toptal plays matchmaker for you with such well-vetted, well-experienced talent, there are no “cheap” or “lowballing” freelancers here to keep your projects relatively budget-friendly when hiring software developers. An hourly rate can start as high as $95 per hour on Toptal.

Hiring On Hiremotely

Although Hiremotely is a much newer freelancer platform than either Upwork or Toptal, there are many advantages to using it when hiring freelance software developers. Below, we’ll take a look at both the pros and cons of using Hiremotely.

Pros of Hiring On Hiremotely

For starters, Hiremotely offers a variety of developer-specific screenings and filters. And because the platform was created especially for global software developers, and the clients who need them, Hiremotely puts freelancers through a solid vetting process containing three categorical levels of testing; technology and coding skills, math and logic, and on-time reliability.

Hiremotely also offers an extremely convenient mobile app matchmaker. So rather than spending your quality time going through profile after profile of potential hires, Hiremotely requests your specifications and then provides you with 2 or 3 of the most relatable, qualified matches in 48 hours or less.  These can either be top-level individuals or even talented pre-assembled teams of freelancers. Lastly, when compared to Upwork and Toptal, you’ll find significant value when hiring developers through Hiremotely.  To ensure a fair wage for both their freelancers and your company budget, Hiremotely provides software developers at an hourly rate starting at $30 per hour, and there are no additional hiring fees.

Cons of Hiring on Hiremotely

As with anything in life, there are, of course, a few downsides to using Hiremotely.  For example, the platform doesn’t offer any type of bidding process. So when matches are made for you, what you see is what you get. This often means no rate negotiation or being able to find the lowest bidder in your pool of prospects. There’s also a bit of a longer wait time when looking for potential hires on Hiremotely. 

On freelance platforms such as Upwork, you can typically start working with a freelancer on the same day, if you find they have the right skills and experience, and of course, you have their workload ready for them. However, it can take up to two days on Hiremotely to be provided with matches for your company’s needs. And this is in addition to the time it takes to select and onboard your desired freelancer.

Choosing The Best Freelance Platform ( Toptal vs Freelancer Vs Upwork or Hiremotely)

In the end, when hiring freelance software developers, it’s always in the best interest of both parties to have a quality guarantee, as well as a fair pay rate for the freelancer doing the work and your project budget. With that said, Hiremotely offers the best of both worlds when it comes to quality and affordability. With its software-specific vetting process, customized expert matchmaking, and equitable pay rates, Hiremotely might just be the best choice for your next software development project. Not only does Hiremotely aim to keep your company budget afloat, but it also works to keep hard-working software developers motivated and satisfied with their work.

Want to know how Hiremotely is different compared to other marketplaces?

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