I can't advise white collar workers because I have never been one. But I do know a thing or two about blue collar jobs. I knew a fellow a few years ago that flipped houses. He would buy a house and during that 45 days or so between the time you close the deal and the first payment is due he would completely renovate the place and have it on the market. He seldom had to make more than one payment before it sold.
He would get a couple of thousand dollars in 100 dollar bills and go out to where houses were being built. He would hire the roofers, painters, tile people, plumbers to come out and work on his house on the weekends for a few of those 100 dollar bills. He would have the plumbing fixtures and shingles and paint and tile delivered and stacked up in the house waiting for the guys to come on Saturday and Sunday to work "for cash". He could get a lot accomplished in a short period of time and cheap!
The government wants a building permit for a shed over 100 square feet in size. It wants a building permit for a fence over 4 feet high. It want's a building permit for anything involving cement. You can replace a broken window but if you want to cut a whole in your wall and put a window in, that requires a permit. Aluminum awnings, car covers and car ports all require a building permit. Why?Building permits notify the county assessor that an improvement has been made so the property tax can be raised.
If you do your own plumbing you can get away with remodeling your bathroom. If you hire a contractor the government will get involved in your bathroom. I have always know a bunch of guys with tools and pickup trucks and ladders and cement mixers who you can call if you got some cash, some cold beer and are willing to fire up the barbecue!
It shouldn't be necessary to tell the government you want a new toilet in your bathroom!