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UpStack Review (2023)

Photutorial’s take

UpStack is a web development platform that uses AI to match companies with the best developers for their needs. With a focus on only hiring the top 1% of developers, UpStack offers a reliable and efficient way to find high-quality talent. Their 14-day risk-free trial and dedicated account management team ensure a smooth and successful collaboration. 


  • High-quality developers with impressive experience
  • Fast hiring process
  • 14-day risk-free trial
  • Hands-free hiring with AI and dedicated account managers
  • Excellent customer support
  • Affordable developer rates for businesses that value quality talent


  • Not the best option for companies on a tight budget
  • Not suitable for urgent or short-term development needs
  • Non-refundable deposit fee
  • A smaller pool of candidates compared to other freelancing platforms
UpStack logo
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UpStack features

The UpStack web development platform matches companies with the best developers based on advanced artificial intelligence (AI). Unlike traditional job boards, UpStack creates a customized list of freelancers for each user, ensuring they find the right developer for their project.

UpStack features

Only the top 1% of developers are hired in UpStack’s network, ensuring users have access to the best talent. It is also easy for UpStack developers to integrate into a company’s team and project through a comprehensive onboarding process.

Using UpStack, users can find developers with the skills they need, regardless of their programming language or framework, including iOS, Python, Go, React, Java, Angular, and PHP. 

Who uses UpStack?

With its well-vetted freelance developers who have experience and are capable of handling complex, large-scale projects, UpStack is popular among both startups and established companies.

A number of companies use UpStack, including startups, SaaS companies, media agencies, business listing companies, sales and marketing agencies, and banks and financial institutions. Among the brands and corporations trusting UpStack are inVision, Orchestra One, MealPal, Winc, The Chive, and True Local.

How does UpStack work?

The UpStack platform requires clients to create a free account and fill out a short questionnaire on the skills they are looking for. Through the use of UpStack’s proprietary artificial intelligence matching program, candidates are matched to the client’s needs based on this information.

UpStack filling in a questionnaire
You start by answering a questionnaire

Once the client has reviewed their list of candidates, they can choose a developer and pay a deposit fee to begin working together. The client has up to 14 days to work with the selected developer to determine if they’re the right fit for the project. UpStack provides regular invoices for deposits or payments to freelancers.

Once clients have chosen a developer through UpStack, they can communicate with them directly through the platform. UpStack offers a range of tools and resources to facilitate effective communication and collaboration between clients and developers.

For example, clients can use the platform’s built-in messaging system to communicate with their developers, share files, and track project progress. Clients can also use UpStack’s time tracking and reporting tools to manage their developers’ work and ensure that their projects are completed on time and within budget.

In addition to these tools, UpStack provides support and resources to help clients and developers work together effectively. For example, UpStack offers a dedicated account management team to help clients onboard their developers and get them up to speed on their projects. The platform also provides training and support to help developers improve their skills and stay updated on the latest industry trends

Overall, UpStack’s communication and collaboration tools and support resources help clients and developers work together seamlessly and achieve successful project outcomes.

UpStack pricing

UpStack’s pricing structure is straightforward and transparent. The platform charges a $399 deposit fee when a client chooses a developer to work with. This deposit is non-refundable and is used to cover the developer’s onboarding and training costs.

After the deposit has been paid, clients are charged an hourly rate for the developer’s work. Developer rates range from $60 to $90 per hour, depending on the developer’s skills and experience. Clients are invoiced weekly for the total number of hours worked.

UpStack also offers a risk-free 2-week trial for projects longer than 4 weeks. This trial period allows clients to work with their chosen developers and determine if they are the right fit for the project. If the developer is not a good fit, UpStack will cover the cost of finding a replacement and will work with the client to find a new developer who meets their needs.

Verdict: UpStack’s pricing structure is designed to be transparent and straightforward. The initial deposit fee and developer rates are clearly stated, and any additional fees or charges will be communicated to the client before they are incurred. This allows clients to budget for their projects and ensures they receive high-quality development services at a fair price.

Our experience with UpStack

In our experience with UpStack, we were impressed by their heavy vetting process and commitment to only hiring the top 1% of developers. Unlike traditional freelancing platforms, UpStack has a smaller pool of candidates and focuses on working with a handful of companies to connect them to the best developers in the world. This model is similar to that of Toptal but focuses solely on developers.

As a standout feature, UpStack has a three-day search process, which is a huge benefit for companies that don’t have enough time to conduct their own freelance search. The $399 deposit can be a barrier for some, but we found it worthwhile considering how much time and money we saved by not having to search for a developer on our own.

Developer rates at UpStack are competitive and on par with the market. They offer a 14-day free trial, which enables companies to check out a developer and ensure they’re a good fit before committing to a long-term contract. UpStack covers replacement costs if a developer isn’t a good fit or quits and will find another candidate immediately.

