I have read a whole lot on this subject and talked to many people (some consultants) but I am by no means an expert. I looked into this so I know what I am talking about when it comes to buying businesses or accounts.
This is what I feel it really comes down to. Are you selling a business or a job. A true business is an investment. If you go out and mow every day yourself, manage employees yourself or the business would just stop without you, then you are selling a job. It is a management job but still it is a job. If your business has systems in place, employees, a management person or team and a person or people besides you selling your services and you can take a day off almost anytime you want then you are selling a business.
Which one do you think is more valuable? In my neck of the woods a business as described above is worth a multiple of the yearly income. 2 to 3 times. A job as described above is worth a multiple of gross weekly income plus equipment. About 2 to 4 times depending on the pricing and contracts(this for lawn mowing, landscaping I would think would work differently). Also if I was buying a route and you have quality accounts and I agreed to pay 4 times, I would pay a maximum of 3 times this year and pay for one cut of the accounts I still had the following year.
Take this advise for what it is worth. If I sold today I would be selling a job and not a business. I still have a ways to go but I will get there.