10 Best Toptal Alternatives for Startups and Small Businesses in 2022

10 Best Toptal Alternatives for Startups in 2022

Toptal is one of the most popular freelancer hiring marketplaces worldwide. But with popularity comes high costs. 

No doubt, the platform has vetted talent, but if you’re a startup, the price to hire them might burn a hole in your pocket. 

In this article, we will talk about why you should consider Toptal alternatives and suggest 10 marketplaces you can use to hire similar talent like Toptal. 

So let’s get started!

5 Reasons Why You Need a Toptal Alternative?

#1. Toptal’s Pricing Model

When it comes to pricing, Toptal is a free-to-use platform. But it takes a huge commission from the client side by marking up freelancer rates.

For example, if a developer’s rate is $40/hour (that’s why the developer has submitted to Toptal), chances are Toptal might quote you a price of $70 or $80 per hour (~100% markup) for the same developer.

#2. Poor Customer Service

Toptal has slow and poor customer service. Yes, we know it’s a bold statement, but we aren’t the ones saying it. Look at the review below given to Toptal by a startup on TrustPilot.

The review has no reply from Toptal yet, which proves the point of poor customer service.

Note: The above review also shows that Toptal isn’t a startup-focused marketplace. It won’t entertain you much if you just have a couple of vacancies.

#3. Developer & Designer Focused Platform

Toptal is known for its talented developers and designers. Both these domains are in demand if you’re a SaaS startup. 

But ask yourself, as a startup, would you go for a freelancer or an in-house full-time employee who excels in software development or graphic design? 

We’d recommend going with the latter.

Many small businesses prefer full-time in-house developers. Why? 

Because the startup can work more closely with them this way. And the employee can give them more time than a freelancer would.

But, you might need freelancers for other roles like data entry, digital marketing, and customer service, none of which Toptal has.  

#4. Strict Demands with No Flexibility

Contracts made by Toptal between a freelancer and a company are strict and rigid. For example, Toptal has a mandatory rule stating that a company must hire a freelancer for either 20 or 40 hours a week. 

What if you want to hire a freelancer for 10 hours? In that case, Toptal isn’t a choice! 

On top of this, a company can’t modify the contract as per their requirements. This means you can’t add or remove any clause set up by Toptal in the contract. 

Lastly, you can’t negotiate rates with freelancers even if you’re willing to shake hands with them for long-term projects.

#5. Tedious Hiring Process

Many companies have complained about the lengthy and tedious hiring process Toptal has. It could take days just to do all the formalities to get a freelancer onboard. 

The review below says it all:

The sad part is that even after spending ten days, the person could not get a candidate on board.

Toptal might have some of the best freelancers connected to their marketplace, but the above reasons clearly indicate that companies aren’t happy with them.

Here are some of the best Total alternatives to get epic customer service, flexibility, and faster hiring.

Best Toptal Alternatives in 2022

#1 Shiny – Fractional Talent Marketplace

To keep their business afloat, most startups look for guidance from an experienced person. But it’s no secret that hiring an experienced executive-level person costs a fortune. 

Well, not anymore.

Shiny’s fractional talent marketplace is the new secret weapon that you can leverage to hire C-suites from 2 to 20 hours a week.

It’s a great asset to save Startups the time and money they invest in picking the right executive talent. 

Why would you spend $150k to $300k a year if you can just hire top-level fractional talent from Shiny at half the cost?


  • No Deposit Upfront: We take no deposit or any fee until you find the right talent for your startup
  • Highly Niched Marketplace: We only focus on providing you with senior-level talent
  • Flexible Pricing: Hire executives for $125/hour or go as high as $600/hour; it all depends on the talent and experience you prefer
  • Tell Us Your Requirements: Book a call with us and tell you what you’re looking for, our team will shortlist the right candidates for you
  • Shortlists: Get 5 ideal matches in 48 hours; view their profile and schedule an interview with whomever you see fit
  • Let Us Take Away the Extra Burden: Shiny will manage the contract signing, invoicing, payments and 1099s 


Startups don’t have to pay any upfront fee or commission to Shiny for hiring fractional talent (except for the talent’s hourly cost, of course). 

We allow payments via Stripe; apart from this, you can also pay us via ACH or credit card. For ACH payments (made via Plaid), the process is quick and easy. 

Note: There’s no processing fee for ACH payments; however, when you pay us via Credit card, we charge a fee of 3% to cover the fee credit card companies charge us.

