Toptal is known to be one of the most sought-after premium marketplaces for freelance developers and web designers. The downside is that it comes with a hefty price that could be too heavy for the pockets of startups. If you’re looking for the best Toptal alternatives, you’re in for some treat in this post.
Choosing a Toptal alternative can be confusing especially when you’re laid with too many options. We’ll help make the decision-making part easier for you. In this review, you’ll be looking at Toptal alternatives based on:
- Tech talent availability
- Hiring process
- Project management
- And quality assurance
The superiority of each Toptal alternative in each of these core factors will simplify making a pick on which freelance platform to go for. Let’s get right to it.
Toptal Alternative 1: Aloa
We are a cutting-edge tech talent outsourcing platform that can provide you with a talent pool of programmers, software engineers, graphic design specialists, and other experts you can hire as part of your tech team providing you with the right candidates to make software development projects both painless and effective.
Aloa Tech Talent Availability
With more than a hundred tech talents in our network, we can provide you with the right candidates whether you need frontend web developers, backend web developers, mobile app programmers, emerging technology software engineers, and UI/UX designers.
We believe in helping you maximize the value of your resources, hence we do not ask you to pay for more than what you ask us to help you with. By clicking on the “Hire Your Team” button, we can assess your needs and requirements and then give you a custom quote specific to the project’s scope.
For startups, we highly recommend leveraging the hourly engagement or monthly resources rates instead of a fixed price quote. Since you’ll likely iterate fast, it’s more favorable for you not to be bound to a single scope of work.
Aloa Hiring Process
We are highly esteemed for only providing the best tech talents with years of experience that are qualified to do the job, specific to your requirements. Hence, to ensure we match you with top-notch web developers and software engineers, we follow a rigorous vetting process so you won’t have to do it yourself.
Aloa Project Management
Unlike most freelance marketplaces, once you work with our developers, we will allow you access to our custom project management platform. This client-facing status tracker will give you an overview of the project’s progress, show accountability for fixing bugs, and provide daily standups managing everything from testing to production.
Aloa Quality Assurance
Other than the thorough vetting process and the project management platform, we can also provide you with an outsourcing strategist who will ensure everything is running smoothly. We also do a regular bi-weekly consistency check- a constant re-evaluation of our developers to ensure high-quality output, especially helpful if you plan to work with them for long-term projects.
Toptal Alternative 2: Upwork
Upwork is one of the most well-known open marketplaces for freelancers offering the cheapest pricing points. The skillset of freelancers from this site ranges from development and IT down to sales and marketing.
Upwork Tech Talent Availability
Under the development and IT category, there are over a thousand freelance developers, programmers, and web designers to choose from. This freelance marketplace can provide you with tech talents with skill sets from a basic HTML developer, to WordPress developers, down to blockchain software engineers.
On the entrepreneur’s end, there are 3 membership plans to choose from: Basic, Plus, and Enterprise. The Basic plan is free. With it, you can send out unlimited proposals and view the freelancer’s work history.
The Plus plan is priced at $49/month and includes features of the Basic plan plus tailored search results, project tracking tools, and an account manager to match you with the best talents. The Enterprise plan includes features of the Basic and Plus plan and is topped off with onboarding tools but the pricing needs to be negotiated with the platform first.
As for developer fees, you can find candidates with hourly rates as low as $8/hour and as high as $200/hour.
Upwork Hiring Process
This Toptal competitor works on a bidding system. You create a job post with all the descriptions of the developer you’re looking to hire including information on whether you want them to work part-time, full-time, short-term, or long-term. Upwork then notifies qualified tech talents and if interested, they’ll reach out to you providing samples of their work and their bid for the project. You can choose to pay them an hourly rate or a fixed rate.
This dynamic makes Upwork workable for those looking for freelance developers who’ll work on one-off tasks or short-term projects. Other than waiting for tech talents to contact you, you can also look for developers directly, browsing through profiles and manually going through a screening process to find qualified candidates.
Upwork Project Management
Once a contract is active, Upwork allows you to use project management tools like a to-do list, an activities tool to track a freelancer’s time working on different tasks, a work diary, and a time tracker.
