Good question. If you are an individual freelancer, the free version may suit you just fine. But if you're a small to medium-sized business just a few dollars per month for each user can allow you to operate like the big boys at a fraction of the cost, and with a fraction of the hassle of cumbersome setups and software. (You probably eat out at least once a month right? That will cost more than Google Apps for Business.) Even the "big boys" are starting to go Google Apps.
Let's look at the benefits of Google Apps for Business:
Google Online Storage through Google Drive.
Email retention and delegation - provides you with the ability to manage which emails are retained and for how long for each user along with the ability to delegate access to your email to another person so that they can manage, or assist in managing, your email (awesome feature)
Email routing so that you don't miss any messages sent to a user who is no longer with your company or sent to other non-existent users (misspelled names), and gateway support
Disable gmail ads
Manage calendar resources
25 GB of email storage space
99.9% uptime guarantee and 24/7 customer/tech support (tech support for any of these systems is pretty pricey anywhere else, you certainly won't get it for a few bucks a month!)
Custom email addresses (@mywebsite.com) so that you project a 'serious business' feel (vs. @gmail.com) and have full control over your email
Mobile device management
Google Drive for Windows & Mac, Google Apps Sync
Integration with apps from Google Marketplace - you can literally find just about anything you need to run your business here. Whether it's accounting, productivity, project management, sales, security & compliance, or customer management - there's an app for that! Some apps are free while others cost, but all are easily integrated into your existing Google Apps system.
Single Sign-on API
Control - you own your data and you have complete control over it
Security - your data is backed up on Google servers. Security includes an extra layer with two factor authentication and automatic browser encryption.
The ability for anyone in your business (even those who work off-site) to access everything from anywhere
Team sites enabling users to easily create sites that are ideal for intranets or collaboration with users inside or outside of the company
User managed groups (email distribution lists and workgroups that easily tie into Google Docs and Sites if users want to share with groups)
Google Apps for Business boasts itself as "Everything your business needs" and "The tools your employees want" and I have to agree that they live up both ends of the spectrum. It provides a secure, streamlined process for every aspect of your business and people generally love it.
I clearly remember working within a firm that used a "traditional" IT infrastructure and it provided many of us with semi-frequent headaches and frustrations, and if you needed to access things outside of the office you would truly need a few Advil (and a few cups of coffee) to get you through. Not to mention it was expensive and required retention of IT support (also very expensive). Google Apps for Business eliminates those headaches and the cost.
So who is it a good fit for? The better question is who is it NOT a good fit for, and I can't think of anyone offhand. Whether you're a startup, a small to medium-sized business that works onsite, a business who operates virtually, a business who operates both onsite and virtually, or a serious freelancer Google Apps for Business is the ultimate solution at the cost of less than one fast-food meal per month (these days it easily costs a minimum of $6.00 for one person to grab a burger and a drink).
So what exactly will Google Apps for Business cost you? You can purchase the Business Apps from a Local Google Apps Reseller like Coolhead Tech for $50 per year or $5 per month (per user),
Google Apps for Business brings every facet of your business into the cloud providing you with security, speed, and easy access along with fluid interaction and productivity across-the-board.