Toptal vs Upwork vs OnBench | Which Platform is Better for Hiring Developers in 2021

Freelancers can find clients virtually anywhere, but one of the best options is through online freelance platforms. Recent data shows that this is how 75% of freelance programmers find work. Freelance platforms are “online marketplaces” where coders can showcase their skills, share their portfolios, and list their rates. Clients know they’ll find many devs on these sites, so it’s usually the first port of call for companies looking for talent and finding the right person to work with on their next project. Let’s take a look at the most convenient ones and compare Toptal vs Upwork vs OnBench.

A Brief Story of Toptal

Brief Story of Toptal

Toptal is an independent freelance market that was founded in 2010. It started as a virtual company, so now it has no headquarter yet. The name Toptal stands for the “Top Talent”.

Toptal enables companies to hire only the best programmers from its global network of controlled talent. The platform helps you hire developers from over 100 countries; most of them are in America and Europe. You can find a perfect coder for your first-time project because all developers are checked and interviewed before they are allowed on the platform. The website works with companies like Airbnb, Hewlett Packard, Zendesk, Motorola, Bridgestone, Shopify, and many others.

Story of Upwork (in Brief)

A Brief Story of Upwork

Formerly known as Elance in 1999 and oDesk in 2003 (two different companies), it was then changed to Elance-oDesk in 2013. The new business was rebranded as Upwork in 2015.

Upwork is the American giant of the freelance world with headquarters in Santa Clara, California, United States. The platform connects everyone in the world with the 18 million verified performers and 5 million registered customers, also boasting of 3 million job ads per year worth over $1 bln. It makes Upwork the largest freelancing marketplace in the world.

OnBench Brief Story

A Brief Story of OnBench

OnBench is a team search company founded in 2020. It offers to hire developers and development teams all over the world. However, unlike popular freelance markets, it acts as a B2B platform. Customer companies place offers and search for programmers, other ones add their employees to be visible in the search.

OnBench may have almost the same proposals as any freelance website has: remote developers hire. However, on OnBench, you communicate and make deals with companies, not with individuals. Also, you may hire the whole team at once.

Toptal vs Upwork vs OnBench Candidate Selection
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Toptal vs Upwork vs OnBench Candidate Selection

Toptal Candidate Selection

What sets Toptal apart from other independent markets is its rigorous selection process that accepts only 3% of all applicants. The reason for their screening and interviewing is to eliminate executives who do not have enough experience. The selection process has five steps that only experienced and expert developers who are serious about their work end up can complete.

Toptal screening process

  1. Communication skills and personality.
    The candidate must be able to communicate in English well. Toptal also tests if the applicant is indeed passionate and fully engaged in the work. 26.4% of applicants go further.
  2. Skills review.
    It eliminates any poor-quality devs and other specialists who are not suitable for their work. This step tests the problem-solving ability and knowledge of the candidate with a variety of assignments. 7.4% of candidates pass this stage.
  3. A live screening.
    This step is more like a one-on-one interview with an expert in the applicant’s main area of expertise. Only 3.6% of applicants pass to the next level.
  4. Test project.
    It copies real-world scenarios and tests their ability to solve real-world problems. 3.2% of applicants complete this step.
  5. Ongoing test of continued excellence.
    This step ensures that only the best of the best performers stay on the network. Only 3% of candidates pass this step and become a developers in the Toptal marketplace.

Upwork Candidate Selection

Compared to Toptal, the selection and registration process of Upwork is quite simple. It certainly takes time and energy to complete the profile, but it is certainly worth it if you want to stand out from the crowd and start winning quality assignments.

You will need to do the following:

  • Write a quality profile and CV.
    Say a few words from the biography and describe the main differences from other performers. A short video can be posted. There are also dedicated areas where people can talk about the professional and educational background; the more details they provide, the better.
  • Add cases to the portfolio.
    From the start, there are no client reviews or recommendations that attest to the experience. Therefore, it is best to show the style and skills by posting a few short, attractive samples or mentioning the relevant certifications.
  • Set rates and availability.
    The profile displays the hourly rate you usually charge. Also, many assignments have fixed charges that can be discussed with the future client. Also, the performer can let customers know what kind of commitment he’s looking for. To do this, he (or she) defines the availability (you may choose more or less than 30 hours per week or an “open for business” option).
  • Take tests to demonstrate the skills.
    Currently, there are over three hundred skills tests on Upwork. Any performer can take them and post the results (or hide them). The tests divide into categories, such as mobile technologies, web development skills, etc. With them, customers trust the performers more (at least, Upwork says so).

