Whether you’re an engineering manager with a development team who needs an extra pair of hands, a lead developer hoping to add a member to your established team, or a founder with a MVP to build, you’re in the market for a freelance developer.
One of the most time-effective ways to find a good freelance developer is to use the right freelance platform. We’ll look at the five elements below to help you find the right platform for you:
In the past, we’ve compared the Toptal, Upwork, and CodementorX. Now, to help you choose the best niche freelance developer platform for your needs, we’re bringing you round two — Crew vs. Toptal vs. Gigster vs. CodementorX.
Click here for the tl;dr final comparison chart!
Crew, founded as ooomf in 2012, participated in the FounderFuel accelerator program that same year in Montreal, Canada, changed its name to Crew in 2013, and relaunched itself as Crew.co in 2015.
Crew bills itself as the place to hire web and mobile designers, developers, and small studios to work on your project. They claim to have a 99% project success rate of projects completed on time, on budget, and issue free.
Gigster was founded as Liquid Labs Inc. in 2013, was accepted as part of Y-Combinator’s Summer 2015 class, and was launched to the public in 2016.
Gigster's take on matching clients with developers is a bit different. Rather than matching the client with an individual developer, Gigster assembles an entire team, using AI, led by a project manager, who the client communicates exclusively with.
Toptal was founded in 2010 as a platform to help corporate clients find freelance software engineers. Toptal launched Toptal Designers in 2015 and acquired Skillbridge in 2016.
Toptal advertises itself as an exclusive network, only accepting the top 3% of applications out of the thousands that apply, and that everyone at Toptal has elite industry experience.
Codementor was founded in 2013, participated in the Techstars accelerator program that same year, and was launched to the public in 2014. CodementorX, an exclusive freelance platform to hire top developers, was officially launched in 2016.
CodementorX prides itself on being the only community based freelance developer platform, with over 250,000 developers calling it home. In addition, its nine layer vetting and matching process with AI, lightning fast hiring process, and a dedicated engagement manager helps CodementorX stand out from the rest of the pack.
Unlike the other three platforms, Gigster is for projects that are entirely outsourced — the project manager is in charge of the entire development process.
Crew and Toptal provide web development or design freelancers, and CodementorX is best for projects where clients want to hire an experienced contractor to complement their existing development team, and focused solely on providing high quality developers (though some may have design experience).
The vetting process is an important aspect of choosing a freelance developer platform. How a platform chooses their talent pool can make a big difference down the road, when the client is the one interacting with the developer they hire. Gigster is the exception in this case, because the client interacts directly with a project manager and never meets their developers.
By carefully testing their developers, such as with technical and behavioral interviews, a developer platform can better guarantee a smoother and more pleasant experience for their clients.
Crew began as as designer-oriented marketplace, which is reflected in its application system.
To become a Crew member, applicants must speak English fluently and must:
In addition to the above, mobile developers/designers need to have developed or designed apps with a minimum of 10 reviews, rated 4 stars or higher.
While Crew’s vetting process has built in safeguards, particularly for design-oriented projects, unlike CodementorX, assigning senior developers to development intensive projects isn’t their primary focus.
Per Gigster, the first step is a resume review. For the resume review stage, Gigster is looking for candidates who graduated from top schools, worked at leading companies, and built popular open source projects.
There’s then a written screening — made up of development and design questions — and a personality screening by phone.
If the applicant passes these three vetting stages, they are invited to join Gigster.
The first step for Toptal applicants is the language and personality test, where their personality and communication skills in English are evaluated.
Next is the in-depth skill review, where applicants’ technical knowledge and problem solving ability is assessed.
Applicants are then given a live screening, where experts in their domain test them with live exercises.
Finally, applicants are given a test project.
CodementorX’s vetting and matching process features nine layers of vetting and matching, using AI.
To ensure that clients are getting the best developers, applicants are given an extensive resume and portfolio review, asked to complete a coding challenge, and given a behavioral interview.
