Marty I'd say it really depends on your relationship with your client, if you know and have worked with this person before and trust them you wouldn't start doing the contract thing straight off. I suppose it also depends on the work you're doing too - even with a non-profit organisation you might want to have some form of agreement sorted. The city I'm in, my students and I do a lot of illustration work with the city council, I know they guy and we don't need contracts but if I went (which I plan to do) to another city in a few years by myself I would be looking to do things on a professional footing. I wouldn't know the people I'd be working with but starting from a contract would show a level of professionalism that might help soothe the client. I don't think contracts are just for protecting yourself against rogue clients, it can also show your client you are a seasoned pro who's done this before. Tell you what I'm envious of though - anyone like "thatcomicsguy" earning a living from his own comic work. That is so cool because it really comes down to your own effort, your destiny in your own hands.