Hire the top 3% of freelance talent.

Toptal is an exclusive, global network of the top 3% of freelance talent, empowering companies to accelerate, adapt, and scale. We are problem solvers who value integrity and connect progressive organizations to the talent economy. 

Through its private network, Toptal can rapidly match top quality talent for critical development, design, and finance projects, usually within 24 hours. 

We craft individually tailored solutions and partner with clients on everything from large-scale application delivery with full teams to smaller projects supported by specialized experts.

Toptal clients include Airbnb, J.P. Morgan, Zendesk, Artsy, IDEO, Pfizer, and thousands more.

 
$25,000+
 
$100 - $149 / hr
 
1,000 - 9,999
 Founded
2010
Show all +
San Francisco, CA
headquarters
  • Toptal
    548 Market St #36879
    San Francisco, CA 94104
    United States
    888.604.3188

Focus

Service lines
  • Mobile app development
  • Web development
  • Custom Software Development
Client focus
  • Small business (<$10M)
  • Midmarket ($10M - $1B)
  • Enterprise (>$1B)
Industry focus
  • Arts, entertainment & music
  • Business services
  • Consumer products & services
Mobile platforms
Mobile focus
Frameworks and CMS
Programming & scripting
Ecommerce systems
Application platform

Portfolio

Key clients: 

Airbnb, J.P. Morgan, Zendesk, Artsy, IDEO, Pfizer

Reviews

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Web Dev & Support for Cloud Solutions Company

"We have a high degree of trust and I can rely on their expertise."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
4.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
 
June 2017 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Toptal is the go-to development partner, currently providing support. They’ve mostly done design and development work, and provided a DevOps expert to quickly fix a problem that another vendor couldn’t.

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Calgary, Canada
Doug MacKay
CEO, Sidekick
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Toptal fixed the problem within two hours of being hired, getting the project up and running and ready to launch. They used better technologies, delivered quickly, and provided a more affordable rate. Their prescreening process is exceptionally useful for finding the right talent and saving time.

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

I’m the CEO of Sidekick, a cloud marketplace that brings business people together to find the right cloud solutions and the local expertise to make them work. The discovery of cloud solutions is currently fraught with bias and lacks transparency, but Sidekick makes it easier and streamlines lead generation.

As a one-person startup, Sidekick needed to get up and running and connect to a global business market that exceeds $68 billion in research.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Toptal?

The challenge was to find the best way to execute the concept and turn this dream into reality. While we already had expertise in design and user experience, we lacked true development skills and needed to find a partner to create our website in the shortest amount of time possible.

I’d been working with a different agency and had a deployment problem—the database was not working correctly with the frontend. I needed an Amazon Web Services DevOps expert that could quickly get in, diagnose my problem, and solve it.

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

This was my third engagement with Toptal, so I already knew they were reliable. They set me up with a DevOps specialist that handled my delivery environment, database architecture, containerization, deployment, and application development.

It’s truly a marvel to see such a talented person operate so effectively. They started the job 20 minutes after I interviewed them and about two hours later, they had already figured out what the problem was and resolved the issue.

Since then, that person has transitioned from handling immediate problem troubleshooting to being my go-to developer, integrating entirely within my organization. We have a high degree of trust and I can rely on their expertise for advice and for delivering per our requirements.

What is the team dynamic?

We have periodic phone calls with the account representative in Bolivia. I’ve also had ongoing interactions with various inside sales groups that want to make sure I’m happy with what I’m getting.

Toptal has multiple locations around the world, so they respond quickly to emails, Skype calls, and Google Hangouts messages. I’ve also integrated their developer directly into my Slack channel, so we have conversations on a daily basis.

How did you come to work with Toptal?

I initially met one of their account reps at a BoxWorks trade show two years ago. I wasn’t sold on Toptal then because I didn’t need them at the time, but when I got to the point of needing online expertise, they were the ones I contacted.