Upwork Quality Assurance
Upwork doesn’t have a screening process. You’ll be handling the vetting of each candidate yourself which will be inconvenient if you don’t have the luxury of time or have other responsibilities to attend to. Additionally, if you’re not well-versed in the field, you can end up choosing unqualified talents which will result in high turnover rates.
Toptal Alternative 3: Fiverr
Fiverr is much like another Toptal competitor- Upwork. It’s an open marketplace for freelancers but with a twist. This Toptal alternative has popularized an order-based system where you will specify an expected outcome and a freelancer will list their price for an order.
Fiverr Tech Talent Availability
You can find hundreds of freelance developers under the programming and tech category on Fiverr. Their freelance talents range from WordPress developers, cybersecurity and data protection specialists, and everything in between.
On the hiring side, Fiverr doesn’t require any upfront fees making it accessible to small businesses. Opting for the Business plan, on the other hand, you’ll be required to pay $149 annually but with the first year’s subscription free of charge.
As for the tech talent rates, you’ll find freelancers willing to do remote work from $5-$995 in hourly rates.
Fiverr Hiring Process
With its order-based concept, Fiverr is best for small one-off tasks or gigs like building a basic WordPress website or a simple mobile app. To find freelance developers to work with, you can either create a job post or search through their talent pool. You can filter the candidates by niche, language, pricing, delivery time, and some other categories. They claim you can get started with a freelancer in as fast as 3 days.
Once you find a good fit, you can reach out to them and see if they’re a good fit. Fiverr comes with a grace period where you can get a refund if you aren’t satisfied with the output.
Fiverr Project Management
Fiverr comes with a project management service called Fiverr Workspace. In it, you can create proposals and ready-to-sign contracts, manage tasks, track time, create invoices, and make payments.
Fiverr Quality Assurance
Like Upwork, Fiverr has no standard vetting process. To test candidate qualifications, you can conduct proficiency tests or agree on a trial period. Other than that, there is no guarantee of the output’s quality unless you’re willing to pay for Fiverr Pro handpicks that are way more expensive than regular candidates.
Toptal Alternative 4: Gun.io
Gun.io is an invite-only freelance network of remote developers. You can hire developers on this platform through a customized recommendation process from handpicked programmers and software engineers.
Gun.io Tech Talent Availability
Because of its invite-only nature, Gun.io has a relatively smaller pool of tech talents. However, they do not run short of skilled backend developers, frontend developers, and app developers.
Handpicked developers are presumed to have appropriate expertise for them to be shortlisted. Thus, hiring developers from this platform means being on the pricier side. Hourly rates for web developers hired from Gun.io range from $75-$150, depending on the project specifications. You can also opt for a monthly retainer rate of $1000 with no long-term contract. The good thing is that Gun.io has a refund policy if unsatisfied with their work.
Gun.io Hiring Process
The hiring process starts with a job post candidates can apply to. This Toptal competitor also matches you with tech talents through customized recommendations. After that, you can review your shortlisted candidates and schedule them for interviews.
Gun.io Project Management
Gun.io takes care of the contract, time-tracking, and payment arrangements.
Gun.io Quality Assurance
This Toptal alternative does the vetting of tech talents but as for QA oversight, that will be under your watch.
Toptal Alternative 5: Guru
Guru is another open freelance marketplace where you can find and hire remote developers.
Guru Tech Talent Availability
In web development and design alone, Guru houses more than 300,000 developers. There are 8 other sub-categories under programming and development, each with an average of 1000,000 freelancers.
Creating an account is free, however, they take a 2.9% cut from each transaction you make. You can pay remote developers from Guru either with a fixed rate or an hourly rate. Fixed rates start at around $250 while hourly rates start at $5. The biggest pricing factor is the talent’s skill set and the scope of the project.
Guru Hiring Process
You can find developers to hire in two ways: by creating a job post or by searching for talents manually. The hiring time is subject to the length of the interview process. Finalizing a hire can take up to 3 weeks.
Guru Project Management
Monitoring the project’s progress is on your hands unless you opt for third-party project management tools.
