Dedicated Teams

What’s Best for Hiring Developers? Toptal vs Upwork vs YouTeam

Let’s consider the case when you look for a developer to work on a particular project or feature. Hiring a freelance developer is a good option. So where to go to look for one?

There are between 5 and 7 million freelance developers in the US only, so no shortage of options. There are also a number of platforms where you can hire freelancers. Toptal, Upwork, and YouTeam are the most popular marketplaces for hiring and each platform has its advantages, shortcomings, and nuances.

I understand how difficult it is to decide on a candidate with whom you would like to work. We at Altigee have experience in hiring engineers and building engineering teams, so I decided to share our notes and tips about platforms like Upwork, Toptal, and YouTeam.

In this article, you’ll learn about the difference between three popular platforms for hiring freelancers. This will help you decide which website is best for your needs.


Upwork, formerly known as Odesk, is a popular site among freelance web and mobile app developers and is suitable for many other types of freelance services. Upwork works globally. It has a worldwide network of qualified freelancers and agencies to help you grow your business. In addition, you can communicate directly with your candidates and easily share files via messages.

What to consider when you choose Upwork

Finding a freelancer can be done in several ways. You can place a note about the project and freelancers who see it and are interested, will offer their services. To know more about the freelancer, you can find his/her personal page, take a look at the projects and see the reviews of other members about the candidate. You can also browse Upwork's list of predefined scope projects and buy ones that fit your goals. You can also take advantage of the talent search option, which finds talents according to your needs.

This marketplace tries to guide you by rewarding “accomplishments” to freelancers on their network. Freelancers who are relatively new but have a good success rate get achievements like “Rising Talent.” Individuals who have been on the platform for a while and have a good rating can also receive a status such as “Top-Rated”. This will help you make a choice.

Upwork features

You can find many jobs and talents on Upwork. The platform offers:

Upwork provides more talent than other freelance sites.

You don't need to pay to start working on the site and place a vacancy. Upwork is totally free to join. Here you can make payment for a project or choose the Upwork hourly rate. Then you’ll pay a freelancer for every hour.

However, when paying for a freelance job, you settle a commission of 3% from the Upwork fixed price. If you want detailed recruiting tools, you will need to upgrade your account and pay a monthly Upwork fee.

Upwork is intuitive to use. The dashboard is very handy for finding, hiring, and managing freelancers. You don't have to wait 48 hours to interact with a candidate, it can happen in a matter of minutes.

Upwork NDA opportunities. As a client, you can ask the freelancer to sign an external nondisclosure agreement or NDA from Upwork. According to it, the freelancer agrees to maintain the confidentiality of all information received within the framework of the project, and vice versa. Upon completion of the project or at your request, the freelancer does not reserve any rights to use it and the project becomes your property.

Upwork disadvantages


Toptal is a platform similar to Upwork, known for interacting only with highly regarded experts. In order to get on the list of freelancers, he/she needs to pass several tests and solve various problems. According to Toptal, the site hosts the top 3% of developers. The gig website offers experts in all fields, from developers to project managers, and works with each user to match the talent they need.

What to consider when you choose Toptal

To hire developers, Toptal freelance entering is not so simple. The platform offers them a 5-step recruitment test. To begin with, a specialist needs to pass a language and personality test. Then the programmer is asked to execute a test project. If a specialist receives an assessment below 60% for the work performed, he/she cannot offer any services. This is a natural selection of developers and managers.

To hire a programmer for your company, you should first speak with one of Toptal's industry experts. Then, based on your needs and tasks, a freelancer will be selected for you to interact with. Payment takes place only after they have completed your project, and you are satisfied. If there is a misunderstanding, you can always ask for another freelancer. You can also pay for the hourly work if the project doesn't take long.

Toptal features

Because of the complex system of developers selection, the hiring service mainly employs senior-level programmers (high-level pros). Toptal freelancers have experience in:

Topal provides access to the best talent. The platform thoroughly vets freelancers to ensure they are fluent in English, have a pleasant disposition, and have knowledge and skills in their fields.

Independent employees can adapt to specific collaboration platforms and project management tools.

Toptal freelancers work from different locations around the world. They can work during the hours set by the employer, so the existing workflow is not disrupted.

Companies can work with a freelancer for free for a trial period of up to two weeks.

Toptal disadvantages


YouTeam is characterized as the world's first market for increasing engineering staff. The service allows active technology companies to increase their development, instantly adding full-time contract engineers to the team. The network includes more than 20,000 proven engineers in Europe and Latin America.

What to consider when you choose YouTeam

The difference between YouTeam and other platforms like Upwork and Toptal is that here you may find developers who are not really freelancers. This is a great platform for outstaffing. Here you can hire a specialist or a whole team who work on a permanent basis in local software agencies across South America and Eastern Europe.

It's not easy for a development team to get onto the platform. It requires the company has at least 20 developers. In addition, the selection criteria are as high as on Toptal. That is, they choose one of the best specialists on the platform.

According to YouTeam, the pricing is individual for each client. It is compiled depending on the complexity of the project and the duration of the work done. The average basic hourly rate for a mid-level software engineer in Eastern Europe may be from $30-40 per hour; in Latin America from $30- $47 per hour.

Comparative table of Toptal, Upwork, and YouTeam technical features
Comparative table of TopTal, Upwork, and YouTeam technical features

YouTeam features

YouTeam is the world's first market to increase engineering staff.

Strictly check the candidates that are available on the platform.

All developers work in engineering or outsourcing companies, and they will not move on to other projects until the field is completed with you.

Recruitment is done for you: after you leave the requirements of the project, the YouTeam specialist scans your unique database of available talents and sends you a resume in less than 48 hours.

The development team is dedicated only to your project. Here are mid-to-high-level developers working full-time in software development companies.

The platform is free, you only pay for the work done by the developer or the development team.

YouTeam disadvantages

Which platform to choose

According to YouTeam, the average hourly rate of a developer on hiring platforms in 2021 across three recruitment portals: Upwork, TopTal, and YouTeam in web development: from $15 to $150/per hour on Upwork, from $17 to $113/per hour on Toptal, from $23 to $150/per hour on YouTeam.

Average hourly rate of a developer on TopTal, Upwork, YouTeam in 2021
Average hourly rate of a developer on TopTal, Upwork, YouTeam in 2021


Pros: A larger talent pool to choose from, a single control panel, a wide price range, a well-thought-out payment security infrastructure.

Cons: Direct communication with candidates, extra functions are paid, indirect communication with the support service.


Pros: Fast talent selection, authentic 5-week platform candidate selection process, only the best freelancers.

Cons: Limited talent pool, $500 start-up fee, high rate of developers and designers.


Pros: Qualitative verification of candidates, interaction with candidates for long-term projects, a platform free for registration, selection of candidates for you.

Cons: Unstructured prices, not for short-term projects, the anonymity of candidates.


The biggest takeaway from the ‘Upwork vs Toplal vs YouTeam’ question is that ‘it all depends on your requirements. The better your understanding of your needs, the easier it is to make a choice from any general freelance marketplace.

Short Upwork review showed that hiring a freelancer from the platform is a good choice for a simple, short-term project. Hiring a specialist from YouTeam and TopTal is a good choice for a long-term project.
If you still have some doubts about the platform that matches you better, let's get in touch, and we will conduct an individual analysis of your business and select the ideal candidate/candidates for you on the right platform. Hope our guide helped you in the evaluation process.


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Altigee helps startups and tech companies build remote engineering teams or extend their existing teams with senior tech talent. For the past 4 years, we helped our clients to hire 200+ engineers.

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