Soon after my initial outreach, the account manager got in touch with me to discover my needs and help get me through their funnel so I could begin the project. This is where Toptal excels. Other providers don't work this way and rely on an application interface to handle the experience.

While they’re probably more expensive than their competitors, they have definitely reduced the hiring burden and time by filtering out unsuitable candidates and engaging with me on a personal basis.

​​​​​​How much have you invested with them?

The total cost of their work has been $20,000 so far.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with Toptal in June 2017, and have an ongoing relationship for support.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

What evidence can you share that demonstrates the impact of the engagement?

When I initiated the engagement with Toptal, the project was at a standstill. I had offshore groups in India and Belarus developing my software solution, but because of the problems I was experiencing, I was essentially out of business.

The person I hired through them got my business running again to the point of us being ready to launch the product. They got me back on schedule, put a better technology in place, and worked 10 times faster than the previous group I’d used, at a quarter of the cost. The result: Sidekick launches this week and we're anticipating revenue and profit within 3 months. This couldn't have happened without Toptal.

Other vendors tend to suck up valuable time "getting up to speed" with the project, which results in merely wasted hours and cash burn. Toptal's process reduces your project risk.

What did you find most impressive about them?

I’ve used other talent-sourcing platforms like Upwork and none had the personal touch of getting on the phone with the customer to figure out what they need. Toptal does a lot of work in prescreening talent so that my time as a customer won’t be wasted trying to source people who fit.

Typically, in the engagements I’ve had with Toptal, the people they’ve suggested already fit 90% of my criteria, which has reduced my levels of stress and risk. Overall, I have a higher degree of confidence in their pool of talent.

I've used Toptal repeatedly, from design to development and also financial advice. Each engagement has been met with a positive can-do attitude by professionals around the globe who are intent on the success of Sidekick. I have found that spirit to be unique.

Are there any areas they could improve?

Because they do preselection work, they’re a bit more expensive than competitors in terms of price-per-unit. Also, even though Toptal has a lot of talent, their own website isn’t as functionally attractive compared to the web interfaces their competitors have for creating or managing a customer relationship.

Do you have any advice for future clients of theirs?

If you're looking for external freelance talent or small teams to hire, Toptal is an excellent source, but you need to be prepared for customer engagement. They will certainly furnish talented people, but without an accurate scope, onboarding processes, and security or governance rules, they won’t be positioned to be the most advantageous choice. As a client, you have to be willing to be the project manager and directly engage with the team on an ongoing basis.

5.0
Overall Score I’m a returning customer and consider Toptal to be a key partner in the development of Sidekick.
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    I would have liked the project to be completed sooner, but it's still within acceptable timeframes.
  • 4.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Pricing and timely delivery can always be improved, so I’m reluctant to give a perfect score. Toptal is a premium, and while I enjoy them, I see savings elsewhere.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    The work has been communicated well, and is far better than I had hoped for.
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I wouldn't waste my time on other companies promising better rates or "up and coming" talent.

Ongoing Freelance Service for Ad Tech Firm

"[They're] able to find freelancers quickly and effectively for specific skill sets and with high levels of mastery."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
3.5
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
 
Jun. 2014 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Toptal supplies seasoned engineers based on project demand. Engagements have required experienced Scala, Apache Solr, and Angular.js developers, who help improve a flagship solution.  

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Boston, Massachusetts
Co-Founder, MarketMuse
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Unexpected resource turnover is rare. Assigned developers demonstrate superior proficiency and reliability, but all resources must be confirmed within a 1–2 week trial period, which isn't always sufficient testing time for proposed candidates. This is a major area for improvement. 

BACKGROUND

Introduce your business and what you do there.

We develop machine learning and artificial intelligence tools for web content marketers. I am a co-founder of the company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What challenge were you trying to address with Toptal?

We work with very advanced systems, and needed some senior development help, specifically for Scala development using the Play Framework, as well as Apache Solr. On the UI side, we needed AngularJS. These were very specific requirements and we had to ensure any assigned resources were well versed in these technologies. The success of the engagement depended on it. 

