Frequently Asked Questions

Finding quality talent is one of the most significant problems companies face today. Learn how Toptal’s unique solution addresses these problems by reading answers to some of our most frequently asked questions below.


Are there any upfront recruiting or contractual costs?

We require an initial deposit of $500 that will be applied as a credit to your first invoice once you make a hire. If you decide not to move forward, your deposit will be refunded completely.

Is it really no-risk?

Yes. All of our engagements begin with a trial period of up to two weeks. This means that you have ample time to ensure the engagement will be successful. 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 no-risk trial.

What happens if I’m not satisfied with a Toptal expert?

We allow our clients to begin a trial period with up to five freelancers per position. While we rigorously screen all applicants to ensure talent and intelligence, we understand that not every person will be a perfect “cultural” fit for every company. 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 and comfortable.

What does Toptal offer that comparable services do not?

It has become incredibly difficult to find reliable engineers, designers, and other specialized talent due to the lack of sufficient screening. At Toptal, we leverage smart infrastructure and a rigorous screening process to curate the best talent the world has to offer. With a typical Toptal engagement, we’ll introduce you to candidates within 24 hours, and 90% of our clients hire the first candidate we introduce.

These aren’t just any candidates either. At Toptal, we thoroughly screen our freelancers (please see “Testing & Screening” below) to ensure we only supply experts of the absolute highest caliber. Of the more than 100,000 people who apply to Toptal each year, we accept fewer than 3%. To get matched with this talent, you’ll work with domain experts to hand-select the best match, never generalized recruiters or HR reps.

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 domain-specific 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 experts meet all of our requirements?

In a nutshell, we screen for language mastery, personality, and domain-specific knowledge and skills. Approximately 3% of applicants pass the screening process. For developers, we review sample code, algorithmic skills, and CS fundamentals; for designers, we conduct in-depth portfolio reviews, check design fundamentals, and test design skills in real-time; for finance experts, we review past project experience, sample outputs, business analysis skills, and consulting fundamentals. We match all candidates with senior Toptal domain experts for each and every interview, and all applicants complete a test project to demonstrate live proficiency with a “real” project.


Where are your freelancers located?

While we don’t have any geographic preference, we have Toptalers in over 100 countries, and 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 Toptal expert before we feel confident enough to admit them to our network and introduce them to 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 talent is 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 employees outside of the Toptal network?

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 other colleagues they’ll be placed with, we require every Toptal expert to work with modern equipment and tools.

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?

Toptal enters into talent agreements with every member of the talent network. Through these agreements, Toptal obtains exclusive ownership of the work created by the Toptal talent that works with you. We then provide you with the intellectual property for the work that the Toptal talent creates for you under our client agreement. This clean, simple, pass-through arrangement has worked well for our clients for many years.

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 for developers and designers fall into the following ranges:

  • Hourly: $60-$95+/hour
  • Part-time: $1000-$1600+/week
  • Full-time: $2000-$3200+/week

For finance, our engagements typically fall into these ranges:

  • Hourly: $100-$200+/hour
  • Part-time: $1600-$3200+/week
  • Full-time: $3200-$6400+/week

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.