I believe the cert should be removed from the USATF site.
The race contracted to have a service performed. Part of that service is posting on the USATF site. Since the race didn't pay, the certification should be revoked. If runners ask, they can be told why, and they can pressure the RD, if they want to.
Our services are not free, unless we agree to measure without charge.
I want others to respond, but here's my take on this topic.
RRTC/USATF has nothing to do with the agreement of fees charged to get a course certified. All we do as Certifiers is review the work and issue the Certicates. I feel we shouldn't get involved with the terms set by a measurer. The people that measure are independent contractors, who set their own terms. The ball is in their court not RRTC/USATF 's.
I feel sorry, but a measurer should have a contract on their charges. Payment should be made before the paperwork is sent to a Certifier and this wouldn't happen.
Since this has happened, then I feel the Certifier could contact the Race Director and ask why the fee wasn't paid. The Certifier could explain that if no fee is received, then he will notify the measurer's in his state not to do work for this Race Director.
I agree with Gene. RRTC has no business punishing race directors for breech of a contract (stiffing) that they (RRTC) are not part of. The volunteer Officers and Certifiers have enough to do without getting involved in third party disputes. Additionally, the certifier (unless he/she is also the measurer) has no real proof of payment or non-payment. In my experience, non-payment for measuring and obtaining certification is a rare event (once in 26-yr) that making and enforcing a policing of payment policy would take considerable effort with no gain for the RRTC or USATF.
Measurers pay certifiers a modest fee for every submission. Certifiers pay RRTC/USATF a small fee for every submission. If we consider that measurers pay certifiers and RRTC from the funds they charge clients for the overall service we jointly provide, then it seems to me to follow that RRTC is indeed part of the process. The pieces of the process are and should be transparent to clients. I do not believe measurers elect to submit courses for certification out of his/her personal budget. Therefore, RRTC takes a piece of every fee a measurer receives for his/her work and is part of the revenue stream for each submission, in my view.
If measurers were not required to pay for certifications, I personally would view this differently. RRTC obviously IS involved in the revenue stream, however modest that revenue may be. I agree that volunteer officers and certifiers do not need to get involved in disputes about this, whether we regard our clients as "third parties" or something else. I believe Duane is just saying that, if a certifier (or measurer) requests a certification be taken down from USATF, we should be able to do it. I do not believe anyone is suggesting RRTC/USATF get involved or entertain any involvement beyond that. Anyway, what RD would have the chutzpah to stiff a measurer and then complain to RRTC/USATF that his/her course map/certificate does not appear on the site? I do not think any further action would be requested by a measurer or anyone else. If it is too difficult to take down a map and a certificate once in a blue moon, then my opinion is moot.
I agree with Gene that the invoicing and payment arrangement must be made by the measurer up front - and that this should prevent any non-payment situations. I used Duane's billing system as a starting point for creating my 2-page agreement I require every client to sign and return to me with a deposit before I start work. Getting that signature and deposit seems to put my clients on notice that they are engaging in a business contract, not some proposal to volunteer. The agreement all my clients sign states "upon delivery of balance due, RR (service provider) will immediately deliver your course map and certificate with your USATF certification number".
I had way too many slow payers (several months for some) in years past before I instituted this system. I now offer a PayPal option to clients. For me, it is worth the small piece PayPal takes for me to receive the funds in my account quickly.
I learned by accident 2 years ago that one of my certifiers got stiffed for measuring a 5K and a 10K for one client. After a year, his calls and emails went unanswered. He gave up. Then, this same RD contacted me for race day logistics work. I told her she had to clear up the bill from the course measuring before work could start. She paid my certifier immediately. I told her I needed cash in advance to start work. She happily complied. There are these types out there - mercifully few, I hope.
Some good points. However, RRTC/USATF is not aware of the agreement the measurer made with the Race Director. Whose word do we take? This could become a legal mess that I feel we shouldn't get involved with.
Last year I measured a course for a friend who was involved in helping with a new race. After I'd done the rides, created the map and paperwork, I was told, "Oh, they don't have money in their budget for certification this year - they'll pay you at next year's race." Needless to say I sat on the certificate, and will not forward it on to Paul & Gene until I receive payment. This eliminates requesting removal from USATF website, but creates another one: a significant time lag (in this case a year) between measurement and certificate effective date.
I think Jim's agreement with the race director is that he'll submit the certification when he gets paid. The USATF should not get involved in that agreement, right?