SOLUTION

What was the scope of their involvement?

The type of work varied, with Toptal working on everything from bug fixes to new feature development, DevOps work setting up Solr clusters, UI feature development, and product management.

Toptal assigned five developers over the course of our project, with the typical team size being 1–2 people. We managed developers directly and worked with them on a freelance basis.

How did you come to work with Toptal?

One of the people I was working with suggested Toptal as a source of great developers. We tried a number of other channels, including face-to-face networking, but Toptal worked out the best for that class of developer.

How much have you invested with Toptal?

The cost of Toptal's work has been around $100,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with Toptal in mid-2014. We have an ongoing project using two of Toptal's resources.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any evidence that would demonstrate the productivity, quality of work, or the impact of the engagement?

Toptal is extremely efficient, and for the most part, has provided great developers right off the bat. We've had turnover in the case of one resource that didn't work out well for us, but 3–4 of our best developers have come from Toptal, which is impressive.

How did Toptal perform from a project management standpoint?

Toptal made it easy to work with the team. If there was ever anything wrong, it was fixed quickly. When I first reached out to Toptal, I was assigned a recruiter who remained with us for the whole period. I can email that person whenever I have a question, and from time to time, one of Toptal's owners will also check in. For the day-to-day activity, we only deal with the developers.

Toptal has internal tools developed by their team. We can enter any job requests into that system, and also use the scheduling and workflow tools provided.

What did you find most impressive about Toptal?

I've been most impressed by Toptal's hit rate in terms of developer quality. I haven't worked through another agency, but Toptal is able to find freelancers quickly and effectively for specific skill sets and high levels of mastery.

Are there any areas Toptal could improve?

If a developer doesn't work out within the initial 2–week trial period, Toptal will refund us and repeat the process until we've found a fit. The problem is that 1–2 weeks is not enough time to evaluate a developer. There seems to be a lot of pressure in getting us to buy a service, and it has led to some wasted money. This is the only area of improvement regarding Toptal.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 3.5 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    The biggest challenge in working with top talent is that it's very expensive. At times, the developers may not be worth the money. The good developers found through Toptal have been worth the money, so it's a gamble.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Managed Project Team For Multinational Technology Firm

"[W]e've appreciated Toptal's quality of service and attitude towards problems."

Quality: 
4.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
4.5
The Project
 
$50,000 to $199,999
Project summary: 

Toptal provided design resources to help build a web app for a telecom company. The team included a project manager, one user interface designer, and one user experience designer.

The Reviewer
 
10,001+ Employees
 
Shenzhen, China
SVP, International Products & Operations
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Toptal's project manager was able to quickly allocate designers to the project, which was then completed within an aggressive two-month timeline and limited budget. The team displayed technical expertise, a proactive project approach, and excellent customer service.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

Our company has developed a mobile internet web application.

What is your position?

I am the Vice President of Products in the company. I manage product development.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Toptal?

We are a Chinese company, but our product is aimed at users outside of China. We wanted to find a non-local company that would manage UI and UX design for us, bringing a more diverse experience and new ideas to the product development.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement.

We've worked on only one project with Toptal. We could work by hiring freelancers from their website, but we were also able to hire a project manager from Toptal's network. That person would then help us find the right designers. This was our approach because we wanted the project to run as smoothly as possible. Our manager helped us identify 2 designers, one for UI and one for UX. Finding the right resources through Toptal's website by ourselves would have taken more time, as it would have meant having individual interviews with them. In total, we've worked with one project manager and 2 designers from Toptal.

How did you come to work with Toptal?

We researched numerous companies through the internet and found Toptal. We had used a freelancer in the initial stages of the project in order to experiment on our product with minimal cost.

What is the status of this engagement?

We started working with Toptal 2 months ago. The project took 6 weeks to finish.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

In general, I was satisfied with Toptal. Our project was complex, but they were able to finish the job within 6 weeks. One of Toptal's designers delivered a quality job, but the other was only so-so. This is to be expected when dealing with multiple freelancers. Taking into account the time span, the money spent, and the results we've received, we are pleased.

