Best Toptal Alternatives for Hiring Offshore Software Developers

toptal alternatives

As a technology leader, you can develop software in many different ways — all of which have their own specific pros and cons. But hiring top talent is important regardless of which route you choose. Should you hire only onshore or offshore? Should you build your own team, use an agency or consider Toptal alternatives?  There is lots to think through.


Never fear though! You may feel like there’s way too much information (and not enough coffee) to make sense of it all but we’ve got you covered below with all the most important aspects to consider.

List of Contents

Freelance Platforms Like Toptal

The freelance industry has been growing exponentially in recent years. Platforms like Toptal, Upwork, and Fiverr make it easier than ever for companies to hire software developers from all over the world. 


To begin, let’s start by taking a look at how these platforms work. Most of the major freelance platforms have similar processes for hiring software developers. Generally speaking, companies will post job descriptions with details about the business and required skill sets that they are looking for. Freelancers who meet the requirements will then submit proposals to compete for the position. 


Companies can review each proposal before selecting one or more freelancers to proceed with further assessment. Once a candidate is selected, companies can communicate directly with them through the platform and negotiate payment terms, timeline estimates, and any other needs that may arise during the cooperation.


For example, Toptal asks companies to pay $500 as a deposit before hiring a freelancer. In case there was no hire, Toptal guarantees to return the deposited money. 


When it comes to key considerations about hiring software developers through these types of platforms, there are a few things that should be taken into account. For starters, it’s important to make sure that the freelancers that you are considering have the right experience and qualifications for the job at hand. This can be verified by looking through their portfolios and past projects. 


Additionally, companies should also carefully consider payment terms to know all the nuances such as a deposit. Finally, it’s important to look into customer reviews of each potential freelancer before making a decision, as this can give valuable insight into their work ethic and quality of previous work.


Thus, let’s look closer at the pros and cons of hiring software developers via freelance platforms like Toptal.

toptal alternative

Pros of Hiring Freelance Developers via platforms like Toptal

  • One of the biggest advantages of using a platform like TopTal is access to a larger talent pool from around the world. This offers businesses more options when it comes to choosing suitable candidates for their products, allowing them to select based on skills and experience rather than geographic location.
  • Since a platform like TopTal operates globally, businesses can take advantage of time zone differences by working with developers in other parts of the world while they sleep. This means businesses can get more done in less time by having two teams working together even when they’re not physically present in one location.
  • Platforms like TopTal offer companies access to experienced developers who can help them with specific tasks without needing additional training or resources. This allows businesses to obtain expert services without having to hire full-time staff or manage employees directly.
  • With platforms like TopTal there’s no need for long term commitments or contracts; companies only pay for services rendered and can end agreements anytime if results are unsatisfactory. Businesses also don’t need to worry about taxes or other administrative duties associated with hiring full-time employees since these roles are filled by independent workers who take care of their own paperwork.

Cons of Hiring Freelance Developers via platforms like Toptal

  • Many tech companies shy away from freelance platforms like Toptal due a lack of control. The freelancer is exactly that: a freelancer, meaning that they can choose what they work on and when. This makes the timing of deliverables harder to estimate.
  • Working with remote freelancers can be challenging due to communication barriers that arise from being located in different parts of the world; language issues, cultural differences, and lack of face-to-face interactions can all potentially lead to misunderstandings or miscommunication during important discussions.
  • When working with remote freelance developers there is always a risk that they may not follow through on deadlines or deliverables due to unforeseen circumstances such as personal emergencies or illness; this could create problems for businesses who have dependent timeline restrictions.
  • Platforms like TopTal often have minimum requirements when it comes to work progress reported by freelancers as part of their contractual agreements; this might create extra work for businesses if their selected developer falls short on any expectations set out in these policies which could ultimately delay progress on projects overall.


In a nutshell, platforms like TopTal offer tech leaders a reliable way to access skilled developers from around the globe quickly and cost effectively. However, there is still some level of risk involved when dealing with remote freelance developers due to a lack of transparency, potential delays, a lack of control and various policies set out by third party providers which may require extra attention before contracting.

