Yes - I did have an account on both machines before I set up NIS. I removed the ID from /etc/passwd in the client and this did work fine. I used the NIS login to access the user's files in the client - thanks! Good advice.
So how do you handle setting up new users? When I created a new user on the server and logged into the client with that user, it accepted the password but had no home directory for it to be assigned to so was going to just let it reside in the root's home directory. I take your point about the NFS home directory, but what is the client machine supposed to do without any assigned home directory to start with? Is there anything in NIS that can set this up in clients as soon as the new user is created?