Those who have passed the first three stages are given a small project to complete and a technical interview. If a candidate has passed all of these tests with flying colors, they’re then eligible for the matching process, where their credentials are added to the AI-powered matching algorithm.
They’re then shortlisted by the CodementorX team, invited to client interviews, and ready to be presented to and hired by clients with a risk-free trial period.
Unlike other platforms, CodementorX is able to provide clients with the highest quality of vetted developers because Codementor is home to one of the largest community of developers from each and every conceivable specialty, from which only the best can become CodementorX developers.
In addition to their vast experience in their respective languages and skills, CodementorX developers can provide mentoring to existing team members that will outlast the length of the engagement.
When it comes to working with developers, what platform is “better” depends on how you prefer to work with developers. If you’re a hands off person, you might consider Gigster.
However, if you want the option to work with someone closely and the flexibility to decide how hands on (or off) you’d like to be, have greater project control, and have the added bonus of an engagement manager to help you out if you need it, CodementorX would be ideal for you.
Crew matches clients with three to five prospective developers who they will work with during the duration after the project. Before the project starts, the developer presents the client with an agreement that both sides must sign off on for work to begin.
Unlike many other freelance developer platforms, the client doesn’t interact with the developer at all. Instead, clients are matched with a project manager, who oversees the entire project and acts as the intermediary.
With Toptal, clients work directly with developers, who they are matched with in a time frame of anywhere from one day to three weeks.
CodementorX matches clients with developers that fit the clients’ engagements, depending on the client’s tech stack requirements and developer location, through an extensive matching process that includes client interviews.
Besides the ability to discuss the project directly with the developer, with CodementorX, clients are able to consult with and receive advice directly from the experienced developer, who has deep industry know-how and experience teaching others — this can have a lasting effect on the team even after the engagement.
With Crew, building a polished-looking iOS and Android app, with email login, personal profiles, in-app purchasing ability, personalized app icon, and ranking systems that integrates to your website, would cost $93,900.
Gigster provides an estimate by project type on its website, with prices varying by project complexity, speed, and parts, as well as by type — marketplace, social networking, and tools.
Using Gigster’s pricing tool, a high complexity social networking app, built as soon as possible, would cost $473,000 for a web version, $568,000 for the iOS version, and $473,000 for the Android version, and will take about five months to complete.
With Toptal, the price of building an app depends on the rate the freelance developer charges, which can vary from $60-$95+ per hour, $1000-$1600+ per week for part-time developers, and $2,000-$3,200+ per week for full-time developers.
CodementorX has a large community of vetted developers to choose from, and the price of the app varies according to which developer a client hires. Rates range from $60-$100 per hour, and the length of the project is determined by the complexity of the app the client needs.
Crew’s Project Protection policy is as follows:
- 100% of the project budget can be refunded for incomplete work
- 75% of the project budget for quality of work not up to Crew’s standards
- 30% of the project budget for delays between either party
- 20% of the project budget for language (and) tone.
Whether a client will qualify for this guarantee, and to what extent, is up to Crew’s arbitration committee.
Gigster does not address risk/project guarantees on their website. We emailed them for more information but have not received a response at the time of publishing.
If the client is not satisfied, they can be matched with another developer. Toptal does not offer any other guarantees.
CodementorX provides a risk-free trial period, where clients have up to two weeks, depending on the expected engagement length, to get a good feel for the developer they’ve been matched with.
In addition, CodementorX provides each client with a dedicated engagement manager. The engagement manager, who takes care of any questions the client may have during the development process, complements the high quality work the CodementorX developer does to give clients a satisfying engagement experience.
At the end of the day, your needs and the size of your current team are the most important factors in determining which freelance developer platform is best for you. If you’re just starting out and require your project to be completely outsourced, there’s a platform for that.
If you have an existing team and want to work closely with a developer with specific skills to complement your team members’ expertise, there’s definitely a freelance developer platform for that too.
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Want to learn about more freelance platforms? Check out this list of 40+ Upwork Alternatives