In-House Software Development

One of the most common ways to approach software development is to hire in-house developers and create an internal team. This can be a great choice for startups and tech companies, but there are both advantages and disadvantages to this approach that should be considered before heading down this path.  Let’s check them out:

in-house software development

Pros of Hiring In-House Software Developers

  • One of the primary advantages of developing software within one’s own organization is that it allows the team to better understand their target market, as well as customer wants and needs. Having a direct understanding of what the customer is looking for can help inform the development process, which can be difficult to achieve with developers that aren’t located close to home.
  • Additionally, an in-house team has full control over the development initiatives they take on and how they are executed. This gives them more freedom to change tactics mid-project if necessary, as well as tweak ideas quickly without having to wait for feedback from outside sources.
  • In-house software development also allows for closer collaboration between members of the team and other departments within the company such as marketing, sales and support. Effective communication between those responsible for meeting customer demands ensures that customer feedback is integrated quickly and accurately throughout the entire lifecycle of development. Having access to real time input from users can also lead to faster iteration cycles - something that might be difficult with remote teams.
  • A final advantage of in-house software development is that it’s typically more secure because all work is done within your office walls and under your supervision. All sensitive information stays securely within your organization –and within the borders of your country – and isn't exposed to potential security risks associated with working with freelancers or offshore personnel. Plus, you don't need to worry about accidentally releasing confidential data since all code will remain within your direct control throughout the entire development process.

Cons of Hiring In-House Software Developers

  • Despite its many benefits, one potential downside associated with hiring in-house developers is the increased cost compared to other options like freelancing or offshoring. Depending on your specific requirements, it may be more expensive due to factors like geographic location (e.g., wages may vary based on city/state) or the size of your team (e.g., larger teams typically require additional overhead costs). All of the above is especially true if you are a tech company based in the United States or Western Europe, which often have wages for software developers that are twice that of any other region.
  • Another potential disadvantage is that finding skilled personnel can take longer than usual due to limited local talent pools which means you may have to wait longer before getting started on any initiative related to software development and reduces your potential speed to market.
  • Finally, since everything is managed internally there may be limited emphasis on performance metrics such as levels of productivity or code quality which could lead to costly mistakes down the line if not addressed properly by management early on during development cycles.

Overall, hiring in-house software developers can be a great option for startups and tech companies looking to develop their own software with the right resources and commitment. However, it is important to consider all of the associated costs and potential drawbacks before making any final decisions as this will ensure that you are able to maximize your software development ROI while also minimizing risk.

Offshore Software Development

Offshoring software development is becoming increasingly popular among many startups and tech companies due to its cost-effectiveness and access to a large pool of highly-skilled developers.


But there are both advantages and disadvantages to hiring software developers offshore. Understanding each of these will help you make informed decisions about which approach is best for you.

offshore software development

Pros of Hiring Offshore Software Developers

  • One of the most obvious advantages to hiring offshore developers is the significant cost savings. Software development can be expensive, but by utilizing an offshore developer, businesses can save up to 50% or more on development costs compared to hiring domestically. This allows startups and tech companies to free up their cash flow so they can invest in other areas of their business or simply lower overhead costs.
  • Offshore developers also provide access to a much larger talent pool than those available domestically. Working with an offshore team gives tech leaders the opportunity to tap into the expertise and experience of a variety of talented developers from all over the world without having to pay premium salaries for domestic teams. Furthermore, many offshore developers have specialized expertise that can benefit businesses greatly, providing them with access to cutting-edge software development trends and skill sets that may not otherwise be available domestically at an affordable price point.
  • Another advantage is the ability to create around-the-clock workflows and still remain within budget constraints. With multiple teams working in different time zones, startups and tech companies have the flexibility to have their projects managed 24/7 without having to pay for additional overtime or employment fees associated with hiring more staff locally. Additionally, this allows businesses to take advantage of global resources such as varying infrastructure offerings and specific local market knowledge that may not be available domestically.
  • Finally, working with offshore software developers is often quicker and easier than hiring locally because there are fewer legal requirements involved in setting up contracts and agreements between companies located in different countries. This makes it faster and easier for companies looking for fast turnaround times while still maintaining quality control standards throughout the project life cycle.

What’s even more important, by partnering with offshore development companies like TurnKey, you can rest easy while we take care of all the hassle and find the perfect match for your offshore hiring needs. TurnKey hires the Top 3% of talent in Eastern Europe (Poland, Romania, Ukraine) and Latin America (Colombia, Mexico, and Brazil) at an affordable rate – and all while providing best-in-class customer service and transparent pricing.  On top of that, we manage all the administrative headaches like legal and payroll too, so you can focus on what’s important: creating great software. 


