FAQ — frequently asked questions
Testing & Screening
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 developer?
- What happens if a Toptal engineer is unavailable for the days or times he is scheduled to work with me?
- Do you do project management or work on a per-project basis?
- Do you supply graphic designers and/or product managers as well?
- Can I hire a full-time worker from Toptal and bring him into my company?
- Do you offer services such as screening, vetting, and testing to help us hire engineers?
- Is there any standard equipment Toptal developers are required to have?
Pricing & Payment
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 the Toptal developer has time to prove to you that he is 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 developer out of our own pocket). From there, we can either part ways, or we can provide you with another developer 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 developer?
We allow our clients to try up to five developers per position. While all of our developers are extraordinarily talented and intelligent, we understand that not every developer 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 developers 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 engineering performance of resources obtained through the myriad of talent providers. It’s become incredibly difficult to find reliable workers through these services due to the lack of sufficient screening.
At Toptal, we thoroughly screen our developers (please see “Testing & Screening” below) to ensure we only supply engineers of the absolute highest caliber. To make an analogy, platforms like Elance 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 of your developers speak fluent English?
Yes - each and every one of them. All of our developers write and speak English fluently. In fact, before we invite candidates to tackle our rigorous timed algorithm test (let alone review sample code or partner them individually with in-network engineers for paired projects) we conduct lengthy interviews to ensure they are proficient in English and have personalities well-suited to working with western development teams.
How exactly do you screen candidates to be sure your engineers fit all of our requirements?
In a nutshell, we screen for language mastery, personality, and technical know-how. We review sample code, algorithmic skills, CS fundamentals, and we match candidates with senior Toptal engineers for multiple technical interviews and a paired partnership project to demonstrate live proficiency with a “real” project.
Where are your developers located?
While we don’t have any geographic preference, most of our engineers are physically located in North/Central/South America and Europe.
Where do Toptal developers work?
The vast majority of our engineers work from their homes or co-working spaces.
Can I bring Toptal engineers on-site?
In practice, there have only been a few instances where clients have felt it absolutely necessary to bring a resource 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 developer?
It takes us one to three weeks to locate, fully screen, and work with every engineer 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 him until we are 100% confident in his abilities. Toptal's stringent screening process is the most important reason we’re able to guarantee that our engineers are of the absolute highest caliber.
What happens if a Toptal engineer is unavailable for the days or times he 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 engineers. However, in the extremely unlikely circumstance that such a situation arises, Toptal will credit back the time billed to the client.
Do you do project management or work on a per-project basis?
No. Through our vetting process we ensure our engineers have comprehensive technology, product knowledge, and the ability to take an abstract idea and return with a tangible deliverables. This said, not all engineers will have the ability to single-handedly build a product. We recommend discussing this issue with the engineer before you commence your working relationship to ensure everyone is on the same page regarding expectations.
Additionally, because no one ever knows exactly how long a project will last, our weekly engagement model allows for the flexibility of using a resource as long or as short as is necessary for your team to complete the project at-hand.
Do you supply graphic designers and/or product managers as well?
No – just engineers. Toptal focuses all of its effort and resources on supplying the most exceptional full- and part-time engineering talent. We concentrate on this task singularly to ensure that we provide our clients with only the best developers.
Can I hire a full-time worker from Toptal and bring him 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 developers are required to have?
In order for our developers to stay on the same page as the peer developers they’ll be placed with, we require they work with modern equipment. If we feel a developer’s equipment isn’t quite up to par, we’ll supply him with a new laptop and peripherals.
Who owns the legal rights to technology developed by a Toptal engineer?
The client. Toptal is in the business of supplying engineers of the highest caliber, not collecting intellectual property. All development done by a Toptal engineer is the property of the client.
How do we ensure that our IP is protected?
A Toptal developer is no different from any developer on your team in terms of legal status and their ownership of the technology you create. Any non compete or non disclosure agreements are made between you and the developer. 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 engineer; however, our legal division will need to review the paperwork first.
Pricing & Payment
How much does Toptal cost?
Because we have developers 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
- $1,200 - $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.