The Internet has changed just about every industry, making it easy to order ramen from across the globe and hail a car from your phone. But it hasn't altered one fundamental truth: When your sink is leaking, you want to find a plumber nearby who can fix it straight away.
In 2012, repair and maintenance alone was a $174 billion industry, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, up 6% ($10 billion) from 2007. At the same time, the personal services industry, which includes a broad range of services from death care to dry cleaning, brought in $148 billion, up 14% ($18 billion) from 2007.
Those numbers explain why technology companies are lining up to connect consumers to professional contractors and other service providers. Even Amazon will soon enter the fray, according to a Reuters report.