I hired a freelancing company for a project which is worth about $2,000. I asked the owner of the company to produce some work before I can make the first payment request of $700 so he gave me a 10 mock up design of the website within a week. After completing another 20 pages of design in TWO months, he requested another $300 before starting the coding part.
Four months have now passed since the project started and I have paid him in total $1000. The coding is near completion but still needs some work, and obviously bug fixing done before actual testing can take place. A couple of days ago I asked him to put the site on my staging server so my testers can test the site for any issues. His answer was that "I need to pay the rest of the money before it can be uploaded to my server". I tried to convince him that the site is still not complete yet and needs to be tested for any bugs, issues etc. I made it clear to him that I am not going to pay the rest of the money, which is another $1000, without having any knowledge of product quality or any ownership of the finished product. But he did not listen to any of my points and kept on telling me that this is the company policy and he can not change it.
After try to reason which him for a long time, I told him that I would pay another 25% more which is 75% of the total cost if he would upload the untested work to my staging server and allow my testers to test the website. But he would not even agree to my reasonable offer and kept telling me that I need to pay at least 80% which is the $1000 which I have paid plus another $800. I told him that is too much money without anything in my hand. Then he said that I can let my tester test the site on his server and pay when finished. I did not agree to it and since the coversation was not going anywhere we decided to end it.
I need advice from the freelancing community about this issue and how it should be resolved. Am I asking for too much by not paying almost 100% of the cost without having anything in my hands? I had a bad experience with them trying to get them to finish any work. In the beginning they would not even spend serious time on the job, I guess they were busy with other projects. Then finally things have moved and got results but this issue still comes up. It has been over six months dealing with these guys, I had to tell them each and every point of the site to complete it, countless hours and nights without proper sleep. I am feeling a bit frustrated and it seems like we are in a gridlock situation. Please give me your advice on what my options are and how I can approach this problem without having to waste my 6 months of hard word. Note: it's a web application developed using PHP, MySQL