OnBench Candidate Selection

Unlike websites offering similar services, OnBench doesn’t check every person that you find on the platform. You don’t hire developers and teams right on OnBench; you just find them here in outsourcing companies and ask those companies to give you their specialists.

Companies themselves may ask for verification on the platform. In this case, OnBench specialists check whether all the information about the company is legit. It increases confidence in those who hire development teams and coders on the website.

Toptal vs Upwork vs OnBench Pricing & Fees
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Toptal vs Upwork vs OnBench Pricing & Fees

Toptal Pricing

To hire your first developer on Toptal, you must make a one-time, $500 refundable deposit. If you decide not to hire at any point in the process, you will receive a refund. Otherwise, the $500 will later be added as a credit to your account to pay the remote coder you work with. This deposit indicates to Toptal that you are seriously considering hiring a remote programmer.

You won’t find low-cost professionals on this platform. The best of them come at a high price. Many outsourcing developers on this network charge at least $60 per hour or even more, depending on skills and experience level.

Upwork Pricing

Client fees: 3% (for payment process).

Freelancer fees: 20% (for the first $500, 10% after).

For a customer, there is no fee to sign up for Upwork. You pay the amount agreed upon with the performer plus a standard 3% processing fee on all Upwork payments made.

Upwork has many features. As a client, you have two options for your account; either the basic or plus account. Each option includes access to a large pool of top-quality specialists.

If you’re interested how much does upwork charge, the fees on Upwork are a bit higher compared to other hire platforms. You have to give 20% of your earnings. On the other hand, there are so many job offers from the clients that you can safely neglect this disadvantage.

OnBench Pricing

There is only one charge on OnBench. You pay for employees appearing in the search; the rest of the website is free for use.

  • There are no fees for any deals (you don’t make a deal with OnBench but with the companies offering employees to hire).
  • Project fees are absent; participants apply them for free.
  • It doesn’t matter how many employees you add to the database. You pay only for the activation once a month.
  • The first five employees are free to activate in the search.
Toptal vs Upwork vs OnBench Hiring Process
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Toptal vs Upwork vs OnBench Hiring Process

How to Hire on Toptal

Toptal is a freelance platform dedicated to the search for the best talent. With a long selection process, they simplify the recruitment process and offer business solutions to carry out the projects. If you’re looking for a company that will simplify the process of finding great freelance talent, they’re a good choice.

Hiring a full-time employee requires a lot of time and resources. You have to scan LinkedIn, read CVs, interview, see how a potential candidate fits in with the team members, salary negotiations, etc. But finding a qualified programmers also takes time. What about building a well-functioning team of developers, all working together to execute a single project? That can take months or even years.

Toptal simplifies the recruitment process. They do all the research, then listen to what you are looking for and what you value in a developer. Then they match you with the right candidate or team of candidates. A process that can usually take months (or more) can be done in weeks, sometimes days.

How to Hire on Upwork

First, the client publishes a job offer or web project with the requirements, the body of the project, and, most importantly, the list of skills required from the freelance professional.

The freelancer reads the description of the project and makes an offer specifying the budget.

The client reviews the performer’s profile, his or her skills, previously projects developed, other clients’ assessments. Some clients also interview developers before deciding to sign the contract for web design and development.

This selection is an automatic process of offering Upwork projects to developers according to their experience and skills.

How to Hire on OnBench

The customer may search for dev teams and programmers on OnBench even without registration. To do it, the customer company representative needs to visit the main page and enter search parameters for skills, level, and amount of people he or she would like to search for.

The next window is the page with search results. The customer may continue searching using advanced parameters or look through companies that were found.

When found the right candidate, the customer company needs to contact the company proposing to hire a team or specialist. At this stage, it requires registration (if it didn’t register before). Then the company presses contact and writes the proposal or questions in the dialog box. Further communication depends on the cooperation of these two companies.

