I get calls numourous times a year from real estate offices asking me if I want to be on their preferred list of Inspectors. Of course I always tell them I would as long as it's free, and it is never is.
I think this practice is disturbing, unethical and likely illegal. One company actually told me that the only way I would be recommend for that office was to buy "desk space". WTH? Are you kidding me?
I had another very big company say nearly same thing. They have this service they offer to help home buyers, including recommending professional services like inspectors that have to pay off the Real estate firm.
By the way, in both of the above examples, I work with lots of brokers in these companies. I bet most of them don't even know that their corporate list of preferred providers is a list based on bias and bribery.
It is against the standards of practice for any inspector to participate in such an arrangement.
According to the ASHI Code of ethics:
"Inspectors shall not directly or indirectly compensate realty agents, or other parties having a financial interest in closing or settlement of real estate transactions, for the referral of inspections or for inclusion on a list of recommended inspectors, preferred providers, or similar arrangements."