Toptal vs Upwork vs Fiverr: Where to hire developers?

Krunal Shah

Feb 26, 2021 | 9 min read

In a situation where you are spoilt for choices, making the right decision can become tough.

Toptal vs Upwork vs Fiverr

The tech world seems to be a lucrative place to earn money. But completing a tech project can sometimes become overwhelming since the competition here is so cut-throat. Thus, in order to complete the projects in the right manner, you need to hire a team of skilled and experienced developers.

If you are reading this article, you are either a freelancer or a business owner looking to hire freelancers. When it comes to general freelance marketplaces, nothing comes closer to the holy trinity of Toptal, Upwork and Fiverr.

The three-way competition of Toptal vs Upwork Vs Fiverr has compelled the business owners to put their ‘thinking cap’ on and analyze the platform. The business owners should understand that each of the three platforms are competent in their own right and have a few shortcomings as well.

In this article, we will dig deep and share with you all the important information that would prove vital in hiring freelancers.

Table of Content

Introducing the general freelance marketplaces

Before diving deep into the specifications, shortcomings and advantages of Toptal, Upwork and Fiverr, let us first understand the platforms in brief.

TopTal

Toptal where to hire developer

Taso Du Val, Adam D’Angelo and Andreesen Horowitz first founded Toptal in the year 2010. In the past decade has become an international platform for hiring freelancers. It has an uncompromising vetting process. Thus, the platform  guarantees a 90% match with the first candidate they offer to a bussing organization.

Over the years, Toptal has worked for leading industry players such as Microsoft, Bridgestone, Motorola and the University of South California. In addition, the company states that through their website you can hire the top 3% of the freelance talent in the world. Their esteemed clientele speaks volumes about their claim. Moreover, the consultants at Toptal would understand your requirements and provide you a list of fitting freelance candidates themselves.

Upwork

Upwork where to hire developer

In 2015, two companies oDesk and Elance decided that instead of fighting, they will shake hands and get merged. Upwork is the result of the merger. During the merger, both the companies thought of retaining their assets. Thus, instead of starting from scratch, Upwork already had a list of freelancers who were looking for employment.

Upwork has a huge user base as it is a flexible platform. It provides start-ups as well as established organizations equal chances to hire freelancers according to their needs. The niche marketplace is specifically designed to match the potential candidates with their employers and vice versa.

Fiverr

fiverr where to hire developer

Like Toptal, Fiverr was also founded in 2010 and it is often known as a general marketplace to get top-notch freelance services. Fiverr is known as a general marketplace as it doesn’t let the employers post a job post and get freelancers to do the application.

Here, freelancers post their skills and rates on the website. After looking at their qualifications and rate charge, employers can reach the freelancers to get the specific service done.

After understanding the basic nitty-gritties of the ‘Toptal vs Upwork vs Fiverr’ saga, it is time to do the grind and advantages and disadvantages of the general freelance marketplaces.

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Advantages of Toptal

Advantages of Toptal

Toptal perhaps has the most rigorous screening process in comparison to all the three platforms. The benefit of having a stern screening process is that only the best freelancers make it to the final cut, rest all are weed out.

The experts at Toptal check and analyse the technical expertise of the applicant, professionalism, communication skills, etc. The entire screening process takes a long time of five weeks. After the screening process, the technical experts select only the top 3% of the applicants, rest are disqualified.

In addition, Toptal is great platform that assists the recruiters to oversee and manage every step of the process.

If you find a negative review on Toptal for hiring freelance developers, don’t be afraid. most reviews are by those developers who didn’t manage to pass the test.

Apart from providing the best platform to hire freelancers, the team of matchers at Toptal pretty much works as your in-house HR team. You need to pay an initial deposit of $500 which you can easily withdraw in case you are removing your job post.

If you feel that the 5 week vetting time is too much for your liking, Toptal will provide you an expert. That expert will understand your business goals, requirements, etc. and based on that will provide you a shortlist of freelance developers you can interview and hire the freelancer.

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Disadvantages of Toptal

As only the top 3% of all the talented freelancers available make it to the final cut of Toptal, they demand more money for their services. Thus budding companies working on bootstrapped budgets might find difficulty in hiring developers from the Toptal marketplace.

Despite being the top-rated freelance developer or designers of their genre, there is no proper benefit or job security for freelancers on Toptal. In hindsight, lending no job security is the shortcoming of each of the general marketplaces mentioned here.

The highly experienced and qualified freelancers that you will find on Toptal are better suited for large scale projects. Thus, the small scale companies will not find much according to their likings on Toptal.

A stern screen process means the employers would have less number of developers to choose from. Here, Upwork gets an upper hand as compared to Toptal.