How did Toptal perform from a project management standpoint?

Toptal's project manager was able to find the right persons within a short period of time. There was a lack of documentation on their website in regards to project management. We would have appreciated more information about their approach, before engaging with designers. There were some misunderstandings with Toptal's project management team in the beginning as a result, but we did overcome this.

What distinguishes Toptal from other providers?

Toptal is very aggressive and fast to respond when engaging with customers. As a company, we've appreciated Toptal's quality of service and attitude towards problems.

Is there anything Toptal could have improved or done differently?

We've worked through 2-week Agile sprints over the course of 6 weeks. Toptal had to remain aligned with our targets, so we were given a very short approval time for the work done. I understand that there was great pressure to move forward, but there sometimes wasn't enough time to verify all the work done by Toptal. They could develop a project management method by which we'd have more time for this.

4.0
Overall Score I would say it’s been positive, overall.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    We would have wanted Toptal's pricing system to be more transparent to us.
  • 4.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    Toptal was the first company of this kind we've used, so we have no real term of comparison, but there is some room for improvement in their quality.
  • 4.5 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I encourage people to try their services.

Web Development For Start-up Marketplace

"It was very helpful to have somebody that we felt comfortable talking to and trusted."

Quality: 
3.0
Schedule: 
2.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
3.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
Project summary: 

Using Ruby, Toptal built a web platform for a consumer marketplace. The project involved agile front- and back-end development, UI/UX design, and quality assurance. 

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
Co-Founder, Start-Up Marketplace
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The platform has received positive feedback from test users for its visual appeal and functionality. Toptal's project manager clearly explained projects' scope and complexity, but gave unclear budget estimates. The team's diverse talent pool made them more affordable than other options. 

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

My company is a start-up, peer-to-peer marketplace where users can rent or buy things from each other.

What is your position?

I am one of the co-owners.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Toptal?

My partner and I do not have the appropriate development knowledge, so we were looking for someone who could bring our idea to fruition. We were having trouble realizing what exactly we needed and were having trouble with all of the technological terminology. Once we came across Toptal, they told us what type of team they could assemble, which made us more confident that we would have the right people onboard.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement in detail.

Toptal gave us a project manager who helped manage the timeline and scope of the project. They also staffed a front-end developer, a back-end developer, UI [user interface] designer, and a QA [quality assurance] resource. Again, I don't think we would have known to get all those people, much less been able to afford them had we hired them ourselves. We had looked at a base site that was coded in Ruby, so we knew we needed an expert in that area.

We used an agile development style, which allowed us to understand the requirements of the site and then build what we thought was best, based on the developers' feedback. We had many questions about shipping integration and were able to refine what we were looking for in the site in time. However, though we liked the agile framework, the process we used to move through the project was a little clunky. I think this is because the team structure was relatively new to the Toptal team, and the manager hadn't worked on a project similar to ours before.

They didn't get to see our RFP [request for proposal] until after we went through contract negotiations, so I don't think they ever really saw the full scope of what we wanted. Once we got past the early stage, we were able to start the development. There were many people in many different time zones, which we had to be cognizant of. We had morning calls where they would give us an update on what they had done since the last call, and then we were supposed to validate and test the new functionality as they delivered it.

How did you come to work with Toptal?

I was searching for developers in May of 2015 and came across Toptal. One of their representatives contacted me, and we discussed their previous work and their capabilities. After that conversation, we moved forward with them.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

We were originally quoted around $30,000, but then that increased to around $48,000 at one point in the project. We finally aligned on $42,500, but that was a challenging negotiation point.

What is the status of this engagement?

We have completed the work.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

I can't give any metrics at this point because our engagement went about twice as long as we originally estimated, which set us back on some other things. However, we did open it up to some folks for testing to find any kinks that needed to be worked out. So far, the responses from that group have been very good. We've been getting a lot of positive feedback about the look and the capabilities of the site.