For companies seeking high-quality developers, UpStack proved to be an invaluable resource. In addition to their focus on hiring only the top 1% of developers, they offer a fast and efficient search process that makes them an excellent choice for fast-growing startups and tech companies. In our opinion, top-tier development talent is worth the price.

UpStack pros explained

  • UpStack offers some of the highest quality developer talent you’ll find anywhere, with every candidate being senior-level or higher. Many of their developers have worked with reputable companies, including Microsoft, IBM, McDonald’s, Toyota, and Monster.
  • The time it takes to find candidates and make a hire is very fast, typically taking just a few days. This means you can have a dedicated remote developer on staff in less than a week.
  • UpStack offers a 14-day risk-free trial, which allows you to test out a candidate and ensure they are a good fit before committing to a long-term arrangement.
  • UpStack’s artificial intelligence (AI) and dedicated account managers provide hands-free hiring, taking away the stress of reading through hundreds of candidate profiles to find the right one.
  • They offer excellent customer support, making getting help with questions or issues easy.
  • Their developer rates are affordable for businesses that value quality development talent.

UpStack cons explained

  • In terms of budget, UpStack may not be the best option, as they emphasize high-quality, efficient, and experienced developers.
  • Unless you need urgent development support or short-term gig-based work, UpStack may not be your best option. They provide long-term web and software solutions.
  • The $399 deposit fee can be a barrier for some companies, as it is a non-refundable charge that covers the cost of UpStack’s account management and vetting resources.
  • UpStack’s focus on only working with the top 1% of developers means that their pool of candidates may be smaller than other freelancing platforms. This can limit your options if you have specific requirements or need to find a developer quickly.

UpStack alternatives

UpStack vs Toptal

Like UpStack, Toptal is a network of experienced and well-vetted developers offering a wide range of services, including web development. While Toptal has a smaller pool of candidates than Upwork, their hiring process is even more rigorous, ensuring that you can work with the top 3% of developers. Due to this, Toptal’s developers are typical of a higher quality than those on Upwork. Toptal, however, is more expensive than UpStack, focusing on long-term solutions rather than urgent ones.

Read more: Toptal vs UpStack

UpStack vs Upwork

One of the largest and most popular freelancing platforms, Upwork offers a wide range of services, including web development. In addition to its large pool of candidates, Upwork also makes it easier to find a developer with specific skills and experience. Although the platform is large, it can also be overwhelming to search through thousands of profiles and determine which candidates are right for your project due to its sheer size. In general, Upwork is more affordable than UpStack, but the quality of developers may be lower.

UpStack vs Fiverr

A popular freelancing platform Fiverr offers a wide range of services, including web development. One of Fiverr’s main advantages is the low prices, with many developers offering their services for only $5. The low cost, however, comes at the expense of quality, as Fiverr has a much lower screening process than UpStack or Toptal.

UpStack review FAQs

What is the freelancer’s expertise level?

Each freelancer on UpStack has at least three years of work experience and is always senior-level. They are also fluent in English, which is important for effective communication with clients.

How does UpStack’s talent compare to other sites?

UpStack’s heavy vetting process sets them apart from other job boards, leaving it up to users to evaluate each freelancer’s skills. UpStack also provides a dedicated account management team and talent overseers to ensure that each developer is the right fit for each user.

What does 1% of talent mean?

UpStack has a seven-step hiring process to identify the most experienced and reliable freelance developers. Of the 100 candidates who apply to work for UpStack, only one will make it through the hiring process.

What are the minimum expectations for each freelancer?

Clients can expect UpStack developers to be full-time employees who work at least 40 hours per week. They will also overlap with the client’s time zone, ensuring effective communication and collaboration. UpStack developers are known for their consistently high-quality work and are skilled at maintaining clear and effective communication with clients. Additionally, each freelancer has a Success Manager who oversees their work and provides support as needed. Overall, UpStack’s high standards and support services ensure clients have a positive experience working with their developers.

Conclusion and overall rating of UpStack

In conclusion, UpStack is a valuable resource for companies looking to hire high-quality developers for their web development projects. With a focus on only hiring the top 1% of developers and a fast and efficient search process, UpStack offers a reliable and efficient way to find the right talent for your team. Their 14-day risk-free trial and dedicated account management team ensure that you find the right developer for your project and have a smooth and successful collaboration.

Overall, we give UpStack a rating of 4.5 out of 5 stars. Their focus on quality and customer support sets them apart from other freelancing platforms, and their fast hiring process is a major benefit for companies that need to find a developer quickly. The only downside is the $399 deposit, which may be a barrier for some companies. However, we believe that the cost is worth it for the time and money saved by not having to search for a developer on your own.