Pros & Cons


  • A quick and easy method to find fractional executive talent at affordable rates
  • A fast-growing community with 300+ vetted executives on board
  • Has executives from 40+ unique industries like SaaS, FinTech, eCommerce, and many more
  • More than 50% of Shiny’s executives have 16+ years of experience


  • Being a new platform, the marketplace is still growing and has a comparatively small community

What Do Our Customers Say About Us?

Are you finding Shiny too good to be true? If yes, see what our customers say about us!

Hiring an executive-level talent takes months and thousands of dollars. But when you have a marketplace doing it for you, it’s almost like serving executives on a silver platter. 

Shiny is a free-to-use marketplace, so go ahead and sign up for the platform. Try it out for free; who knows, the executive you hire might grow your business from 0 to a million dollars!

#2. Upwork – The World’s Work Marketplace

Upwork is the result of a merger between Elance and oDesk in December 2013. It was named Elance-oDesk during the merger and rebranded to Upwork in 2015.

Since 2016, Upwork has been growing massively and is now considered one of the biggest freelance marketplaces worldwide.


Upwork operates a freelance network of ~18 million with 14 main job categories and several subcategories. 

From WordPress designers to software developers, you can hire anyone from Upwork.


  • Job Offers: Post a job offer according to your requirements and wait for the best talent to apply 
  • Browse Projects: Has several pre-made freelancer projects that you can buy and kick things off immediately
  • Upwork Talent Team: With Upwork’s plus plan, get an assistant who posts jobs, reviews profiles, and brings you the shortlisted candidates
  • Talk to Freelancers: Before selecting any freelancer, talk to them about their availability, pricing, and timings
  • Direct Payment: Companies can hire and pay freelancers on Upwork’s escrow without creating an Upwork account
  • Filtering Talent: Let’s you hire worldwide or country-specific freelancers


Currently, Upwork has three plans to choose from

  • Free
  • Plus – $49.99/month
  • Enterprise – Contact sales

The Enterprise plan is for advanced recruiters who recruit a lot of freelancers.

When you sign up for an Enterprise plan with Upwork, they will give you the proper resources, skill training, and services you need for hiring according to your company’s needs.

As far as the commission is concerned, Upwork doesn’t take any from the client-side. 

But this might change soon as a recent post by Upwork mentioned that they will be closing the subscription-based model and will start charging a flat fee of 5% to every client.


Pros & Cons

  • Has almost all categories of freelancers
  • Fast and secure payments
  • Great customer service
  • Upwork monitors the chat, so you can’t ask the freelancer even for their email id

Upwork is a great Toptal competitor for outsourcing work in any niche quickly and easily. It’s easy to get started with, you can post jobs quickly, and the payments are systematic.

#3. Fiverr – Fast, Easy, & Secure Services

Micha Kaufman and Shai Wininger are the founders of Fiverr. They launched the website in 2010 with a mission to create a two-sided platform to buy and sell digital services. 

The platform went viral, and in just two years of its launch, Fiverr had 1.3 million gigs online (services offered).

Fast-forwarding to 2021, their Q4 revenue stands at $79.8 million with 4.2 million active buyers.


  • Budget-Friendly Marketplace: Find great freelancers for long or short-term for any price point; the prices are not fixed per hour, but are project-based
  • Secure Payment: Only send payments after you’re satisfied with the work delivered
  • Covers Every Single Category: Has 9 major categories and uncountable subcategories to choose a freelancer from
  • Quick Turnaround: Has an extra fast delivery feature where you can hire a freelancer, pay them a tad bit extra, and get the work done in 24 hours
  • Freelancer Information: Get every small detail about the freelancers by looking at the reviews they get, the number of gigs completed, and the bad experiences they’ve had


The platform doesn’t charge a dime for hiring vetted freelancers. But, freelancers pay a fee (20%) for every completed gig.

Pros & Cons

  • Highly flexible with the talent pool and payment ranges, meaning you can hire freelancers charging $5 per project and go all the way up to $700 
  • Has an easy to use interface that makes placing orders simple and fast
  • Flawless customer service
  • Can’t put up a company-specific job posting 

When we talk about the talent pool, Fiverr is a great freelance platform as it has freelancers in every possible domain. 