Another way to hire on OnBench is to post the project with all the requirements. The customer may even specify the data of all the team members in the desired team. When done, all that is left is to communicate with supplying companies’ representatives and decide which one to choose. Every project gets from 10 to 20 bids on the website.

Toptal vs Upwork vs OnBench Support / Complaints and Resolution
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Toptal vs Upwork vs OnBench Support / Complaints and Resolution

Toptal Support

Its customer service page and framework are easy for a freelance platform that claims to have the top developers in its network.

There is a basic FAQ page (but with just 18 questions and answers), a mailing address for its offices in Delaware, San Francisco, and New York, a phone number (but for sales inquiries only), and a simple contact form to fill in. There are neither details about opening hours, nor live chat, so you won’t get a quick response from customer support if you look for it.

Upwork Support

Upwork does not provide customer service by email or phone. There is only one way to reach Upwork customer service, and it is via the web. You would be able to talk to their customer care representative via live chat to solve any complaints you have. According to the survey, their customer care representative offers top services to both clients and executives.

OnBench Support

OnBench resolves all the complaints via email, answering within 24 hours max (usually within an hour). You can write to the company at any time and get your problem solved.

Toptal vs Upwork vs OnBench Billing methods
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Toptal vs Upwork vs OnBench Billing methods

Toptal Payment Methods

Pricing on Toptal offers invoicing services and payment solutions for developers, including transfers of funds to bank accounts via a collaboration with Payoneer, a cross-border payments company. The service accepts payments from all major credit cards (Visa, Mastercard, Amex), bank transfers, ACH, and PayPal.

Upwork Payment Methods

Upwork recommends its users to complete their payment processes on the platform only. You can pay through Upwork in two ways: variable payments for milestones (deliveries) or fixed payrolls per hour.

Freelancers have three types of billing available. Credit or Debit card, Visa, Discover, Diners Club, Diners Club International, Mastercard, American Express, and PayPal are approved by Upwork. All the specialists have the option to use PayPal as the Upwork payment method with an approved PayPal account.

OnBench Payment Methods

You may order new employee licenses on OnBench with your Credit or Debit Card. The rest of the services are free at the moment.

Toptal vs Upwork vs OnBench Pros & Cons
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Toptal vs Upwork vs OnBench Pros & Cons

Toptal Pros

The biggest advantage of hiring Toptal’s independent talents is that the service’s rigorous selection process eliminates anyone who is not an expert. When you hire someone from Toptal, you can be assured that they know how to solve your problem or help you with your project. Unlike other platforms similar to Upwork, Toptal team of experts works with you to find the perfect employee for your project based on your needs.

Toptal Cons

Besides, it is also one of the main drawbacks of working with Toptal. They only offer access to the best developers, and the rates can be quite expensive for those who is just starting or has a limited budget.

Upwork Pros

Upwork is the largest freelance market on the Internet with thousands of professionals of all kinds. All the payment methods are safe here; the platform pays freelancers only after the work was totally done and does its best to protect both project sides from the fraud.

Upwork Cons

The quality of the executives’ production is rather poor on Upwork, especially if you search for those in low price segment. Else, you need to spend large amount of time to find the right person among all who wants to apply for your proposal. And there is always a chance the executive will not do the job and disappear without any result.

OnBench Pros

OnBench is the best website to find and hire the whole team of developers at once. It also gives you an opportunity to find the right person or team within minutes. Because you make contracts with other companies, you don’t need to bother for the job not done. And don’t forget another advantage: the fees are almost absent on this platform.

OnBench Cons

It may take some time to sign the contract and make a deal with another company, definitely more than in case with a single freelancer. Also, outsourcing companies cannot sit all days and nights waiting for your proposal: you have a better chance of faster response in working time.

In conclusion, the main Upwork vs Toptal vs OnBench difference is the selection process and the quality of developers. Use Toptal if you need a high-level specialist for a qualified work. Try Upwork if you search for low-cost developers and specialists of all kinds. Visit OnBench if you need to hire fast development teams or programmers with particular skill and skill levels.

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