If measurers know certifications cannot be retracted, then they will tend to delay submissions. I understand the reasoning behind not retracting, but we should be aware of the unintended consequences of that policy.
Jim, how do you deal with the effective/expiration date for a cert that you've delayed?
I sometimes measure a course in November or December and submit the certificate in January for an early spring race. But, that's just so that the expiration is a full 10 years from the first running on the course.
I agree that certificates shouldn't be removed. I don't insist on payment prior to forwarding a certificate and although I sometimes have to remind race directors, I've never been "stiffed" for a payment. Keep USATF out of it.
I suppose payment in advance is a good policy. Although to be honest, I think most suppliers of race services (timing, PortaJohns, etc.) don't ask for that. It's somewhat the nature of the business that many races don't have much money until they open registration, and that's much closer to race date than they'd want/need the course certified.
Ron, I make the effective date when I submit the certificate, per instructions from above. If it turns out that's after the race date, that's their problem. If some BQs or national records don't count because of it, maybe it will get the RDs off their duffs the next time. BTW, I think this is generally a rare situation.
To Scott: Could you call the RD and imply/threaten that his race will be "decertified" if he doesn't pay the measurer? Unless he reads this Board, he wouldn't know it's a mostly hollow threat. "It would be a terrible thing if your race was decertified and a lot of runners lost their Boston qualifiers because of it, ya know? They might, ya know, get all mad and write some nasty things on the running message boards. Ya got a nice little race here, we'd hate to see something happen to it, ya know?" You can even give your name as Rocco or Guido (maybe that's why Pete V. uses Guido Brothers as his company name!)
I pretty much agree with Gene here. The agreement is between the measurer and the client, and USATF/RRTC's role is not that of "enforcer". I'm not sure I would threaten to "blacklist" a race director, but wouldn't hesitate to let other measurers know that one hasn't paid or has been slow to pay. A fine distinction, maybe, but one I believe is there.
I've never asked for any payment in advance. My experience in business is that some kind of payment in advance is appropriate when the vendor or service provider has to make a significant investment in materials or the like to complete the job. We're very seldom like that.
I also don't hold certificates for payment. I send certificates back to the measurer at the same time I send them forward. It's up to the measurer as to whether or not he/she chooses to forward them back to the client prior to receiving payment. For courses I measure myself, I send the certificates out when they're complete, along with an invoice. I don't neccessarily think someone should pay until the goods are delivered, and the certificate is the goods.
It's interesting to note that posting certificates on the web site has reduced our leverage here; even if a measurer holds up a certificate for payment, if the certifier has sent it forward (which he or she should do) a race director does not have to wait to have a certificate in hand to see evidence that the course is certified.
I generally wait thirty days after the invoice date before I follow up on payments I haven't received. Seems like I'm doing more of that lately. Not sure if I don't call enough attention to the invoice whaen I send it out- or if people are just paying more slowly these days.
I say no, don't remove a course already posted, that's kind of silly. Once up it's already public property I think. I agree with Gene, USATF shouldn't get involved in all these money questions. As for how the measurer handles payment, there seem to be some good ideas out there. I think I'll consider PayPal as Lyman suggests. Personally I like to finish the work (including sending it in) and then send a bill. Simple, usually works, and to me it just feels right. I've been burned occasionally but to me it's worth a few losses to keep it simple.
Here's a related situation: Last summer I measured a course for a new race that a friend was directing for a charity. When I was done w/ the ride, I asked him who I should bill and was told "they don't have money in the budget this year for that, you can bill them next year." I had already made the map but did not submit the paperwork for posting. The race is coming up next month and someone from the race emailed to complain that they couldn't find their course on the search engine. I replied, "it will be there as soon as I get paid for the measuring I did last year. It's a package deal - measurement, course map, and official certification - you can't pick and choose like a Chinese restaurant menu." Justified?
OK, now I've heard from them "thank you very much, we'll just use the course you accurately measured last year and not pay you a dime." (my words, their sentiments). Unbeknownst to them my fee for timing the race just went up by the amount they stiffed me for measuring. If I'm in a good mood, I might actually submit it for certification - after waiting for the same amount of time I've waited for my money. Of course, then they get an "extra" 2 years out of it - what I should do is back-date it to last year.
I'm still thinking about the Chinese restaurant menu, wondering what would be the course-measuring equivalent of dumping an overdose of MSG into it? Question about the "back-dating" reference: if the measurements happened in an earlier calendar year, aren't we supposed to date the course in that year?
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