Guru Quality Assurance
With Guru, you do the screening of candidates and their skills.
Toptal Alternative 6: Lemon.io
Lemon.io is an eccentric developer marketplace with vetted freelancers best fit for startups in the early stage of operation.
Lemon.io Tech Talent Availability
Hourly rates for the Startup plan when working with Lemon.io developers range from $45 to $80 per hour with 120 minimum project hours. There’s also a CTO plan but the rates will be laid out only after you contact them. There are no upfront fees with Lemon.io but they require payment before the project starts.
Lemon.io Hiring Process
The hiring process involves 3 steps starting with project evaluation questions, followed by developer matching. The last step is then to fund your account so the project can start right after arrangements are finalized.
Lemon.io Project Management
This Toptal alternative offers time-tracking and weekly reporting of project updates.
Lemon.io Quality Assurance
As mentioned earlier, Lemon.io has a vetting process in place. First, the CV and portfolio are evaluated. Second, background and identity are checked. Third, written and oral proficiency tests are conducted. Lastly, a coding test task is undertaken to assess the candidate's skill level, and only then will they be shortlisted in the platform, of course, if they pass.
Toptal Alternative 7: Flexiple
Flexiple is a vetted network of developer freelancers designed for startup companies.
Flexiple Tech Talent Availability
Flexiple has hundreds of tech talents to work with. Their best developers have the skillset for mobile development, front-end development, and backend programming.
You can start working with Flexiple developers at $30/hour. Some go all the way up to $100/hour and a one-week free trial is provided to ensure a good fit.
Flexiple Hiring Process
Flexiple lets you work with a solutions expert to identify your project needs and provide you with hand-picked tech talent recommendations that match your requirements. You can then get in touch with the chosen candidate to determine the best fit and after the decision is made on who to work with, the one-week free trial period starts.
Flexiple Project Management
This Toptal alternative will provide you with a dedicated support manager until the engagement is over. As for the QA of the project itself, you’re mainly responsible for it.
Flexiple Quality Assurance
Before admitting developers into the platform, developers go through a rigorous screening process to test their proficiency both in the technical and soft skill aspects.
Toptal Alternative 8: CloudDevs
CloudDevs is a freelance developer platform with developers in their network exclusively from Europe and Latin America.
CloudDevs Tech Talent Availability
This Toptal competitor has over 8,000 tech talents in its network. They cater to front-end development, back-end development, mobile app development, and web design.
Hourly rates for CloudDevs developers start at $40/hour. Their most expensive hourly rate ranges at $70/hour. After finalizing a candidate, a $500 initial deposit is required serving as credit for the first invoice. For every project, they offer a 14-day free trial as well.
CloudDevs Hiring Process
Hiring a developer with this Toptal competitor is a bit different from the first 7 on the list. For this platform, you should place an order and schedule a call with A CloudDevs team member. During the call, you will discuss the project details and your arrangement options.
After finalizing who to hire, you’ll need to sign a letter of engagement and receive onboarding materials. They’ll ensure that the candidate is in the same timezone so that communication and output delivery will proceed seamlessly.
CloudDevs Project Management
After onboarding, you’ll get access to the platform’s collaboration environment where the kickoff happens and all engagement after that.
CloudDevs Quality Assurance
This platform’s vetting process includes a coding exam followed by a live coding exam and a technical interview with a senior software engineer. As for software quality assurance, all rest in your hands unless you hire another specialist to cover for this.
When choosing the best alternative for Toptal, one of the most important things to consider is the level of assurance on getting a high-quality software output that goes in line with your specifications. Unless you can ensure this, you’ll be more susceptible to changing developers and longer workaround times for your project- avoidable and unnecessary delays that will cost you more in the long run.
One way to take the weight off your shoulders in this aspect is to choose a Toptal alternative with a rigorous vetting process in place. Those highly qualified for this are Aloa, Gun.io, Lemon.io, Flexiple, and CloudDevs. But the advantage you get for working with us is that you’ll have a project management tool to utilize and an outsourcing strategist who ensures that everything goes smoothly thus maximizing the money you put into building an infrastructure for your business.