How did Toptal perform from a project management standpoint?

From a project management perspective, it was very helpful to have someone who could effectively communicate the thoughts of my partner and me to the developers and vice versa. He helped bridge the gap between our knowledge bases, especially when it came to implementing specific features. A couple of times, there were instances where we didn't understand the complexity or cost behind a function that we were looking for, such as a search bar. Our project manager did a great job of managing that communication.

Something that was a bit more difficult was the timeline. My business partner and I work full time, so we had a limited window in the early morning that we could speak to the Toptal team. As time went on, there were certain things that we expected to be done between conversations that weren't. It would have been nice to have someone verify that things were done before our calls happened. It was supposed to be a six-week project, but ended up being about 12. It definitely became more stressful for us the longer the project went on.

What distinguishes Toptal from other providers?

Having that communication bridge was necessary. I was glad to have a resource where I could give my perspective and resolve problems rather than having the whole project blow up. Had we not gone through Toptal, we would have only worked with freelancers, and I'm sure we would have had much less recourse. The bridge was also useful from a knowledge perspective. It was very helpful to have somebody that we felt comfortable talking to and trusted to communicate our ideas.

Another positive thing was having an extensive team with people both inside and outside the United States. We wouldn't have been able to afford that many people from the U.S. on our own. We also felt better about having non-U.S.-based resources in the mix because we had such a large group.

Is there anything Toptal could have improved or done differently?

On the front end, they should refine who their target customer for a product like this is. The beginning stages were quite difficult because I didn't know them, and we had a rough contract negotiation. Had they seen our RFP [request for proposal] from the beginning, that would've allowed them to understand the full scope of what we were trying to accomplish and probably would have stopped them from exceeding their not-to-exceed pricing quote. We actually went almost 50 percent above what we originally wanted to spend.

They ended up switching project managers later in the project, and he was very open about the pressure he was getting from upper management to hurry up and finish. After hearing that, we lost confidence in the quality of the work. I'm not sure if the size of our project was the best for them. If the estimating piece had gone smoother in the beginning, I think the whole process would have been more successful. Even now, after we've finished they haven't reached out. It would have been nice to have some support once the project was completed.

3.0
Overall Score
  • 2.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They went double the time.
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    Understanding what it was going to take, I think they did us right as far as holding to the price that they said they would hold once that piece of the negotiation was all said and d For us, I think we did get a very good deal for what was delivered.
  • 3.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
    We're happy with the product so far, but I have an issue with the delivery of the service, so I'll go in the middle.
  • 3.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Full-stack Development For Business Services Firm

"He took the time to explain things in ways that we could easily understand."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
Confidential
Project summary: 

Toptal built an application for a marketing research organization. The project included front-end design, back-end development systems integration, and database construction. 

The Reviewer
 
1-10 Employees
 
Lisbon, Portugal
Vice President of Sales & Development, Business Services Firm
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

The application is modern, functional, and intuitive. It rarely presents issues or receives support requests. Toptal's developer applied a thorough knowledge of design principles and development standards, took the time to clarify complex concepts, and thoroughly documented the entire process.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

We provide market research - specifically sales and marketing data to exporters to China. We work mostly in the wine and spirits industry. We provide an online platform where they can log in and see all the partners that they could work with within their industry vertical or product/service category and see monthly trade statistics specific to China. 

What is your position?

I’m the vice president of sales and development and also a co-founder.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Toptal?

We’ve been doing consulting in this area for a long time, nearly six years. We then decided to transition to a completely online platform because we thought our customers wanted that. At that point, we reached out to some development firms, had some bad experiences and lost a lot of money and time. We found the whole process very frustrating. Then, I heard about Toptal, so I decided to reach out to them and from the beginning it was a wonderful experience. They were very professional and we started from zero with them. I told them about the project and they matched me with a developer within a week. He turned out to be absolutely excellent. He was really amazing. We worked with him on a project for two months. It was just very refreshing. I enjoyed the professionalism, the daily updates, and that the communication back and forth was clear and concise. We had to put in a lot of effort to make sure that we were answering his questions daily so that he could continue advancing the project. As long as we were doing that, he was getting everything done and he exceeded our expectations.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement.