Call us today!

Cons of Hiring Offshore Software Developers

Though offshore development is arguably the most popular form of software development today, there are still some drawbacks with the approach that you should consider as well: 

  • Teams located in different countries may lack context on certain elements of the company that only an experienced team member from the same region might possess. This could create extra hurdles for the offshore developer who may have difficulty understanding the reasons behind certain tasks or requirements without a deeper explanation.
  • One more drawback that startups and tech companies may face when offshoring software developers is the potential language barrier. It’s important for companies to ensure that the technical details and nuances of their requirements can be communicated effectively between parties, and this may be difficult if English isn’t a primary language for those involved. Cultural differences may also be an issue for some offshoring arrangements, as these can create more complex communication problems between parties.
  • Companies should also consider the potential security risks when offshoring software development projects. When information is stored remotely, there is always a chance that it could be misused or abused by malicious actors who gain access to it through unauthorized ways. This risk increases with offshoring as data may be exchanged multiple times across international borders. Companies must pay close attention to security measures, such as encryption and authentication protocols, to protect confidential data and maintain compliance with applicable laws and regulations.
  • Another con related to offshoring software development is cost unpredictability due to external factors such as currency exchange rates or economic instability in certain countries. Additionally, local labor laws in some countries may impose restrictions on what tasks developers are allowed to perform or how working hours are organized, making it more difficult for teams in different countries to stay productive together at all times. But TurnKey knows all the nuances of working with offshore teams and guarantees the best employees are hired for your company.


Overall, offshoring software development provides many benefits such as cost savings, greater access to diverse talent pools, improved control over tasks and processes, and increased efficiency but comes along with risks such as potential communication issues due to language differences or cultural misunderstandings. 


Despite these drawbacks, however, experienced offshore developers know how to work well in a  remote setting and how to integrate into different company cultures seamlessly. And at TurnKey, we pay close attention to the English language level of all candidates and put them through robust screening protocols before hiring to ensure the best fit.

So, What Option Should You Choose For Your Startup or Tech Company?

The short answer to this question is “it depends.”

  • An in-house developer or small team of developers will be more familiar with a company's existing systems. This makes it easier for them to customize solutions to fit the individual needs of a company. Additionally, in-house developers are more accessible than offshore developers and can provide faster response times when questions or problems arise.
  • Many startups and tech companies, regardless of size or industry, can benefit from hiring offshore developers. For example, startups often lack the financial resources to hire an in-house team of software engineers or full-time developers. By offshoring their development needs, they can save on operational costs while still getting the same level of quality as onshore teams. Smaller firms may have limited resources to invest, so they can take advantage of offshore software development services and get access to skilled developers at a fraction of the cost.
  • Smaller companies that lack the capital to hire full-time employees can benefit from hiring freelance developers. The cost savings associated with not having to pay employee benefits or secure office space makes this route a highly attractive alternative. Companies that need to quickly scale up their development teams without making long-term commitments can also capitalize on the flexibility of freelancers.


Contact TurnKey!
Are freelance platforms like Toptal better than an in-house software development team?

The decision to use an in-house team or hire talent from freelance platforms like Toptal ultimately depends on the needs of the company and its budget. An in-house team can be more familiar with the company and its projects, but also comes with additional salary and benefit costs. Platforms like Toptal offer fast access to top developers at competitive prices, but there is a lack of control as well as a lack of long term commitment from the developer. Ultimately, each company will have to make their own decision based on their individual needs.

Which is better: freelance platforms like Toptal or outstaffing companies?

The choice between freelance platforms like Toptal and outstaffing companies depends on the needs of the startup or tech company. Platforms like Toptal can offer high quality developers but with much less control, while outstaffing companies may have lower average costs but may require longer hire times. In conclusion, each company will need to weigh their individual needs and make a decision accordingly.

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Stacy Diachenko

With a Master of Arts in Technology for Translation and Interpreting (yes it’s as cool as it sounds!), I’m 100% a technophile and wordsmith. I love making tech stuff sound human, and I constantly stay on top of the latest trends in technology. My goal is to write fun, insightful articles that are always ahead of the curve.