#4. Turing – Hire Part-Time Remote Developers

In 2017, Jonathan Sidharth and Vijay Krishnan sold their existing business and founded Turing.com

It’s a hiring platform with Silicon Valley level developers trusted by the likes of Pepsi, Dell, Coinbase, and many more.


  • Talent Cloud: Has the first and only Intelligent Talent Cloud that uses AI to source, vet, match, and manage over a million developers worldwide
  • Quick Hiring: The hiring process is highly optimized, so much so that 75% of employees find the right match in 3 to 5 days
  • Hire Experts: Get highly specialized developers in 100+ coding categories
  • Test for Free: Test the freelancer for two weeks, if you don’t like the work, pay nothing
  • Tracking & Analytics: Turing’s dashboard automatically tracks the working hours and keeps you updated 
  • Time Zone Overlap: The AI-Talent Cloud ensures there’s at least a 4-hour overlap between your and the freelancer’s time zone


Turing doesn’t charge any fee or hiring commission. You also get a two-week free trial period to test the freelancer out. You can pay the freelancer’s fee to Turing after the project’s done.

Pros & Cons

  • User-friendly interface and highly skilled developers
  • Saves you time by doing the hiring process for you
  • Not so transparent payment structure

Turning is better than Toptal if you only want to hire developers. It’s comparatively cheaper, quicker, and lets you test freelancers for free.

#5. Hubstaff Talent – A Free to Use Marketplace

Hubstaff Talent is one of the three products Hubstaff offers. It was introduced in 2012 and has seen tremendous growth since then.


  • Job Posting: Post a free job as per your needs, add a team member (HR) to the job post so that they get a notification when someone applies
  • Job Post Sharing: Gives you the ability to share your job post on social media and other job boards
  • Transparent Procedure: Review freelancer profiles and talk to them directly with no middlemen involved
  • Automation: Uses software to get the right match according to the job description 
  • Freelancer Description: Gives important freelancer details like hourly rate, skills, experience, availability, resume, and the language spoken


The platform charges no fee for hiring freelancers.

Pros & Cons

  • Doesn’t take a fee from either side – neither the client nor the freelancer
  • Doesn’t track conversations and takes minimal involvement in the hiring process, giving you full control
  • Limited talent pool to choose from

Hubstaff talent is one of the best free Toptal alternatives. Yes, its freelance talent pool is limited, but what’s the harm in trying it out when it’s free, right?

#6. Flexjobs – Find Remote Freelancers Fast

Flexjobs was founded by Sara Sutton in 2007.

The platform has freelancers spread across 50+ categories, from graphic designing to web development.


  • Unlimited Job Posts: Post 10 or 100 or even 1000 job posts a month, Flexjobs offers unlimited job posts
  • Unlimited Searches: View and shortlist unlimited freelancer resumes for any job category
  • Customize Your Profile: Personalize your profile by adding your Company name, logo, success stories to attract quality freelancers
  • Analytics: The Flexjobs employer dashboard gives you data regarding the pageviews, applicant volume, trends, and much more
  • Customer Service: With any Flexjob plan, get a dedicated customer representative for your company


The marketplace offers three plans for employers to choose from

Pros & Cons

  • The advanced search options have 10+ filters to personalize your searches
  • Has ATS integration to streamline job posting
  • You get an option to increase engagement with several marketing solutions
  • You can’t tap into their freelance talent pool until you pay them

With a talent pool of high-quality freelancers, Flexjob is a freelancer marketplace worth trying out. 

#7. People Per Hour – Find Exceptional Local Talent

People Per Hour is a UK-based company founded in 2017. The company claims to have about 3 million freelancers with 8000+ unique skill sets on its website.


  • Post Projects: Fill out a quick and easy form describing your project, the AI software built by People Per Hour will contact the best freelancers based on the form you filled
  • Hiring Made Easy: Fill out the form, review the shortlisted proposals, select a candidate, & pay a small deposit to start things off
  • Search Freelancers: You can also browse and select freelancers by filtering them by location, skill, and hourly rate
  • Pre-Set Bundles: Select from a pre-set bundle uploaded by a freelancer, describing the type of project they will do for a set rate (starts from £10)
  • Payment: Pay freelancers after you’re fully satisfied with the work via People Per Hour account; you can even top up your account with some balance for faster payments


You have to pay a service fee (£0.6 + 10%) every time you hire a freelancer via People Per Hour.