We were building out an application and he was constructing the database. He integrated our front-end design work that we had already paid for and he implemented that with a backend that he built from scratch. There were about 10 different technologies he used. He was responsible for making sure the entire system worked properly.

How did you come to work with Toptal?

We had already worked with an Indian company and had a very poor experience. Then, we reached out to one or two other companies. One was in California, and I didn’t get a good vibe from them. Honestly, at the time we needed somebody fast and we didn’t have a lot of time for research and vetting because we had already started the project and it had bombed. When I reached out to Toptal, they had a structure and a response to my questions that gave me the sense that they could actually take it on quickly and run with it successfully.

They put me in touch with someone in Brazil right away. He talked with me in within one or two business days and matched me with somebody within a week. Within two weeks or less we were ready to begin the coding. That’s super fast compared to what I know and what I’ve experienced. Moreover, the person they matched me with was top quality. I remember feeling nervous because I had worked with India in the past and struggled with the whole cultural language barriers because my person was in Portugal. He turned out to be amazingly professional, and neither English nor was time difference a problem.

What is the status of this engagement?

We’re still working with Toptal.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

The best benchmark is when my customers don’t have a problem using the tool. There haven’t been any major glitches or defects that have caused people to reach out to us saying that it isn’t working. It all works the way it should, exactly as expected. We’ve only had a couple of instances where we’ve had to do some rework on it. We’ve reached out to Toptal again to do that work with a different developer. He’s was also very responsive and they fixed the issue right away. It was amazingly simple and clean.

How did Toptal perform from a project management standpoint?

The two-month development process for the initial build out was with one developer. We didn’t use any specific project management tools. We communicated primarily through email and phone. We had a system that we worked out between ourselves. By a certain time, we would respond to him and we had a format for our discussion every day, in which there would be key points and certain areas that he would address every single day. The way that we communicated about various detailed issues was very specific. We had to show him exactly where issues were on the screen, so I would take screen shots and then do annotations in it with Adobe InDesign and send him a PDF. It would all be annotated very meticulously.

What distinguishes Toptal from other providers?

I'd say their professionalism stands out. The developer they assigned to us was extremely intelligent. He had a lot of practical knowledge and an intuitive sense of design. Not just about what we were doing specifically, but just in general about his area of expertise. He was very concerned with us feeling supported and us understanding what was happening. He took the time to explain things in ways that we could easily understand, in layman's terms. He took the time to break it down and make it intuitive. Some of the things he was doing were really difficult to break down, so we really appreciated that.

Is there anything Toptal could have improved or done differently?

I have no areas of improvement to recommend. It was perfect from the beginning to the end. By the conclusion of the project, we were at launch time and it was stressful, but we had this really amazing person at the end cheering us on and wishing us well. He did everything imaginable to make it successful. I really can’t think of anything more that he could have done.

5.0
Overall Score I think they’re awesome.
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
    They were very responsive.
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
    It’s an investment but I was happy to pay whatever premium there was for that service.
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer
    I have already.

Team Augmentation For Consumer Products Startup

"They invest a good amount of time vetting their candidates."

Quality: 
5.0
Schedule: 
5.0
Cost: 
4.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$10,000 to $49,999
Project summary: 

Toptal provides bug fixes and performance enhancement for a responsive iOS application. The project involves Swift, Ionic, and Angular.JS, as well as some UI/UX design.

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Boise, Idaho
David Betts
Chief Technology Officer, Krazy Coupon Lady
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

After updates, the app's crash-free user range jumped from 94 percent to 99.3 percent. Toptal keeps a line of communication open at all times and always delivers projects within the established schedule and budget. Their refined technical skills and responsive management are valuable assets.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

I work for the Krazy Coupon Lady. It's primarily a grocery deal website focusing on in-store coupons with a large component of online deals as well, and we have a development team that manages the website, the iOS application, and the Android application.

