The POCO here won't allow a meter to be installed in an open porch. The owner may decide to close the porch in at a later date which would prevent access by the meter reader. Maybe check with your POCO first?
I install the grounding electrode, be it rods or plate, as close as possible to the service. Sometimes it may end up quite a ways away, sometimes it's right beside the service. I'm in Canada and our Codes differ from our southern neighbors.
"Will it be cheaper if I drill the holes for you?"