Advantages of Upwork

Advantages of Upwork

As mentioned earlier, Upwork renders a larger pool of talent to choose from for the employers as compared to Toptal. If you opt for the standard package at Upwork, you will have access to a big pool for hiring freelancers. In addition, the business and enterprise package go a step ahead and provide consolidated billing, on-boarding and contracting services as well.

One of the high-points of opting Upwork is it renders you a pool of remote job-seekers and offers you a plethora of online payment options so that you can pay freelancers with ease. Its platform is strategically designed keeping the requirements of the employers in mind. At Upwork, the employers can have an in-depth look over the merit of the freelancers before selecting

Upwork allows the developers to bid for the projects their employers offer them. While bidding, they can offer their prices. Due to the bidding system, the business companies can hire developers at a cheaper rate.

Apart from the bidding system, it ensures that all the transactions done through the platform are safe as it freezes the money before the task is being completed. Along with established firms, start-ups can use Upwork if they intend on hiring developers for their low-end projects.

Disadvantages of Upwork

As the vetting system is not as profound as Toptal, employers have to do lots of trial and error before finding the best developer for their work. Moreover, Upwork has a revenue cap for the freelancers. This is the reason why many talented developers drive away from the platform as they don’t get adequate money according to their talent.

If you opt for the free/basic version of Upwork, you will not get better features. Useful features such as email support, no risk trial period, etc. are only available in Upwork plus, enterprise and business plans. As all these plans are paid, it becomes difficult for the freelancers as well as the business to have access to it.

Upwork has a low quality customer support process. Moreover, the general freelance marketplace remains detached from the entire hiring process unlike Toptal. This adds insult to injury and raises up the frustration level of both the freelancers and the employers.

Advantages of Fiverr

Advantages of fiverr

The biggest advantage of using Fiverr is that here all the services start as low as $5. Moreover, there are a plethora of options of hiring freelancers available for the buyers, from beginners to experts. You can choose the freelancers by comparing them by looking at their ratings and gigs.

Fiverr has done away from the norm followed by other general marketplaces and it provides immaculate customer support whenever it is needed. In addition, as it is a general freelance marketplace, the availability of the freelancer community is not limited to a particular field. Fiverr has more than 10,000 different projects available on its platform.

The platform provides an easy to use interface to all the sellers and buyers. It saves a lot of time for both the employers and the freelancers and curtails the development time-cycle.

There is a myriad of malicious activities done by both the sellers and buyers on a freelance platform. Fiverr reports all the fraudulent activities and gives negative reviews to such employers and freelancers.

The negative reviews will save others from falling prey to their unfair norms. Moreover, the victim of bad work ethics can even launch a complaint at the customer support section of Fiverr and the team will take required actions.

Disadvantages of Fiverr

If you are a budding freelancer looking for hiring opportunities, Fiverr can prove to be a tough platform for you. If you aren’t an expert freelancer, it is hard to make constant money from the Fiverr platform.

Fiverr renders some of the best features to the buyers, but there is still a small number of fraud sellers existing there. These fraud sellers that the projects by making up fake gigs and then provide sub-standard service at higher price. Such fraudulent activities have had an ill-effect on the overall reputation of the general freelance marketplace.

Despite there being an option on limiting the number of projects, there have been instances where sellers increase the time of the service. Thus, if you are hiring a freelancer thinking that your project will be completed in 3-4 days, you may be wrong. Since the sellers are not using the feature of limiting the number of projects, it gets frustrating for those buyers who are looking to finish their work quickly.

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5 Summarizing everything to make it clearer for you

In case you need a quick revision in order to understand the ‘Toptal vs Upwork vs Fiverr’ saga in a nutshell, we have you covered.

Toptal

Pros: Fast talent matching, authentic five week screening process, only top freelancers make it to the final cut.

Cons: Limited talent pool, $500 initial fee which can be sometimes higher for beginners, high rate if the developers and designers

Upwork

Pros: Larger talent pool to choose from, unified dashboard, wider pricing range, better payment security infrastructure

Cons: Abrupt communication, all the better features are paid, freelancing wild west.

Fiverr

Pros: Easy to use interface, cheaper and affordable services, better customer support, variety of projects

Cons: Fraud sellers, difficult to make constant money, hard nut to crack for the beginners.

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Conclusion

The biggest takeaway from the ‘Toptal vs Upwork vs Fiverr’ saga is that ‘it all depends on your requirements’. The employers need to understand their needs before hiring the freelancers from any general freelance marketplace.

Moreover, if the business companies are feeling edgy about their needs and requirements, they consult a top app development company. The experience and in-depth market knowledge a leading software application development company brings would be much better and comprehensive as compared to the freelancers. By opting for a software development firm instead of hiring freelancers, you will have access to developers and designers that will be solely dedicated to your project.

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