What is your position?

I'm the chief technology officer.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Toptal?

The first project we went to them with included mostly bug fixes and enhancements to our recently launched iOS application. We were looking for a Swift developer, knowing that it would be unlikely to get a Swift developer because of the newness of that technology stack, but an Objective-C developer who can help in that project space.

It was just one developer to begin with. Then, about a week or two after their first developer joined the team, we immediately started looking for another developer to help with front-end development on the Ionic application.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement.

Both of their developers were working within the original scope as intended. As one developer was dedicated to one application, the other one handled the vertical stack of development work, working under the direction of myself and having technical assistance by developers onsite on my team. A design skill set was what we really wanted to make sure we brought in because we already hadcustom transitions, animations and image manipulation, and that was very strong. They did some UI [user interface] work with the responsive constraints between the different device sizes. They're also working with Ionic and angular.JS now.

How did you come to work with Toptal?

If I remember right, I read an article. There are so many publications that I read online, and I just stumbled upon them. It's in a different model. I have been through Elance a number of times with mixed results, and had trouble finding a good resource offshore. I was at Hewlett-Packard for a number of years and had 30 to 40 people in China and India working for me. I knew what the model could be with the right people, but just had a difficult time finding those people without going through some large organization that wants to take over project management and add many layers of management between the client and the actual people doing the work. I didn't want that model, and I was having difficulty finding reliable and competent people.

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

It was $30,000.

What is the status of this engagement?

We've been together a couple months. I can't remember exactly when our iOS developer joined.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

We did a minor version release that cleaned up only the 10 to 15 crashes, and that was the first priority when we brought on the iOS developer. Here's a good statistic, we were running in the 94 percent crash-free user range, which meant 6 percent of our users were getting crashes on a more regular basis. Now, since our minor update release, we're running at 99.3 percent as of the last report.

We use a Kanban model, so it's less revolving around the time we think it's going to take to complete a feature or fix a bug, and more about constant communication and meaningful improvement. We have a Slack channel opened up with the two developers, and then we do the daily stand up over the screen here. Transmitting feedback has never been an issue.

How did Toptal perform from a project management standpoint?

They've always delivered on time and within the specified budget. We never felt like that was going to be a problem. Tools we used included JIRA, GitHub, and Slack.

What distinguishes Toptal from other providers?

The difference was the two-week trial period. I don't know if that's something I would ever execute for a nonpayment, but it provides a level of protection. In the span of two weeks, we can have a real good sense of the quality and the developer that you're bringing on. It wasn't going to be a flake. They're going to be a resource that's available and getting their job and the work done. Then, I would say the quality of the candidates. While we did interview a very high number of candidates for the Ionic position, some of them just were not in our space. We didn't think they were going to be strong enough. Some of them were too high of a cost. There was one guy in the mix that was $95 an hour, and that was just something we weren't willing to commit to. One of the guys – the first iOS developer we interviewed – I was in the middle of the interview with him when I got a call that I couldn't take from Toptal saying, "Hey, sorry. Don't bother interviewing me. I just got hired out." That was surprising, but it does seem like there is high demand for their talent.

Is there anything Toptal could have improved or done differently?

I don't think so. I wouldn't make any changes in that space. They do a good job of trying to give you a picture of the developer and what they can and cannot do. They invest a good amount of time vetting their candidates.

Any advice for future clients?

When you're interviewing candidates, you still have to evaluate technical capabilities for your specific needs. They're going to come in and – one of the guys that we got pitched to was very good in .NET and had done a lot of Angular.JS work, but when we looked at our specific needs around Cordova, we just made the determination that it wasn't going to be a good match. They're going to be a good developer, but whether they're going to be good in your space or not, it's still up to you to make that determination. Then, you've got to have good work practices and project management set up because, from this perspective, you're going to have somebody – a developer – joining your team. You've got to have leaders who can shepherd them through that process.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 5.0 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 4.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 5.0 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer

Resource Arrangement For Technical Staffing Firm

"[T]hey are great at vetting candidates and at making sure they’re at the top of their game."