Pros & Cons

  • Has a project stream (dashboard) where you can track and pay freelancers with ease
  • If you’re a UK-based business, you can get excellent local talents on People Per Hour
  • Payments are securely held in escrow until the work’s done 
  • High fees compared to competitors

People Per Hour is great if you’re looking for talent in the UK. It has some amazing UK-based freelancers who will get your work done flawlessly.

#8. Gun.io – Find World-Class Tech Talent

Gun.io is a Tennessee-based company founded in 2012.

The marketplace has more than 10,000 software developers on its platform. Like Turing, Gun.io is also a marketplace for software developers.

Note: The platform isn’t for a low-paying startup. The freelancers at Gun.io charge anywhere between $75-150 per hour. That’s expensive.  


  • Refined Freelancers: The platform conducts thorough interviews before listing any freelancer on its marketplace
  • Management: Gun.io manages contract signings, hour tracking, and payments for you
  • Freelancer Information: See freelancer’s endorsements and reviews, a short video intro, and compare freelancers to see which one is the better for your startup


Gun.io is a free platform if you hire freelancers who charge per hour. However, if you want to hire a full-time employee, the platform takes a 15% placement fee.

Pros & Cons

  • Top-notch quality software developers
  • Great customer service and overall user experience
  • Has an option to hire a full-time employee
  • You have to post the job, review, and shortlist a freelancer all on your own, manually

If you want a Toptal level marketplace where you can get brilliant software developers, Gun.io can be a great choice.

#9. Gigster – Get a Tech Team for All Your Software Development Needs

Gigster is an Austin, Texas-based developer provider company with a tight-knit group of freelancers.

It’s not for hiring freelancers individually but a team that will have project/product managers, designers, and programmers in it.

It has a small but skilled group of over 1000 freelancers; the Gigster team handpicks these freelancers and sends them an invite to join the team.


  • Does All the Hiring: Gigster assembles a team for you from the top tech companies and startups 
  • Hands-Free Management: After your team’s ready, you don’t need to worry about anything, every team has a project manager who does all the heavy lifting
  • Reports & Analysis: You can track the health and progress of your projects by examining the KPIs like milestones achieved, bugs in the project (if any), blockers, and more
  • Ownership & Licensing: Gigster gives you complete ownership of the software they build for you
  • Training: Get code documentation and all other information needed to train your internal team for the software built


Gigster doesn’t charge clients any commissions or extra fees other than the project cost, of course. 

Pros & Cons

  • The platform believes in quality over quantity
  • The project manager (PM) handles everything for you
  • Can’t outsource a project to Gigster if the value is < $300k

If you’re looking for a freelancer that might modify, update, or tweak your codes and make them great, then Gigster isn’t for you. The platform is meant for newly launched SaaS startups whose aim is to make million-dollar software.

#10. CloudDevs – Hire the Best Latin American Software Engineers 

CloudDevs is a comparatively new freelancer marketplace (founded in 2016) that focuses on remote Latin American developers.

They have a pool of 8000+ vetted freelance developers who have completed more than $15 million worth of projects to date.


  • Easy Hiring Process: Tell CloudDevs the primary, secondary, and soft skills you’re looking for in a freelancer and their consultant will take it from there
  • Personalize Shortlists: Get a freelancer or team who shares your local timezone and has worked on a similar project or niche before
  • Risk-Free Trial Process: ColudDevs adds you and the shortlisted talent on Slack; you can then try them out for free for 14 days
  • Fluent English: CloudDevs not only tests their freelancers as a developer, with an intense vetting process, they make sure that every freelancer in their talent pool is fluent in English as well


CloudDevs is very transparent with its fee structure. They charge a flat fee of $45-70/ per hour, depending on the project’s complexity 

Pros & Cons

  • Rigorous screening process for freelancers, confirming quality developers
  • Lower developer hourly rates when compared to Toptal (starts at $80/hour)
  • Quick finds and speedy delivery
  • Sometimes customer support can take their own sweet time getting back to you

If you’re looking for an affordable Toptal alternative, CloudDevs is the one you should go with. The platform gives you the same level of developers at half the rate Toptal does.

Wrapping Up

If your entrepreneur mind is wondering, what’s the best Toptal alternative? The answer is – it depends. 

It depends on what kind of talent you want for your startup. 

toptal comparision table

Here’s a table that might help you decide the right marketplace for you and your startup:

Choose the one that you like, and try it out. 

Happy hunting! 🙂