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Google offers some pretty stock replies and benefits to paying the $5/month for a Google for Work account. I'll cover those and my personal opinions below.
I hope you find this information helpful. Please let me know if you'd like to discuss more by phone or in person.
Core Benefits of Google for Work over Consumer Gmail accounts
- More Gmail/Drive space - 30GB
- 99.9% uptime Guarantee
- 24/7 Phone Support
- Your own email domain address
- Additional Integration/Security/Controls
At the outset these may seem like basic benefits but small things like simply losing the @gmail.com address and ads can help establish more credibility for messages you send.
Then There's This....
As a Google Apps consultant I've worked with a lot of small businesses that started out either sharing one gmail account (firstname.lastname@example.org) or just having each employee set up their own gmail account as you suggest. As companies grow the shared or individual accounts cause a host of issues.
Issues with @gmail.com accounts for Employees
-It's the employee's account/data - not your company's
-Employees quit and take their files with them or just leave the account unattended
-More difficulty sharing calendars, no group calendars or resources
-No Enforced security policies can put company/client data at risk
-Inability to install and coordinate integrations such as CRM, billing, Phones, etc.
-Less access to Google APIs (Application Programming Interface) for Outlook and others
-No Company controls, accountability or oversight.
Reasons to Pay for Google Apps
-Professional, consistent email addresses
-Ability to protect company owned data
-Ease of setup for calendar and file sharing and distribution lists
-Company wide security settings and mobile device management protects employees
-Leverage CRM, sales and marketing tools across the company.
-Use desktop Apps, integrate with Microsoft Office/Outlook
-Company-wide analytics and reporting
-You Get to work with awesome Google for Work Premier Partners like Coolhead Tech.
PS - If you decide to go this route Coolhead Tech can move all of your mail, drive items and appointments to the paid version for a onetime fee of $50/user