Frequently Asked Questions

Many companies — both large and small — have faced challenges with finding elite tech talent, including candidate qualifications, team dynamics, and bottom-line financials. Our unique solution addresses these concerns.


Are there any upfront recruiting or contractual costs?

For each engagement, we require a $500 deposit that ultimately gets applied to the first invoice. In the event of a failed trial period, the deposit is refunded.

Is it really risk-free?

Yes. All of our weekly engagements begin with a predetermined trial period (up to two weeks). This means that Toptalers have time to prove to you that they are absolutely exceptional and worth every penny. If you’re completely satisfied with the results, we’ll bill you for the time and continue the engagement for as long as you’d like. If you’re not completely satisfied, you won’t be billed (and we'll pay the Toptaler out of our own pocket). From there, we can either part ways, or we can provide you with another freelancer who may be a better fit and with whom we will begin a second risk-free trial.

What happens if I’m not satisfied with a Toptal engineer or designer?

We allow our clients to try up to five freelancers per position. While all Toptalers are extraordinarily talented and intelligent, we understand that not every person will be a perfect “cultural” fit for every company. A “cultural” match can be ambiguous as well as highly subjective. For this reason, we allow our clients to work with multiple freelancers for each position before they decide on a candidate with whom they are confident, content, and comfortable.

What does Toptal offer that comparable services do not?

Toptal was created to offer a solution to the lower-than-expected technical performance of resources obtained through the myriad of talent providers. It’s become incredibly difficult to find reliable engineers and designers through these services due to the lack of sufficient screening.

At Toptal, we thoroughly screen our freelancers (please see “Testing & Screening” below) to ensure we only supply developers and designers of the absolute highest caliber. To make an analogy, existing open freelance marketplaces are an eBay for developers, whereas Toptal is an Amazon. At Toptal, we go to extreme lengths to provide and guarantee quality.

Testing & Screening

Do all Toptalers speak fluent English?

Yes - each and every one of them. All Toptalers write and speak English fluently. In fact, before we invite candidates to tackle our rigorous technical tests, we conduct lengthy interviews to ensure they are proficient in English and have personalities well-suited to working with western technical teams.

How exactly do you screen candidates to be sure your software developers meet all of our requirements?

In a nutshell, we screen for language mastery, personality, and technical know-how. Approximately 3% of applicants pass the screening process. We review sample code, algorithmic skills, and CS fundamentals, and we match candidates with senior Toptal engineers for multiple technical interviews and a project to demonstrate live proficiency with a “real” project.

How exactly do you screen candidates to be sure your designers meet all of our requirements?

In a nutshell, we screen for language mastery, personality, and design know-how. Approximately 3% of applicants pass the screening process. We review portfolios, check design fundamentals, and test design skills in real-time, and we match candidates with senior Toptal designers for multiple design interviews and a project to demonstrate live proficiency with a “real” project.


Where are your freelancers located?

While we don’t have any geographic preference, most Toptalers are physically located in North/Central/South America and Europe.

Where do Toptal freelancers work?

The vast majority of Toptalers work from their homes or co-working spaces.

Can I bring Toptal freelancers on-site?

In practice, there have only been a few instances where clients have felt it absolutely necessary to bring a Toptaler physically on-site. If this truly is a requirement, we can work with you to coordinate relocating an individual or team to your location for a specified period of time.

Toptal’s Network & Services

If there isn’t any in-network resource currently available to fulfill the requirements of my request, how long should I expect to wait to receive a freelancer?

It takes us one to three weeks to locate, fully screen, and work with every engineer and designer before we feel confident enough to place them in our network and with a client. We understand your need for expediency, but we also understand the even greater necessity of quality. At Toptal, even if we have an extremely promising prospective candidate, we will not place her/him until we are 100% confident in her/his abilities. Toptal's stringent screening process is the most important reason we’re able to guarantee that our engineers and designers are of the absolute highest caliber.

What happens if a Toptal freelancer is unavailable for the days or times he/she is scheduled to work with me?

Toptal goes to every possible length to ensure that this NEVER happens. At Toptal, we completely understand dependability is of the utmost importance. Thus, we take measures to ensure that availability and reliability is a top priority for our freelancers. However, in the extremely unlikely circumstance that such a situation arises, Toptal will credit back the time billed to the client.

Can I hire a full-time worker from Toptal and bring him/her into our company?

The short answer is “yes.” That said, we’ll want to work with you to fully understand your specific requirements so that we can establish a mutually beneficial arrangement.

Do you offer services such as screening, vetting, and testing to help us hire engineers?

While we currently do not supply these services, we plan on offering them in the future.

Is there any standard equipment Toptal freelancers are required to have?

In order for our freelancers to stay on the same page as the peer employees they’ll be placed with, we require they work with modern equipment. If we feel a freelancer’s equipment isn’t quite up to par, we’ll help him/her acquire a new laptop and peripherals.

Intellectual Property

The client. Toptal is in the business of supplying freelancers of the highest caliber, not collecting intellectual property. All work created by a Toptaler is the property of the client.

How do we ensure that our IP is protected?

Toptalers are no different from anyone on your team in terms of legal status and their ownership of the product you create. Any non-compete or non-disclosure agreements are made between you and the Toptaler. Toptal does its best to provide forms and legal documents in order to facilitate and streamline these processes. You’re welcome to use your own when entering into an agreement with a Toptal freelancer; however, our legal division will need to review the paperwork first.

Pricing & Payment

How much does Toptal cost?

Because we have freelancers all over the world, we have a lot of flexibility here. Thus, the short answer is: we will work with you to find a price that works for you. Typically, our engagements fall into the following ranges:

  • $1,800 - $3,200+/week per full-time Front-End or Back-End Engineer
  • $1,000 - $1,600+/week per part-time Front-End or Back-End Engineer
  • $1,800 - $3,200+/week per full-time Digital Designer
  • $1,000 - $1,600+/week per part-time Digital Designer
  • $1,200 - $1,800+/week per full-time Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer
  • $600 - $1,000+/week per part-time Quality Assurance (QA) Engineer

How often will I be charged? How are payments and invoices handled?

We typically invoice our clients twice a month, though there is some flexibility here. Invoices are generated with Net 10 terms, so our clients have an opportunity to review the charges prior to processing.

What methods of payment do you accept?

We currently accept all major credit cards, bank accounts (with ABA routing), bank wires, and PayPal.