Quality: 
4.5
Schedule: 
4.5
Cost: 
5.0
Willing to refer: 
5.0
The Project
 
$200,000 to $999,999
 
May 2014 - Ongoing
Project summary: 

Toptal augments a staffing firm's in-house development team for a variety of web and mobile software projects. The team generally provides Swift, Android, JavaScript, node.JS, and .NET development. 

The Reviewer
 
11-50 Employees
 
Chicago Metro Area
Founder & CEO, MJCZone, Inc.
 
Verified
The Review
Feedback summary: 

Although many of the assigned projects were complex and demanding, the team was able to fulfill initial requirements and deliver functional products. Toptal's rigorous vetting process and low turnover rate ensure that their development team is reliably skilled, flexible, and efficient.

BACKGROUND

Please describe your organization.

We are a software services and software development company. We are a small company based out of Chicago and we specialize in a wide range of technologies. We put together project teams for our clients that are tailored specific to their project requirements. Each project is very different and we outsource a lot of the custom work by bringing in freelancers and developers domestically or from abroad. 

What is your position?

I’m the founder of the company.

OPPORTUNITY / CHALLENGE

What business challenge were you trying to address with Toptal?

The hardest thing for us is having enough talent and having it reliably available. Because we craft very specialized teams for our clients, finding proficient developers in whatever technology we’re dealing with is hard and can be very time-consuming. Toptal helped us find great resources for some specific technologies.

SOLUTION

Please describe the scope of their involvement.

We have used an array of different technologies. We’ve gone to them for Swift iOS developers, for Android and Java developers, for node.JS and JavaScript. We hired new developers through them for all those areas of practice. I’ve also gone to them for .NET developers. All of their work has been custom development and they work directly with our own team members.

Typically, we manage them directly but after they’ve been seasoned with our teams for a while and we get to know them, they get to interact with the clients directly as well.

How did you come to work with Toptal?

I tried them out first with a single JavaScript developer position and used that as a basis for understanding their process, for interviewing their candidates and then for validating the expertise of that individual based on the criteria that we specified. 

Could you provide a sense of the size of this initiative in financial terms?

We’re close to investing $225,000 in total.

What is the status of this engagement?

We’ve been with them a year or year and a half.

RESULTS & FEEDBACK

Could you share any statistics or metrics from this engagement?

We’ve used them for different technologies and different engagements, and I’d say that their developers have been talented in all the areas that we requested. We built some complex dashboard platforms for web applications. And using newer technologies like Angular.JS and others were easy with them. Generally, they’ve been on time and been able to meet the challenge of the requirements. Mobile app development is a tough one because you have to do a lot of testing. They were not that heavily involved in the testing; we do that in-house, but from a development standpoint, they’ve met expectations and been able to provide what was required.

How did Toptal perform from a project management standpoint?

Software development is a tough business because requirements in an agile environment can change from sprint to sprint. Some of the initial estimates that were made were a little off target, but the developers didn’t have all the information at hand. Generally, they have not been off the mark in terms of time frames and deliveries. The initial estimates were not always correct, but it’s not always their fault because we have expanded the scope from time to time.

What distinguishes Toptal from other providers?

What separates them from other types of recruiting agencies or technical staffing agencies is that they are great at vetting candidates and at making sure they’re at the top of their game. That’s their secret formula. I definitely trust their selection process.

We try to minimize turnover because some developers get pretty familiar with the projects and they gain that internal knowledge that you need to be very productive. With these guys, we haven’t had any unexpected turnover. That reliability is crucial in our circumstances. We have never had to substitute one developer for another.

5.0
Overall Score
  • 4.5 Scheduling
    ON TIME / DEADLINES
  • 5.0 Cost
    Value / within estimates
  • 4.5 Quality
    Service & deliverables
  • 5.0 NPS
    Willing to refer